Apr
23
2018
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Heptio launches an open-source load balancer for Kubernetes and OpenStack

Heptio is one of the more interesting companies in the container ecosystem. In part, that’s due to the simple fact that it was founded by Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda, two of the three engineers behind the original Kubernetes project, but also because of the technology it’s developing and the large amount of funding it has raised to date.

As the company announced today, it saw its revenue grow 140 percent from the last quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018. In addition, Heptio says its headcount quadrupled since the beginning of 2017. Without any actual numbers, that kind of data doesn’t mean all that much. It’s easy to achieve high-growth numbers if you’re starting out from zero, after all. But it looks like things are going well at the company and that the team is finding its place in the fast-growing Kubernetes ecosystem.

In addition to announcing these numbers, the team also today launched a new open-source project that will join the company’s existing stable of tools, like the cluster-recovery tool Ark and the Kubernetes cluster-monitoring tool Sonobuoy.

This new tool, Heptio Gimbal, has a very specific use case that is probably only of interest to a relatively small number of users — but for them, it’ll be a lifeline. Gimbal, which Heptio developed together with Yahoo Japan subsidiary Actapio, helps enterprises route traffic into both Kubernetes clusters and OpenStack deployments. Many enterprises now run these technologies in parallel, and while some are now moving beyond OpenStack and toward a more Kubernetes -centric architecture, they aren’t likely to do away with their OpenStack investments anytime soon.

“We approached Heptio to help us modernize our infrastructure with Kubernetes without ripping out legacy investments in OpenStack and other back-end systems,” said Norifumi Matsuya, CEO and president at Actapio. “Application delivery at scale is key to our business. We needed faster service discovery and canary deployment capability that provides instant rollback and performance measurement. Gimbal enables our developers to address these challenges, which at the macro-level helps them increase their productivity and optimize system performance.”

Gimbal uses many of Heptio’s existing open-source tools, as well as the Envoy proxy, which is part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s stable of cloud-native projects. For now, Gimbal only supports one specific OpenStack release (the “Mitaka” release from 2016), but the team is looking at adding support for VMware and EC2 in the future.

Apr
20
2018
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Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry grow closer

Containers are eating the software world — and Kubernetes is the king of containers. So if you are working on any major software project, especially in the enterprise, you will run into it sooner or later. Cloud Foundry, which hosted its semi-annual developer conference in Boston this week, is an interesting example for this.

Outside of the world of enterprise developers, Cloud Foundry remains a bit of an unknown entity, despite having users in at least half of the Fortune 500 companies (though in the startup world, it has almost no traction). If you are unfamiliar with Cloud Foundry, you can think of it as somewhat similar to Heroku, but as an open-source project with a large commercial ecosystem and the ability to run it at scale on any cloud or on-premises installation. Developers write their code (following the twelve-factor methodology), define what it needs to run and Cloud Foundry handles all of the underlying infrastructure and — if necessary — scaling. Ideally, that frees up the developer from having to think about where their applications will run and lets them work more efficiently.

To enable all of this, the Cloud Foundry Foundation made a very early bet on containers, even before Docker was a thing. Since Kubernetes wasn’t around at the time, the various companies involved in Cloud Foundry came together to build their own container orchestration system, which still underpins much of the service today. As it took off, though, the pressure to bring support for Kubernetes grew inside of the Cloud Foundry ecosystem. Last year, the Foundation announced its first major move in this direction by launching its Kubernetes-based Container Runtime for managing containers, which sits next to the existing Application Runtime. With this, developers can use Cloud Foundry to run and manage their new (and existing) monolithic apps and run them in parallel with the new services they develop.

But remember how Cloud Foundry also still uses its own container service for the Application Runtime? There is really no reason to do that now that Kubernetes (and the various other projects in its ecosystem) have become the default of handling containers. It’s maybe no surprise then that there is now a Cloud Foundry project that aims to rip out the old container management systems and replace them with Kubernetes. The container management piece isn’t what differentiates Cloud Foundry, after all. Instead, it’s the developer experience — and at the end of the day, the whole point of Cloud Foundry is that developers shouldn’t have to care about the internal plumbing of the infrastructure.

There is another aspect to how the Cloud Foundry ecosystem is embracing Kubernetes, too. Since Cloud Foundry is also just software, there’s nothing stopping you from running it on top of Kubernetes, too. And with that, it’s no surprise that some of the largest Cloud Foundry vendors, including SUSE and IBM, are doing exactly that.

The SUSE Cloud Application Platform, which is a certified Cloud Foundry distribution, can run on any public cloud Kubernetes infrastructure, including the Microsoft Azure Container service. As the SUSE team told me, that means it’s not just easier to deploy, but also far less resource-intensive to run.

