Blogs
2020-09-03

Kubernetes Management Landscape

As you might expect we are frequently asked to explain “how Spectro Cloud fits into the Kubernetes landscape”. You might be asking that yourself.

We see the Kubernetes management landscape as having roughly three categories of solutions:

  • Do It Yourself (DIY): Kubernetes is a popular open source technology. In order to get K8s to work in an environment requires considering a whole host of decisions, from technologies in the stack to configuration values for piece of that stack. The DIY approach offers the maximum flexibility in tuning every bit of the environment to an organization’s needs. With that, however, comes the need for expertise and resources to maintain and support the clusters that are built, and, whenever the organization needs to extend to multiple clusters, to ensure consistency between those different clusters. Most enterprises find that they prefer a solution that is supported by a vendor so that they have the ability to request support when needed, but that does come at the expense of DIY flexibility.

  • Packaged distributions: Packaged distributions by vendors provide supported solution options to customers, giving enterprises the confidence that their deployments of Kubernetes would have support when needed. In order to accomplish this, packaged distributions adopt a “my way or the highway” approach to supported infrastructure stacks, dictating what the supported technology integrations and versions are in a deployment. This works well as long as the technology options and versions supported by the vendor match what is needed in a specific enterprise’s environment. If there is a need, however, for support for more recent versions of technology, or a specific set of technologies that aren’t included in the vendor’s compatibility list then a packaged solution might not be a good fit.

  • Managed services: Cloud based managed services (e.g., EKS, GKE, AKS) offer easy to use access to Kubernetes. If simple is the name of the game then this can be a great choice for a Kubernetes solution. Much of the management overhead for Kubernetes is offloaded to the service provider. Adopting this approach means putting the organization puts itself into the service provider’s hands — they manage Kubernetes for the organization but the organization agrees to adopt the cloud provider’s infrastructure tools and versions. Also, if an organization exists in multiple cloud environments, different solutions will be required in other environments. By necessity, the cloud managed services are somewhat behind the most current versions of technology and are prescriptive in the technology stacks that are supported. Many enterprises find that the cloud managed services are a good way to get started with Kubernetes but then outgrow the constraints introduced by those services over time. They often find that the technologies they are used to in their existing environments aren’t supported by the cloud managed services, and hence they are forced into developing a parallel set of expertise for each cloud.

So, what is Spectro Cloud in this context? We’re a solution that tries to offer some of the best of the three categories: we offer users the ability to accommodate their own unique infrastructure and cluster needs ala DIY, but confidently deploy and manage their stacks with the supportability of a packaged distribution and the ease of use of a managed service.

Tina Nolte
VP Product @ Spectro Cloud
Tina has been in and around cloud native and scale out technologies for the better part of a decade at companies such as Nebula, DriveScale, Pure Storage, and Cisco. She has a Ph.D. in distributed computing from MIT and enjoys reading science fiction and building large Lego Star Wars kits.