SUSE Seeks to Offer ‘Full-Lifecycle’ Kubernetes Management for the Edge
At its SUSECON 2021 conference earlier this month, SUSE introduced what it calls its “Full-Lifecycle Management for Edge” platform and explained how the offering will solve many of today’s edge computing problems, as it seeks to combine what it says is the best of SUSE Linux and Rancher Kubernetes orchestration tools and platforms.
The technology, now known as SUSE Edge, represents the marriage of a single offering for Linux and Kubernetes for edge computing following the company’s purchase of Rancher last year.
@SUSE's @shengliang during the @openSUSEConf #keynote: #K3s "has become the de facto industry standard for edge computing." @Rancher_Labs pic.twitter.com/JiuFv8cCgU
— BC Gain (@bcamerongain) May 18, 2021
During a keynote, Sheng Liang, SUSE’s appointed president of engineering and innovation who was previously the CEO and founder of Rancher, said SUSE now offers a “full stack for Kubernetes to go hand in hand to form the foundation of the modern IT stack — Linux manages individual computers and Kubernetes orchestrates application containers across multiple computers,” Liang said.
On a practical level, SUSE enables enterprises to deploy Linux across their on-premises and multicloud environments while Rancher provides the framework for Kubernetes management, especially for edge deployments — ranging from IoT devices to online kiosks deployed remotely.
Full-Lifecycle Management for Edge “means that we are leveraging Kubernetes to not just deploy containerized workloads but to manage cluster configuration and the lifecycle of the operating system used within the cluster,” said Keith Basil, vice president, cloud native infrastructure at SUSE.
A Kubernetes cluster will consist of an OS, Kubernetes and the workloads running on such,” Basil told The New Stack. “What we mean by ‘full lifecycle’ is this new ability to manage the lifecycle at each layer: app, cluster and OS.”
SUSE’s primary intent is to help solve many of the problems that organizations face when extending their applications on Kubernetes for edge applications.
“Based on the profiles and use cases we see, there are two challenging areas at the edge. One is the native complexity brought in by Kubernetes,” Basil said. “The second is the sheer number of edge locations under management. When you combine these two challenges — complexity and large numbers — you essentially need a framework that provides leverage to meet such challenges.”
SUSE Edge includes:
- SUSE Manager, a Linux management system.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro, a lightweight operating system designed for edge applications.
- Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE), a Kubernetes distribution geared for data centers.
- Longhorn, software-defined storage of stateful data for Kubernetes.
- K3s a lightweight version of Kubernetes.
K3s, which SUSE donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), is particularly well-geared for devices such as the Raspberry PI single-board computer and IoT devices such as smart security cameras. As a single binary, it was designed to lend support to low-power applications and CPUs, including the ARM64 and ARMv7 processors. SUSE says K3s can accommodate up to 1 million edge clusters for x86 or ARM64 CPUs. SUSE also added storage support earlier this year for ARM64 architectures, thus lending storage capability to ARM64 devices running K3s. According to Liang, K3s “has become the de facto industry standard for edge computing — just like Linux Kubernetes is everywhere.”
According to SUSE, K3s users can manage up to 1 million edge clusters built on x86 or ARM64-based hardware with maximum consistency and efficiency.
SUSE’s Full-Lifecycle Management for Edge can be traced back to the Rancher founders’ original ambitions for edge computing prior to SUSE’s acquisition. “It really is an extension of the vision of seeing Kubernetes everywhere. In fact, we expect and desire to accelerate the commoditization of Kubernetes,” Basil said. “This is why we feel that the Rancher product family excels because it builds value around and with Kubernetes. This position is strongly reinforced by our vision to innovate everywhere. If you look at Kubernetes through the lens of innovation, you’ll see us doing some very cool things in this space.”