Do you remember how TCP/IP eclipsed every other Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) protocol and became the global standard for computer networking? However, today’s blog is not about networking protocols. But, on another controversial technology standard boomed as the TCP/IP: the Kubernetes. It is miraculous how fast the Kubernetes technology and the Kubernetes market has rolled on and, now we are at a point discussing the Kubernetes consolidation.
Kubernetes before Consolidation
The emergence of Docker in 2013 fueled the popularization of containers to deliver applications. As a result, tech giants in the industry widely adopted container-based applications. Since the wide adoption of containers, systems evolved to be more complex, and the exposure to risk and security threats increased. That laid the groundwork for DevSecOps. Meantime, Kubernetes was born to manage complex container clusters as a seed technology at Google. It all happened in a flash, just three years.
2016 was the year of Kubernetes. Kubernetes could bring evolutionary improvements to the container-based DevSecOps platform, such as simplified application deployment, automated cluster management, scaling, and service discovery in a multi-cluster setup. So, Kubernetes could bridge cloud-native and enterprise workloads. That made Kubernetes to be universally adopted by both the cloud service providers and enterprise technology companies.
So, the big-name cloud vendors: AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, and Pivotal flocked around the Kubernetes project with Red Hat, IBM Cisco, and Intel. Thereafter, Kubernetes was not a mere technology, but the computing standard of today, the same as TCP/IP protocol became the networking standard.
Google introducing GKE, Azure introducing AKS, and AWS introducing EKS managed Kubernetes services in a row is the best proof for the establishment of Kubernetes as a value provisioning technology model in the industry. Following the mega scalers, other public cloud vendors entered the Kubernetes market with different managed Kubernetes services such as ACK by Alibaba, DigitalOcean, OKE by Oracle, IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service, OVH, and many more.
Soon after, Red Hat, Rancher, Canonical, VMware, Mirantis changed the game introducing Kubernetes based platforms that can run in both public cloud vendors and enterprise data centers in the form of hybrid clouds. Therefore, Kubernetes-as-a-Service solutions were not only dynamic in technology but also affordable to any client of any scale. So today, from large scale enterprises to start-up companies, from the private sector to the government sector, from ERP systems to AI and Data analytics systems, many applications are deploying on the Kubernetes ecosystem stranding in the norm of containerization > microservices > and Kubernetes.
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Kubernetes Consolidation: The present of Kubernetes
The consolidation of the Kubernetes market started in 2018, with VMware announcing the acquisition of Heptio. Then again, in 2019, doubling its commitment to the Kubernetes management platform, VMware acquired Pivotal software who was one of the earliest Kubernetes service providers. Last July, SUSE acquired Rancher. In the same year, VMware launched Tanzu Kubernetes Grid. IBM acquired OpenShift and Red Hat. Following VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, Google recently announced its version for the same: Anthos.
So, the pattern reveals clearly a Kubernetes consolidation. But, where to Kubernetes consolidation heads? What means Kubernetes consolidation? The answer, in short, is Multi-Cloud Kubernetes: the ultimate Kubernetes standardization.
What is Multi-Cloud Kubernetes?
The Multi-cloud and the hybrid-cloud approaches can enable the customers to consume applications and services from two or more clouds where at least one cloud is public. So, organizations no longer have to polarize into a single specific cloud provider or isolate only to services and infrastructure of the organization’s data center.
Therefore, multi-cloud architectures are more cost-effective, scalable, and reliable. But, the pain point is that it is complex. That is why multi-cloud Kubernetes seep in to fill the gap within the complex architecture. Multi-Cloud Kubernetes acts as a centralized management plane for multiple clusters across multiple clouds.
When IBM acquired OpenShift and Red Hat, when VMware acquired Heptio and Pivotal, these companies undoubtedly foresaw the multi-cloud future.
Kubernetes: The Multi-Cloud, Multi-Cluster Management Plane
As an example, among many other multi-cloud Kubernetes platforms, consider Google Anthos: an open-source platform that can manage Kubernetes clusters across multi-cloud and hybrid cloud applications. To speak of its dynamic nature and capability, Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the 2019 Google Cloud Next recalled that the idea behind Anthos was to “write once and run anywhere”.
Indeed, Anthos operates as a centralized management plane operating consistently on public cloud infrastructure, serverless infrastructure, private cloud infrastructure, and even on workloads running on data centers. But, all on the same screen.
Kohl, an American department store retail chain, is an enterprise that highly benefited from Google Anthos. They adopted Anthos as a solution to burst traffic. But, meantime, the solution needed to be secure, cost-effective, highly reliable, highly available, cloud-agnostic, and, most importantly, end-to-end integrated irrespective of the underlying infrastructure. Google Anthos was the perfect fit for them that addressed all their requirements. So, Kohl could successfully operate and integrate 100+ containers for stores and 5000+ containers for digital strategy to run 150+ microservices.
With Anthos, Kohl could finally share traffic between on-prem and GCP platforms while bursting load on the cloud platform with fully autoscale pods. They could automate failover when the on-prem data center is in a fault state.
So, nevermind whether it is Anthos or Tanzu Kubernetes Grid or any other multi-cloud Kubernetes control plane, Kubernetes seamlessly consolidates workloads on multi-clusters and multi-platforms. It is also the real case scenario that the enterprises urge. Because cloud transformation is not the first and the utmost strategy for many organizations in the industry today.
Final Thoughts to Consolidate Duplicate Clouds into Kubernetes
We are looking forward to where the Kubernetes market is heading. However, judging by a record of 12,000+ attendees at KubeCon San Diego, there is no doubt that Kubernetes has already acquired ‘the industrial standard for computing’ in the future of technology, going hand in hand with containers, virtual machines, and other cloud-native workloads.
Therefore, no matter in which environment or which infrastructure your workloads run, a centralized Kubernetes SaaS control plane can drastically standardize and scale operations across your infrastructure. So, we recommend a multi-cloud Kubernetes SaaS control plane as the best solution to shield from the impact of Kubernetes market consolidation and reap the best value in the current trend to consolidate duplicate clouds into Kubernetes.