Linode Launches Managed Kubernetes Service

Linode today made generally available Linode Kubernetes Engine (LKE), a managed instance of Kubernetes clusters that includes access to a control plane at no additional cost.

Howie Ross, director of engineering for Linode, says the managed service provider is committed to providing IT teams with a level of service for Kubernetes clusters that is not available at a comparable cost on rival cloud platforms.

Linode currently gives customers access to versions 1.17, 1.16, and 1.15 of Kubernetes running in data centers located in Dallas; Fremont, California; Newark, New Jersey; and Sydney.

The Kubernetes control plane exposed by Linode provides access to the Linode Cloud Controller Manager, which includes tools to automate Kubernetes upgrades as well as backup and recovery. It also provides access to an application programming interface (API), scheduler, an instance of the open source etcd key/value store and resource controllers.

In addition, Linode provides access to tools to provision and manage cloud storage options using the Linode Container Storage Interface driver for block storage, as well as tools to provision and configure NodeBalancers.

Finally, LKE is integrated with third-party tools such as Helm and Terraform as well as offerings from Rancher Labs.

Linode plans to make LKE available in other data centers in the months ahead based on customer demand. The goal is to provide IT teams with an alternative to managed services provided by larger rivals that cost more because they consider access to a control plane to manage Kubernetes clusters to be a separate service, notes Ross.

In general, interest in hosted managed Kubernetes services is on the rise because IT teams lack the expertise required to deploy and manage them at scale. Linode is making it easier to provision Kubernetes at scale while providing access to tools to manage them. Many IT teams struggle with not only provisioning Kubernetes clusters but also setting up all the associated management infrastructure. LKE is designed to make it easier to deploy applications on Kubernetes with a single click of a button, says Ross.

It’s not clear in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic precisely what the appetite for Kubernetes will be in the near-term. Many organizations may decide to limit their investments in emerging IT platforms. Others will determine their existing applications aren’t flexible and resilient enough to meet the requirements of modern digital business applications. As such, they will embrace Kubernetes clusters, which make it easier to scale IT infrastructure up and down as needed. The challenge IT teams face today when implementing Kubernetes on their own is that Kubernetes is a complex platform that often presents IT teams with too many options, notes Ross.

Regardless of the path forward, it’s not only a matter of time before more containerized applications are deployed on Kubernetes. Less clear is to what degree IT organizations will prefer to continue to manage IT infrastructure themselves versus shifting more of their focus toward building and deploying applications on IT infrastructure that someone else manages on their behalf.

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