Similarly, IBM is now offering Cloud Foundry on top of Kubernetes for its customers, though it’s only calling this an experimental product for now. IBM’s GM of Cloud Developer Services Don Boulia stressed that IBM’s customers were mostly looking for ways to run their workloads in an isolated environment that isn’t shared with other IBM customers.

Boulia also stressed that for most customers, it’s not about Kubernetes versus Cloud Foundry. For most of his customers, using Kubernetes by itself is very much about moving their existing applications to the cloud. And for new applications, those customers are then opting to run Cloud Foundry.

That’s something the SUSE team also stressed. One pattern SUSE has seen is that potential customers come to it with the idea of setting up a container environment and then, over the course of the conversation, decide to implement Cloud Foundry as well.

Indeed, the message of this week’s event was very much that Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry are complementary technologies. That’s something Chen Goldberg, Google’s Director of Engineering for Container Engine and Kubernetes, also stressed during a panel discussion at the event.

Both the Cloud Foundry Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the home of Kubernetes, are under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation. They take somewhat different approaches to their communities, with Cloud Foundry stressing enterprise users far more than the CNCF. There are probably some politics at play here, but for the most part, the two organizations seem friendly enough — and they do share a number of members. “We are part of CNCF and part of Cloud Foundry foundation,” Pivotal CEO Rob Mee told our own Ron Miller. “Those communities are increasingly sharing tech back and forth and evolving together. Not entirely independent and not competitive either. Lot of complexity and subtlety. CNCF and Cloud Foundry are part of a larger ecosystem with complimentary and converging tech.”

We’ll likely see more of this technology sharing — and maybe collaboration — between the CNCF and Cloud Foundry going forward. The CNCF is, after all, the home of a number of very interesting projects for building cloud-native applications that do have their fair share of use cases in Cloud Foundry, too.

Jan
30
2018
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Red Hat acquires CoreOS for $250 million in Kubernetes expansion

 Red Hat, a company best known for its enterprise Linux products, has been making a big play for Kubernetes and containerization in recent years with its OpenShift Kubernetes product. Today the company decided to expand on that by acquiring CoreOS, a container management startup, for $250 million. Read More

Jan
30
2018
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Heptio launches its Kubernetes ‘un-distribution’

 Heptio holds a special place in the Kubernetes startup ecosystem. Its co-founders are, after all, two of the co-founders of the Kubernetes project. Heptio has raised millions, but it was never clear what their business plan looked like beyond offering training and professional services. It’s becoming clearer now, as the company today announced the launch of the Heptio Kubernetes… Read More

Dec
18
2017
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As Kubernetes surged in popularity in 2017, it created a vibrant ecosystem

 For a technology that the average person has probably never heard of, Kubernetes surged in popularity in 2017 with a particular group of IT pros who are working with container technology. Kubernetes is the orchestration engine that underlies how operations staff deploy and manage containers at scale. (For the low-down on containers, check out this article.) In plain English, that means that as… Read More

Dec
07
2017
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Salesforce is latest big tech vendor to join the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

 Salesforce announced today that it was joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the open-source organization that manages Kubernetes, the popular open-source container orchestration tool. It is the latest in a long line of big name companies, joining the likes of AWS, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware and Pivotal, all of whom joined earlier this year. Read More

Dec
07
2017
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Heptio teams up with Microsoft to build a better Kubernetes disaster recovery solution

 With the rise of Kubernetes as the de facto standard for container orchestration, it’s no surprise that there’s now a whole ecosystem of companies springing up around this open source project. Heptio is one of the most interesting ones, in no small part due to the fact that it was founded by Kubernetes co-founders Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie. Today, Heptio announced that it is… Read More

Dec
05
2017
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Pivotal has something for everyone in the latest Cloud Foundry Platform release

 Pivotal wants to be the development platform that serves everyone, and today at their SpringOne Platform (S1P) developer conference in San Francisco, they announced a huge upgrade to their Pivotal Cloud Foundry platform (PCF) that includes support for serverless computing, containers and a new app store. As James Watters, senior VP of strategy sees it, this is all part of a deliberate strategy… Read More

Dec
05
2017
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CoreOS Tectonic 1.8 makes it easy to plug external services into Kubernetes

 CoreOS announced Tectonic 1.8, its latest update of the popular Kubernetes container orchestration tool. It features a new open services catalog that enables DevOps personnel to plug in external services into Kubernetes with ease. As Rob Szumski, Tectonic product manager at CoreOS pointed out in a company blog post announcing the new version, public clouds offer lots of benefits around ease… Read More

Nov
29
2017
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AWS Fargate lets you run containers without managing infrastructure

 At the AWS re:Invent conference today in Las Vegas, the company introduced AWS Fargate, a new service that lets you run containers without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. This is a fairly remarkable idea. You can launch your containers, let Kubernetes or other orchestration engine act as the manager and AWS will handle all of the underlying hardware requirements for you.… Read More

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