Google Commits to On-Prem Managed GKE Instance

Google this week announced it will extend the reach of its managed services for containerized applications running on Kubernetes into on-premises environments.

Announced at the Google Cloud Next 2018 conference, the GKE On-Prem services will be complemented by a managed Istio service, which is the service mesh technology that Google developed in collaboration with IBM, Lyft and others to simplify the management of microservices deployed on a Kubernetes cluster. Google demonstrated GKE On-Prem on a server running VMware software. The services will be available in alpha starting this fall, says Urs Hölzle, senior vice president for technical infrastructure at Google.

Google also announced the version 1.0 of Istio is now generally available and it has integrated the Apigee application programming interface (API) management platform with Istio. Google acquired Apigee in 2016. A technology preview of GKE Serverless add-on, which enables serverless workloads to be deployed on top of Kubernetes is also being added to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). GKE Serverless is based on Knative, an open source serverless framework for Kubernetes the company developed in collaboration with IBM.

Finally, Google also unveiled Cloud Build, a managed continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) platform and a managed instance of the Stackdriver Service Monitoring tools it developed.

Hölzle told conference attendees that managing IT across multi-cloud computing environments has become too complex. By relying on managed services optimized for microservices running inside and out of the cloud provided by Google, organizations can substantially reduce the complexity now that Kubernetes and Istio can be combined within a single managed service, says Hölzle. That approach will put an end to “false dichotomy” between on-premises IT and the cloud, he says.

Citing research conducted by International Data Corp. (IDC), Hölzle notes that while server costs have dropped 15 percent in the last year, administration costs have increased by 83 percent. With the rise of microservices, the complexity of IT environments is only going to increase, so Google is essentially making a case for outsourcing the management of all Kubernetes infrastructure. A key partner in that effort is Cisco Systems, which this week revealed that the first efforts to put instances of Kubernetes curated jointly by the two companies on Cisco infrastructure will become generally available next month.

It’s unclear to what degree the rise of microservices based on Kubernetes and containers will accelerate adoption of managed services. There’s no doubt many more organizations are interested in pouring more of their limited resources into application development. However, the cost of relying on managed services can exceed on-premises IT as the number of application workloads involved multiply. Advances in automation and DevOps also will serve to bring down the cost of on-premises IT.

Of course, Google is not the only cloud service provider making a similar case for managed services. What differentiates it most in terms of Kubernetes and Istio is the experience the company has managing these platforms in production environments to support a wide range of cloud applications.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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