CoreOS moves in on cloud DevOps with Kubernetes

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CoreOS is probably still best known for its cloud-friendly CoreOS Container Linux distribution. But that may be changing. CoreOS is now wrapping Kubernetes, the increasingly popular container orchestration program, into its Linux platform.

In March, Kubernetes 1.6 became the first release led by a CoreOS developer. With CoreOS’s latest release of Tectonic, the container-friendly Linux platform, CoreOS has taken over Kubernetes’ leadership.

That’s nice for marketing, but the real news for users came with the release of Tectonic 1.6.2 in May. This new Linux package of containers and DevOps is simple to install in servers and clouds, has robust auditing and logging and the addition of etcd, a distributed data store. This is a big deal because it makes it much easier to run applications that aren’t built to be scaled to run on Kubernetes.

Before diving into that, here’s the bullet list of the latest Tectonic’s new features:

  • Kubernetes 1.6.2
  • Back-end Terraform support for Tectonic Installer on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and bare metal
  • Improved workload separation
  • Improved Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and audit logging

Terraform’s support of the installer lets you place Kubernetes — without tears — on AWS and any idle servers you have sitting in your data center. The AWS part is the important news. Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure already had native Kubernetes support. AWS was the one big-time public cloud that made using Kubernetes difficult.

But CoreOS changed that earlier this year with the CoreOS Tectonic Installer 1.5.5, which will soon be available under an open-source license. It already enables you to set up Kubernetes clusters on Azure and the OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud.

The improved workload separation takes advantage of beta support for Kubernetes’ taints, tolerations and pod affinity. This helps make a clear separation between control-plane and user workloads. Speaking not just for myself, but for sysadmins everywhere, this is a big step forward. I’m looking forward to it moving from beta to general availability.

This also improves the reliability of the control plane by spreading the services across multiple nodes. Workload separation is enabled by default when users deploy multiple controllers and worker nodes.

RBAC makes assigning roles on a container cluster much easier. Adding audit logging, a required feature in some industries, is also a major win. The data from these logs can be sent to Elasticsearch or hosted services such as Loggly and AWS Cloudwatch, for analysis.

That’s all good news for CoreOS, but wait, there’s more!

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has approved CoreOS’s Container Networking Interface (CNI) as one of its projects. This is a method for hooking containers up to networking resources.

All of this, mind you, has happened in the last few months. These days we’re used to having technology move forward at a manic rate. Even by our modern standards, though, CoreOS is really pushing the envelope of cloud, container and DevOps technologies.

Interested in giving all this a try? You can deploy self-driving Kubernetes with Tectonic for free on AWS with up to 10 nodes to get a feel for this road to container management.



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  1. Scott Samuels says:

    Do you see Linuxkit taking ground off CoreOS in this space?


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