With containers taking the enterprise by storm, Kubernetes configuration and deployment complexities have surfaced.
These challenges have prompted a “cloud-native at scale” solution, which seeks to unify, simplify and solve complexity problems using a smaller and more unified set of tools and methodologies, according to Bich Le, chief architect and co-founder of Platform9 Systems Inc.. The company’s open-source project Arlon is making this a reality by combining different building blocks, including Kubernetes, GitOps and Argo CD.
“The inception of the project was the result of us realizing that problem, which is complexity,” Le stated. “With all these clouds, infrastructures, compute storage networks and the proliferation of tools, we saw a need to solve that complexity problem and especially for people and users who use Kubernetes at scale. Arlon takes all of those building blocks and builds a thin layer, which gives users a very expressive way of defining configuration and desired state.”
Le spoke with theCUBE industry analyst John Furrier during today’s “Cloud Native at Scale” event. They discussed how cloud at scale tackles configuration and deployment complexities; Platform9’s open-source tool, dubbed Arlon; and the supercloud model’s quest to provide enhanced business outcomes. In other sessions, Furrier spoke Platform9’s Bhaskar Gorti, chief executive officer, and Madhura Maskasky, co-founder and vice president of product. They discussed how Platform9 is accelerating the cloud-native at scale and supercloud cloud architecture models. (* Disclosure below.)
Infrastructure as code evolves to infrastructure as configuration
The success of Kubernetes has changed the infrastructure-as-code narrative to infrastructure as configuration, according to Le. This has become a reality through features like declarative API, which is a desired state system that allows developers to avoid having to reinvent the wheel.
“Everybody or most people know about infrastructure as code, but with Kubernetes, I think that project has evolved the concept even further. And these days it’s infrastructure as configuration,” Le stated. “With Kubernetes, you can describe your desired state, declare actively using things called manifest resources and then the system kind of magically figures it out and tries to converge the state towards the one that you specified.”
Since clusters are becoming an essential commodity that host an application, cloud-native at scale fills the void of handling multiple workloads on the fabric. This makes the lives of DevOps easier, according to Le.
“Kubernetes has defined kind of a standard way to describe workloads, and you can tell Kubernetes ‘I wanna run this container this particular way.’ Or you can use other projects that are in the Kubernetes cloud-native ecosystem,” he stated. “So DevOps teams have to provision clusters at a really incredible rate, and they need to tear them down.”
Cloud at scale caters for the needs of both the users and those in operations for the desired outcome. As a result, declarative API comes in handy because it ensures that the work is done in a more reliable, expressive and powerful way, according to Le.
“You can automate scripts, but the order in which they run matters. They can break, and sometimes you need to debug them, whereas the declarative way is much more expressive and powerful,” he pointed out. “In order to perform things like upgrades or updates on a very large scale, you want the humans behind that to be able to express and direct the system to do that in relatively simple terms.”
The existence of numerous clusters, locations, applications and users necessitates simplified management. Therefore, Arlon fits in the picture because it enables configurations to be standardized.
“With Arlon, you can kind of express everything together. You can say, ‘I want a cluster with a health-monitoring stack and a logging stack and this ingress controller, and I want these applications and these security policies,’” Le said. “You can describe all of that using something we call a profile, and then you can stamp out your applications and clusters and manage them. So Arlon doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel; it instead rests on the shoulders of several giants.”
Being an operating fabric for developers, Arlon takes the complexity away, according to Le, who said that this boosts productivity.
“The developers, the platform engineer, team members, DevOps, engineers, they get ways to provision not just infrastructure and clusters, but also applications and configurations,” he stated. “They get a system for provisioning, configuring, deploying and doing lifecycle management in a much simpler way.”
Based on the abstractions generated, Le believes supercloud simplifies computing and infrastructure management. As a result, enhanced business outcomes become inevitable.
“Supercloud, the way I interpret that is clouds, programmable infrastructure, all of those things are becoming commodity in a way, and everyone’s got their own flavor,” he noted. “But there’s a real opportunity for people to solve real business problems by perhaps trying to abstract away all of those various implementations and then building better abstractions.”
Here’s the complete video interview with Bich Le:
Supercloud offers a more tightly integrated and orchestrated management philosophy
Since multicloud lacks the decentralization or distributed aspect, supercloud fills the void by looking at things holistically and prompting more connections, according to Gorti. This triggers enhanced choice based on needs and preferences.
“Supercloud is where you are actually trying to look at this holistically. Whether it is on-prem, whether it is public, whether it’s at the edge, it’s at store, at the branch, you are looking at this as one unit,” he said. “You need choice of infrastructure, but at the same time, you need a single platform for you to build your innovations on regardless of which cloud you’re doing it on.”
With digital transformation rocking the enterprise world, having an integrated network has become fundamental for a seamless flow, according to Gorti, who said that being a digital company is extremely mission-critical.
“Whether you are doing it in public clouds or private clouds, the application world is moving very fast in trying to become digital and cloud-native,” he pointed out. “There are many options for you to run infrastructure. The biggest blocking factor now is having a unified platform, and that’s where we come in.”
Lifting and shifting do not fall under the confines of cloud-native, Gorti pointed out. As a result, enhanced expertise is a necessity.
“You have to rewrite and redevelop your application and business logic using modern tools; hopefully, more open source, and I think that’s what cloud-native is,” he said. “Now, everybody wants to be cloud-native, but it’s not that easy, because I think first of all, skillset is very important and uniformity of tools.”
Here’s the complete video interview with Bhaskar Gorti:
Open source accelerates cloud-native at scale
Open source creates more room for growth based on the hands-on experience provided to developers. This plays a pivotal role in boosting the cloud-native at scale concept, according to Maskasky.
“One of the things that’s absolutely critical to us is that we take mainstream open-source technologies and then we make them available to our customers at scale through either a SaaS model or on-prem model,” she said.
When it comes to cloud-native at scale, having the right management, monitoring and observability tools is required, Maskasky added. As a result, Arlon helps in distributed infrastructure management thanks to features like Argo CD.
“Arlon is an open-source project, a Kubernetes-native tool for complete end-to-end management of not just your clusters, but all of the infrastructure that goes within and along the sites of those clusters, security policies, your middleware plugins, and finally your applications,” she noted.
The significant growth of cloud deployments has given rise to the supercloud concept. Therefore, supercloud addresses the scalability issue.
“If you think about a supercloud environment, you need to complement that with the right kind of observability and monitoring tools at scale,” Maskasky stated. “I think we’ve reached a point now where instead of having the traditional data center-style model, where you have a few large distributions of infrastructure and workload at a few locations, you have a large number of microsites.”
Here’s the complete video interview with Madhura Maskasky:
And make sure to watch the complete “Cloud Native at Scale” event video below:
(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the “Cloud Native at Scale” event. Neither Platform9 Systems Inc., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)