Project Calico Adds Kubernetes Plugin for Massive Container Management

Project Calico, which develops an open source virtual networking management package for data centers, has become one of the newest companies to embrace Kubernetes. On Jan. 22, the group announced a production-quality plugin that connects its networking stack to Google’s container management platform.

Project Calico, which U.K. company Metaswitch launched as an open source endeavor in 2014, aims to make it easier for data centers to scale. It promises to be able to support “tens of thousands of servers and millions of workloads.”

DevOps Dozen 2023

If that sounds like a job fit for containers, it’s because it is. Project Calico supports VM and bare-metal workloads, too, but containers are a key part of the organization’s vision for making data centers ultra-scalable — while also providing tight security and easy workload orchestration.

Project Calico previously offered a plugin in beta form for connecting its virtual networking stack to Kubernetes. As of Jan. 22, version 1.0 of the plugin is available, which means developers believe it is ready for prime time. They say they have tested the plugin’s reliability and performance under large-scale workloads and are confident in its ability to deliver.

The upgraded plugin version also brings support for the Container Network Interface (CNI), an open source tool set for managing networking for containers. Kubernetes recently adopted CNI, enabling the change in the plugin.

The plugin helps to advance Project Calico’s mission of building SDN solutions that help rather than hinder data centers that need to support hundreds of thousands or millions of individual containers as part of an ever-changing workload. That’s important because, while orchestration tools like Kubernetes can help to manage large workloads, managing the orchestration tools themselves becomes challenging in very large data centers.

Project Calico’s solution to this problem is, in effect, to provide an automated means of orchestrating the orchestration tools. It monitors Kubernetes — as well as Mesosphere and OpenStack, which the software already supported before the Kubernetes plugin announcement — in order to automate how each workload is placed within the data center. It determines the type of workload it is dealing with and the current state of servers to situate the workload in the right place.

When you have very many containers coming and going through your data center, being able to use a solution like Project Calico to keep your Kubernetes system running smoothly is a big advantage. It’s even better when it’s open source-friendly, as Project Calico is, which helps to assure that it is vendor-neutral and easy to obtain.

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has covered technology and business news for nearly a decade, specializing in open source, containers, big data, networking and security. He is currently Senior Editor and DevOps Analyst with and

Christopher Tozzi has 254 posts and counting. See all posts by Christopher Tozzi