CoreOS Tectonic 1.8 unites container management across clouds

Kubernetes can free users from being locked into a single cloud, and CoreOS wants to help them do this with its release of Tectonic 1.8.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

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Kubernetes is now -- no question about it -- the dominant cloud orchestration program. With Amazon Web Services (AWS) giving Kubernetes native support, all major clouds now support Kubernetes. This means more than just you can use the same program to manage your containers on different clouds. It also means you can use Kubernetes to manage all your containers on all your clouds in a single, cohesive fashion. This is what CoreOS brings to the table, with its latest release of Tectonic.

Tectonic, a cloud-management program based on Kubernetes, starts with a foundation of the newest Kubernetes 1.8 code without forks or custom patches. Kubernetes 1.8 delivers important security, auditing, and application management improvements.

With Tectonic 1.8, you can use CoreOS Open Cloud Services Catalog beta -- as an alternative to cloud vendors' proprietary services and application programming interfaces (APIs) -- to do the heavy lifting of maintaining, automating, patching and upgrading, disaster recovery, and horizontal scaling containers on multiple clouds. In essence, these are exposed, fully automated Kubernetes resources.

The first services offered by CoreOS Open Cloud Services Catalog include: etcd, the distributed key-value store that's the brain of Kubernetes; Prometheus, a leading high-availability, open-source monitoring solution; and HashCorp's Vault, a cloud-native secrets management tool. It servers communications between components by automatically creating Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates between them.

Prometheus has been upgraded to 2.0. This, the preferred Kubernetes monitoring system, delivers dramatic performance improvements, thanks to a rewritten storage engine.

This is all built on top of Kubernetes. Open Cloud Services are powered by three software components: The Operator, the Console UI, and Open Cloud Service instances. The Operator defines Kubernetes resources that can be created or edited via either the Console UI, kubectl, or the Kubernetes API. From these resources, an Operator then creates instances of the service that match that resource definition.

In addition, Tectonic now manages the installed version of the Docker Engine. It automatically updates to the latest validated release, beginning with the October 2016 release of Docker 17.03.

Let's set all the jargon aside. What does this really mean for your business? It means a lot.

First, Kubernetes and those Open Cloud Services can automate many of your three-in-the-morning cloud problems. Now, when your containers go off course in the middle of the night, Kubernetes can self-heal by auto-restarting, re-scheduling, and replicating containers as needed.

In addition, Rob Szumski, the Tectonic product manager, explained in a blog post, "Because Tectonic can run across multiple environments -- from bare metal and on-premises clouds, to public clouds including AWS and Azure -- customers aren't locked in. They can deploy and consume the same services consistently wherever they choose, simply by enabling them from the Tectonic Console's Open Cloud Services Catalog."

Remember when mobility was the promise of clouds? If you didn't like one cloud, you could pack your applications and data and move to another one. The reality was different. Now, with Kubernetes, as well as programs like Tectonics 1.8, which expose its richness of management resources, we may finally get to see that promise fulfilled.

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