Containerization Kubernetes for the Enterprise with GM Financial & Nirmata

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Announcer: Hello and welcome to “Keeping Up with Kubernetes.” Jeff Loyd is Emerging Data Technology Lead at GM Financial. Let’s listen as Joanne McDougald speaks with Jeff about how the devolution of managing complex development workloads has led us to containerization and how containerization and VNs have completely changed the game.

Joanne: Hello and welcome to another edition of “Keeping Up with Kubernetes.” This is Jo McDougald, and I’m coming to you live from the KubeCon conference. I’m standing with Jeff Loyd of GM Financial. Jeff, tell us a little bit about yourself and what brings you to the show.

Jeff: Like you said, my name is Jeff, and I’ve been a developer most of my life and recently switched into ops. I guess recently, maybe about five-plus years ago, and then I switched over to being an architect. So because I can actually do –  

Joanne: Life cycle management, yeah.

Jeff: Right? Which is odd, you know, because most architects come in, and maybe they don’t have a lot of that real-world experience. I can bring a lot of that, and specifically from the 12-factor-development perspective and DevOps kind of mentality. That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life.

Joanne: That’s great. And you also have to be a fabulous shopper as an architect.

Jeff: That’s true. That’s right. You do, you do. You know, as it relates to containerized workloads and where the world is going, you look back, a long time ago – say, circa 2000-ish – and you look at how we were developing applications using extreme programming –  

Joanne: Yeah.

Jeff: Those same concepts have been around a long time and have just sort of morphed into these things like agile development, etc. The decomposition of concerns is really what the small units of work, from the containerized environment, are doing. We are decomposing the application down into disaggregated parts that we can compose together, utilizing platforms like Kubernetes or orchestrators, right?

If you think about like MVC design pattern in a development perspective, in the old days, we would take that kind of framework, like maybe a or whatever – maybe that’s not too old-days, but it’s been around a while – and you make your routes and your models and your controllers, and then you would package set up, compiling, and you ship it as a web application

Well, let’s continue to decompose those ideas and bring those down into smaller units of work for containers, whether that’s Docker or some other CRI. Then you can horizontally scale pieces of your application as opposed to the application in and of itself, right?

So those are some of the concepts I’ve actually been working on with Kubernetes, taking the separation of concerns further down and turning Kubernetes into a full-fledged application server.

Joanne: Yeah, that’s so exciting, and I think that’s why this show has trebled in size in the last three years. It was 2,000 people three years ago. It’s 7,000. We sold out, unbelievably.

Jeff: Right?

Joanne: You feel the excitement in the room, I think. What you’re doing, though, you have to take difficult problems, take them down to their core elements – what you’re saying, decomposition of concerns. Love that term. I may steal that for the future. I love that.

Jeff: Absolutely. Go for it.

Joanne: It really – and then that simplifies things along the way. And I think what’s so important about containerization and why everyone is so excited about it is because it allows people to set a framework in which they can operate and safely share that knowledge across their entire enterprise without having to rebuild the wheel every time.

And I think VMs did this 20 years ago –

Jeff: Yeah.

Joanne: – and now containers do it today. So talk a little bit about what you’re hearing. I assume you went to the keynote this morning.

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, a lot of – so what I specifically do is, I deal with the emergent technologies. A lot is going on with machine learning, deep learning. You know, big data is transforming into more cloud-native. The whole Cloudera-HortonWorks merger. You know, Cavco over there is switching to Kubernetes. Zookeeper, all these different technologies that were mind-blowing just five years ago are completely changing.

But you bring VMs to the picture – you know, 20 years ago, VMs change the entire landscape.

Joanne: One hundred percent.

Jeff: But you still have this big surface that you’ve got to deal with, in an operations perspective, on VMs, right? We want to continue to break it apart. It’s easier to deal with small areas of concern when there’s potentially problems, or when there’s updates, right?

So for example, like what I was talking about with applying the MVC design pattern to an actual, more of a microservice deployment – you could actually do blue-green deployments on areas in your application, you know, like the dashboard. Ninety percent of my people are going to get the normal dashboard and 10 percent are going to get the new version.

Joanne: Awesome.

Jeff: Right? Yeah, so some of those things. VMs are not capable of doing that –

Joanne: No.

Jeff: – because they’re shipping the complete package, again.

Joanne: Right.

Jeff: So you know, you –

Joanne: Microservices are huge –

Jeff: They are.

Joanne: – and that’s a great use case, and I think  – we’re here in the Nirmata booth, and what Nirmata does is provides a platform-as-a-service for managing Kubernetes across multiple clouds, whether that’s on-prem or not. Have you had a chance to evaluate what they’re doing, and what you think about the market in general?

Jeff: Overall, there’s a lot of maturation it’s happening right now, right? So a lot of people are looking for different areas that companies can solve for them. But at the same time, you want those areas to be able to be interoperable. The beauty of Kubernetes is, it’s like Lego blocks, and they give you all the core pieces that you need to build something really cool, but it’s not necessarily – it’s not opinionated, in a lot of ways. I mean, there’s opinions, but you can kind of stitch it together that we want, you know? And that’s what’s great.

And I’m hoping companies – and I think what you guys do here at Nirmata really follows that same ethos, and I’m hoping companies really kind of take that as well, because the world has changed from 20 years ago to today as to what people are really interested in. I don’t really want vendor lock-in.

Joanne: No. This is all about cloud-native, keeping your choices your own and allowing for that flexibility that people are craving. I think that’s what’s going to win –

Jeff: Yes.

Joanne: – and this next iteration and what I think people are hungry for today. That’s flexibility, easy to use, and they love open-source. I think the community has spoken. They all want cloud-native, open-source offerings that solve their day-to-day problems. I’m so excited that you are here evaluating companies across the board. Thanks so much for spending some time with us.

Jeff: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Joanne: Thank you.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to “Keeping Up with Kubernetes.” For more discussion on the latest in the world of Kubernetes, visit us at