Mirantis and Google ease Kubernetes Docker cluster manager onto OpenStack

Uptake of Docker containers stands to get a further boost from integration work to put Google's Kubernetes on OpenStack, according to Mirantis.

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Adrian Ionel: This gives Docker a key piece of functionality. Image: Mirantis

The previously tricky business of using Docker cluster-manager Kubernetes on the OpenStack cloud platform should now be easier, following integration work from Mirantis and Google.

OpenStack software and services company Mirantis and search-to-cloud giant Google, which developed Kubernetes, have worked together to turn the container software into an application "available by point and click" inside OpenStack app catalogue Murano.

The idea is that developers will be able to use Murano to move workloads between OpenStack private clouds and public clouds that support Kubernetes, such as the Google Cloud Platform.

"Kubernetes on its own is not easy to deploy. You have to be a very deep-level expert, which most developers are not. What we're doing through this collaboration and through Murano is we're making everything drop-dead simple, so developers can focus just on the building of their functionality," Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel said.

"They don't need to be worried about container orchestration and networking and storage and all the low-level stuff underneath. They just have a visual orchestrator and pick the components they want, the containers they want, and they can immediately enable their deployment via Kubernetes. So instead of having to spend hours writing scripts or trying to figure things out, it's really a point-and-click visual experience that works out of the box."

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The OpenStack open-source project began in 2010, instigated by Rackspace and NASA, to create components for building public and private clouds on standard hardware.

It is now backed by more than 200 vendors, including Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Red Hat, and VMware, with a large developer community working on a range of loosely-coupled projects. Mirantis is one of OpenStack's founding members.

Docker automates the creation and deployment of apps in containers - a lighter-weight form of virtualisation - with the goal of freeing developers from software and infrastructure dependencies, cutting costs and creating efficiencies in the process.

"Kubernetes is focused on managing clusters of containers but without the underlying fine-tuned network topology and infrastructure. What Murano does is it adds that to it," Ionel said.

"It provisions the network, the security. It just gives an additional level of granular control and detail over the overall container networks and the underlying infrastructure. It also automates the provisioning of Kubernetes pods - or Kubernetes clusters - on demand so you can have multiple ones running at the same time, as needed by your developers."

OpenStack StackForge project Murano offers wizards for app configuration to simplify complex deployments of multi-tier or distributed software. It also uses the Heat OpenStack orchestration engine to configure infrastructure resources for multi-tier apps.

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With the integration carried out by Mirantis and Google, Murano automatically configures underlying networking for Kubernetes clusters, providing integration for OpenStack load-balancers and firewalls. It then deploys Docker apps onto the Kubernetes cluster and links into monitoring and log-collection services.

According to Ionel, the Kubernetes-Murano collaboration between Mirantis and Google, which have sites next door to each other in Mountain View, California, will have a positive impact on the uptake of Docker.

"The key for Docker to succeed long term is to make this transition from a small development environment, which is where it's mostly at, to enterprise-grade production environments," he said.

"OpenStack and Kubernetes and Google are all about large-scale production environments. This adds to Docker a key piece of functionality in terms of secure networking, secure orchestration, SLA guarantees, and the combination of containers and virtual machines and bare metal.

"That's because the larger scale workloads out there are not pure container workloads. They're a combination of containers, virtual machines and bare metal. That's exactly what OpenStack facilitates."

Ionel said the fruits of the collaboration with Google over Kubernetes will be made available as open source in line with the Mirantis philosophy of pure-play OpenStack and contributing all its work to the community.

It will also be offering a supported, enterprise-grade version of the Murano-Kubernetes integration as part of Mirantis OpenStack to all its customers. The software will be available for technical preview use on Mirantis OpenStack Express in April and is being demonstrated this week at the Bay Area Kubernetes Meetup.

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