IBM Employs Kubernetes to Tame Multi-Cloud Computing

IBM this week extended the scope of its strategic investment in Kubernetes with the launch of Multicloud Manager, a centralized framework for managing thousands of Kubernetes applications regardless of where they are located.

Designed to be deployed on IBM Cloud Private, an instance of a cloud platform based on Kubernetes that can now be deployed on IBM Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, Multicloud Manager represents an IBM effort to unify the management of multiple clouds to create a hybrid cloud computing environment.

Robin Hernandez, director of IBM Cloud Private offering management, says that while most organizations have already embraced multiple clouds, each one is invariably managed in isolation. That approach winds up increasing the total cost of IT because of each management framework that needs to be mastered. Whatever savings that might be generated by moving application development and deployment to a new cloud are lost when the cost of management software and associated labor is factored into the equation, Hernandez says.

Because Kubernetes can run on multiple platforms, there is now an opportunity to centralize the management of applications distributed on multiple instances of Kubernetes clusters running both on-premises and in the cloud, she adds, noting that capability will enable IT organizations to streamline everything from application deployment to how compliance policies are implemented.

One of the great paradoxes of modern IT is that while the rise of cloud computing promised to lower the cost of IT, most organizations have incurred additional costs managing what amounts to another stack of IT software and infrastructure alongside their existing on-premises environments. As organizations add more cloud platforms, those costs exponentially increase because each cloud has its unique management platform. Kubernetes not only provides a way to rationalize those costs, it also makes it feasible for the first time to move application workloads as cost variables change. For example, an application initially built and deployed on a cloud might be inexpensive compared to an on-premises environment, but as the application matures, the cost of paying for that application on an hourly basis can easily exceed the total cost of deploying it an on-premises environment. Kubernetes should also give IT organizations more room to negotiate pricing with cloud service providers because it will become easier for them to move workloads from one cloud service to another.

Of course, this brave new world of IT assumes that an organization has embraced containers running on Kubernetes. There still are millions of applications locked into specific types of virtual machines running inside and out of the cloud. But, over time, many of those applications also will be encapsulated within Docker containers.

In the meantime, a recent IBM survey finds that among organizations that have embraced multiple cloud computing platforms, the most advanced among them expect at least 80 percent of new applications will be developed using containers within the next three years. While those advanced IT organization represent a small cross-section of IT organizations overall, chances are high that many more organizations soon will view Kubernetes as the best means to mastering a multi-cloud computing end.

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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