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Oracle Joins the Kubernetes Movement

1 Jun 2017 8:00am, by

At CoreOS Fest in San Francisco, a perhaps unexpected guest took to the keynote stage to announce a new partnership and a new commitment to Kubernetes. Bob Quillin, vice president of the Oracle container group, explained that Oracle will now be contributing engineering resources to the Kubernetes open source project, and using K8s to internally manage its container infrastructure.

Oracle believes Kubernetes is the future of cloud container orchestration and management, Quillin asserted. Timothy J. Fontaine, software engineer at Oracle and former project lead on Node.js at Joyent, will now be leading the Kubernetes efforts inside Oracle.

Oracle is committed to working with canonical Kubernetes, not making its own distribution (as it did with Oracle Linux a decade ago). “Customers want the open source version of Kubernetes. They want to run it on premise and in someone else’s cloud. We’d provide updates upstream. Our job is not to fork and create our own: we want to be part of the broader community,” said Quillin.

“Without staying true to the whole foundation of open source, you’re not going to get the value. What we don’t want is them to have to care and feed it, and maintain it. That’s the next set of things we’re looking at. I want the open source, and I want someone to take care of it for me. That will come in the form of services, like Tectonic, for the Kubernetes community. That’s the next set of challenges: How do we make this more accessible and easier to consume for the broader community?” asked Quillin.

That will likely be a major focus for Oracle’s contributions, he said: helping to make Kubernetes more friendly to the end users.

The potential isn’t just in the new applications, either. Quillin comes from Oracle’s acquisition of StackEngine in late 2015. Quillin said that company was built around Docker, but that Kubernetes is evolving in a similar fashion now that developers and enterprises are looking at paths to operational usage of containers.

According to a report released by the 451 Group today and prepared for CoreOS, a bet on Kubernetes may be just the right move for Oracle, and other companies like Microsoft, which recently announced its own commitments to the project.

“More than 75 percent of respondents think Kubernetes and other container management and orchestration software is sufficient to replace private clouds, and nearly 80 percent think it is sufficient to replace PaaS,” the 451 Research report stated.

Kubernetes is even throwing shade on OpenStack as an alternative to large-scale on-premise cloud installations, despite not having many of the same capabilities around storage and networking, noted Jay Lyman, 451 Research principal analyst in development, DevOps, cloud management and containers.

“It is indeed mostly a theory as there would be technical limits — for example Kubernetes does not have the compute, storage and networking components that an OpenStack private cloud would, nor does it necessarily have the same run-time capabilities of a PaaS. Nevertheless, some organizations still view container management and orchestration as a faster alternative and the survey seemed to validate this.”

Lyman continued, “A couple of years ago, [most customers] wanted the ability to move apps and workloads between different cloud infrastructures, but few were leveraging it. Today, there are lots of apps and services running on multiple cloud infrastructures, whether it is dynamically moving workloads based on best execution venue, on-premises for existing and legacy apps and public clouds for new apps, internal and customer-facing on different infrastructure, public cloud for backup and recovery, cloudbursting, etc. … That doesn’t mean integration and portability are seamless, but that’s the path they’re on and the leading edge end users are increasingly pulling it off.”

Bare Metal Performance

Meanwhile, Oracle is also merging its bare metal hosted cloud offerings with CoreOS and containers. “Bare metal is a great place to run containers. You don’t have the hypervisor tax. One of the penultimate applications of bare metal is for the cloud native environment. To have that, you need the type of stuff you have here, like Container Linux from CoreOS, Docker as your underlying container platform, with orchestration around Kubernetes,” said Quillin.

As for where Oracle will be contributing to Kubernetes, Quillin said they’re actively interested in “in federation, security, building in plugins. There are really exciting things the team is talking about around open source cloud, and cross-cloud to do federation. That’s where CoreOS is pushing towards in the future. We’re excited to be part of that. A lot of our customers are looking to avoid cloud lock-in: a fear that AWS is taking on too much.”

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation and CoreOS are sponsors of The New Stack.

Feature image via Pixabay.


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