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The Emergence of Kubernetes Control Planes

Kubernetes Icon

This blog was also published on the Amalgam Insights website. As is the case with all new technology, container cluster deployments began small. There were some companies, Google for example,

How Are You?

Tom Petrocelli

It’s the first of April here in Western New York where I live. The sun is shining, days are getting a little longer, and the trees are budding. It would

Changeover Complete!

The changes in my account are finished. If anyone notices a problem such as being unable to reach my site, please let me know so that I can take swift

Account Changes

I’m still in the process of changing my blog and email to a different package. So far, I’ve not seen any disruption but I’m still in the middle of the

Possible Disruption Week of 3/9

My desk with computers, displays, and coffee.

I will be making changes to my website account this week. The costs at my hosting company have ballooned and my package is much more than is needed for this

The Emergence of Kubernetes Control Planes

Kubernetes Icon

This blog was also published on the Amalgam Insights website.

As is the case with all new technology, container cluster deployments began small. There were some companies, Google for example, that were deploying sizable clusters, but these were not the norm. Instead, there were some test beds and small, greenfield applications. As the technology proved itself and matured, more organizations adopted containers and the market favorite container orchestrator, Kubernetes. The emergence of Kubernetes was, in fact, a leading indicator that containers were starting to see more widespread adoption in real applications. The more containers deployed, the greater the need for software to automate their lifecycle. Even so, it was unusual to find organizations standing up many Kubernetes clusters, especially geographically dispersed clusters.

That is beginning to change. Organizations that have adopted containers and Kubernetes are starting to struggle with managing multiple clusters spread throughout an enterprise. Just as managing large amounts of containers in a cluster was the impetus for orchestrators such as Kubernetes, new software is needed to manage large scale multi-cluster environments. At the same time, Kubernetes clusters have been getting more complex internally. From humble beginnings of a handful of containers with a microservice or two, clusters now include containers for networking including service mesh sidecars and data planes, logging, app performance monitoring, database connectivity, and storage. All that is in addition to the growing number of microservices being deployed.

In a nutshell, there are now a greater number of larger and more complex Kubernetes containers clusters being deployed. It is no longer enough to manage the lifecycle of the containers. It is now necessary to manage the lifecycle of the cluster itself. This is the purpose of a Kubernetes control plane.

Kubernetes control planes comprise of a series of functions that manage the health and well-being of the cluster. Common features are:

  • Cluster lifecycle management including provisioning of clusters, often from templates for common types of clusters.
  • Versioning including updates to Kubernetes itself.
  • Security and Auditing
  • Visibility, Monitoring, and Logging

Kubernetes control planes are policy driven and automated. This allows operators to focus on governance while the control plane software does the rest. Not only does this reduce errors but allows for faster responses to changes or problems that may arise. This automation is necessary since managing many large multi-site clusters by hand would require large amounts of manpower and, hence, cost.

Software vendors have stepped with products to meet this emerging need. In the past year, products that implement a Kubernetes control plane have been announced or deployed by Rancher, Platform9, IBM’s Red Hat division (Advanced Cluster Management) , and VMware (Tanzu Mission Control) and more. All of these Kubernetes control planes are designed for multi-cloud, hybrid clusters and are packaged either as part of to a Kubernetes distribution or an aftermarket addition to a company’s Kubernetes product.

Kubernetes control planes are a sign of the normalization of container clusters. The growth both in complexity and scale of container clusters necessitates a management layer that helps DevOps teams to more quickly standup and manage clusters. This is the only way that platform operations can match the speed of Agile development and automated CI/CD toolchains. It is yet another piece of the emerging platform that will be where our modern cloud native applications will live.

How Are You?

Tom Petrocelli

It’s the first of April here in Western New York where I live. The sun is shining, days are getting a little longer, and the trees are budding. It would be a lovely Spring if not for this horrible Coronavirus. While we can still go outside to enjoy nature, we can’t congregate with friends and family that are so much more beautiful than any tree or flower. That can depress us more than any gloomy, winter day. I am grateful for the video calls I have with so many wonderful people that I only see a fraction as much as I wish. That’s a silver lining.

For the past month I have found myself dispensing practical advice to those who are working from home for the first time. I can do this because I have worked remotely for the past 10 years and many times before that. Setting up separate spaces, learning to budget time differently, and techniques for managing remote teams is all in my wheelhouse. My colleague, Hyoun Park, has a series of blogs about remote work up on the Amalgam Insights website. He also had a lot of experience with working from home. There’s a lot of good stuff there.

Of course, self-care is a unique part of working from home during a pandemic. The emotions are different than when you do so by choice. All the jokes about working in pajamas (most of is remote work veterans do not do that) wear thin. It’s natural to feel a sense of loss and disruption of identity when you are used to going to an office full of people. It’s lonely. Even for us remote work types, these are sad and frightening times.

So, there is something more important we can do. More important than having the right video software or camera. Infinitely more crucial than learning how to reduce the amount of Slack disruptions. We can ask each other “How are you?” I have had so many people ask me that over the past month. It warms my heart to hear that phrase. It recognizes that these are not normal times. It provides the human element to our interactions. A simple phrase, “how are you?”, lets us know that we are still connected, that business isn’t everything, and our individual lives are still important.

So, “how are you?”

If you want to DM me or respond in Twitter, public or private message in LinkedIn, or send me an email, feel free. I want to know. Even if you don’t want to, can’t, or are simply uncomfortable with reaching out, remember this – you are not alone. You are never alone. How you are matters.