Kubernetes And The Open Service Broker Make Multi-Cloud A Reality
Source – forbes.com
The rise of open source software has changed the industry dynamics. One example of this phenomenon is the evolution of containers and container management platforms.
Kubernetes, the popular open source container orchestration project has active contributors from Google, Red Hat, IBM and Microsoft among others. The industry immensely benefits when these large platform companies keep their ego aside and start working towards making an open source project successful. Kubernetes has become an excellent example of such efforts.
Today, Kubernetes is available as a managed Containers as a Service (CaaS) offering in Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure and even on Alibaba Cloud. With a bit of planning, developers can seamlessly move workloads from one cloud with little to no changes to the codebase. In the decade-long history of public cloud, this is the first time that we are experiencing real portability of applications. Kubernetes has become the level playing field for the public cloud. It forced the vendors to align their respective platforms in a way that delivers ultimate value to customers.
While Kubernetes is moving towards becoming the lowest common denominator of the cloud, it has a long way to go. Currently, in version 1.10, the project is just a couple of years old. But, it is undoubtedly one of the most promising technologies of the decade.
One of the exciting concepts of Kubernetes is called cluster federation, which enables customers to connect disparate clusters running in different environments. For example, a large enterprise can federate an on-premises Kubernetes cluster with Google Kubernetes Engine running in the public cloud. Operators and DevOps engineers can manage these federated clusters in the same way they handle regular clusters. Federated Kubernetes clusters can go a long way in delivering the promise of multi-cloud.
An Azure AKS cluster and GKE cluster running in US East region can be easily federated. Since they are running in the same region that offers lower latency, it is possible to deploy containerized applications that span both the clouds. The best thing is that the federated configuration is entirely transparent to developers and operators. Only a subset of the Kubernetes administration team manages the federation. The ability to connect multiple clusters running across different public clouds makes multi-cloud a reality.
Apart from federated clusters, the other project that enables multi-cloud is Open Service Broker (OSB). The Open Service Broker API is an industry-wide effort to meet the demand of consuming cloud services through a simple and secure mechanism. OSB API bridges the gap between proprietary, managed cloud services such as databases, cache, messaging and object storage with contemporary applications deployed in Kubernetes.
OSB project was initiated by the Cloud Foundry Foundation in December 2016. Abby Kearns, Executive Director, Cloud Foundry Foundation called it as a consistent model for exposing capabilities to developers across the architecture ensures these organizations focus on developing and deploying applications that truly differentiate their business.
OSB brings CaaS and PaaS worlds together through an open API specification. It is modeled around the simple service discovery and catalog mechanism used by Cloud Foundry. The project includes individuals from Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Pivotal, Red Hat and SAP. In December 2017, Microsoft published an OSB for Azure. Kubernetes developers can easily consume Azure services such as CosmosDB, Redis, MySQL, Postgres, and SQL Database. Last week, Google announced the availability of hosted implementation of the open-source Open Service Broker API for GCP.
With OSB, it is possible to run the web front end on Google Kubernetes Engine that talks to an instance of SQL Database provisioned in Microsoft Azure.
The combination of Kubernetes and Open Service Broker are set to deliver ultimate portability in the public cloud. These technologies have the potential to help the industry realize the promise of multi-cloud.