Kubernetes 1.18 Release Takes a Bow

The release team for the latest version of Kubernetes has made available an update that adds 38 capabilities spanning almost every aspect of building, deploying and managing a Kubernetes environment.

Developed under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), version 1.18 of Kubernetes is the first update to a platform that continues to evolve with each quarter update.

Jorge Alarcon Ochoa, the technology lead for this latest release of Kubernetes and a site reliability engineer (SRE) for Searchable AI, says each of the major special interest groups (SIGs) made significant contributions to this release, an event that may reflect the amount of free time contributors had to devote to Kubernetes over the recent holiday break.

Among the notable new capabilities being added to the project for the first time is a “kubectl debug” command that can be employed to debug pods within a Kubernetes cluster. That capability allows IT teams to create a temporary container that enables a pod to keep running while the IT team attempts to troubleshoot issues that may have arisen.

Also added is an alpha version of the Container Storage Interface (CSI) proxy for Windows that enables approved non-privileged containers to perform privileged storage operations.

In terms of capabilities moving into beta, version 1.18 of Kubernetes advances a server-side apply tool to track and manage changes to fields of all new Kubernetes objects and a Topology Manager feature that enables independent NUMA alignment of CPU and devices to run low-latency applications.

There are also two additions to the Ingress controller in beta—one that enables specifying how paths should be matched and a new way to specify the classes that are being associated within a Kubernetes cluster.

In total, 15 enhancements are now being designated as stable, with 11 enhancements in beta and 12 enhancements in alpha. As a general theme, the TOC is describing Kubernetes 1.18 as a “fit and finish” release.

Naturally, it will be up to each IT team to decide at what pace they may want to upgrade their existing Kubernetes clusters. A recent survey of 1,337 IT professionals conducted by CNCF finds more than three-quarters of respondents (78%) are using Kubernetes clusters in a production environment, up from 58% a year ago. A total of 84% are using containers in production, a jump of more than 15% from 2018, so adoption of Kubernetes is likely to further accelerate.

The challenge many IT teams are now encountering is that many of them are running multiple versions of Kubernetes. Each team needs to decide what version of Kubernetes they want to keep running and the upgrade to as the core platform continues to be updated on a quarterly basis. Most IT teams are relying on a third party to provide them a curated distribution of Kubernetes that is usually one or two versions behind the latest release provided by the CNCF. The reason for that is to limit the usage of capabilities that might not be ready for adoption in enterprise IT environments. Regardless of the approach, however, management of Kubernetes cluster fleets is about to become an everyday IT challenge for IT teams both large and small.

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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