​Kubernetes vendors agree on standardization

Want to use Kubernetes, but worried about portability across clouds, containers, and vendors? Don't be. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation has you covered.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Everyone and their uncle has decided to use Kubernetes for cloud container management. Even Kubernetes' former rivals, Docker Swarm and Mesosphere, have thrown in the towel. Mesosphere came over in early October and Docker added Kubernetes support later the same month. There was only question: Would all these Kubernetes implementations work together? Thanks to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the answer is yes.

CNCF, which is Kubernetes' parent organization, announced that at least 32 companies will support the Kubernetes Software Conformance Certification program. Others are joining even as I report the story. The question isn't "What Kubernetes company is supporting this new initiative?" but rather "Which ones aren't?" The answer is no company of any real significance in the Kubernetes space isn't supporting it.

This certification ensures that every vendor's Kubernetes version supports its required application programming interfaces (APIs). For Kubernetes users, this guarantees interoperability from one Kubernetes installation to the next. It gives them flexibility and vendor independence.

The Kubernetes Architecture SIG is the final arbiter of the definition of the program's API conformance. This SIG maintains and evolves the Kubernetes' design principles.

The initial certification is based on Kubernetes 1.7 and higher versions. The program also includes strong guarantees that commercial Kubernetes products and services will continue to release new versions to ensure that customers can take advantage of the rapid pace of ongoing development. Kubernetes is one of the highest velocity, open-source software projects ever. New releases come out approximately every two months.

"The new Kubernetes Software Conformance Certification gives enterprise organizations the confidence that workloads that run on any Certified Kubernetes Distribution or Platform will work correctly on any other version," explained Dan Kohn, CNCF's executive director, in a statement. "The interoperability that this program ensures is essential to Kubernetes meeting its promise of offering a single open-source software stack supported by many vendors that can deploy on any public, private, or hybrid cloud."

Specifically, Kohn added, the certification is based on a "subset of existing Kubernetes project APIs. These are given a conformance test. This means that when you spin up a new container, regardless of who creates the version of Kubernetes, it will behave in a consistent way."

Any vendor can run the conformance test suite and submit conformance testing results for review and CNCF certification. End users should make sure their vendor partners certify their Kubernetes product.

Certified Kubernetes implementations can use the new Certified Kubernetes logo and can also use the Kubernetes mark in combination with their product name (e.g., XYZ Kubernetes Service).

The point of all this? Eyal Manor, Google Cloud's VP Engineering, explained: "From the day Google first open-sourced Kubernetes, the goal has been to provide a highly portable cloud native platform for developers to quickly deploy services on premises, in public cloud, and in hybrid environments. The Certified Kubernetes Conformance Program is a way for vendors to prove they are offering pure Kubernetes, with continuous, seamless upgrades, giving users assurance that they can continue to benefit from the innovation and portability Kubernetes offers."

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