Kubernetes at Scale and Multi-Cloud Management with Diamanti & Nirmata

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Male Voice: Hello, and welcome to “Keeping up with Kubernetes.” Sean Roth is Director of Product Marketing at Diamanti, a firm that offers a purpose-built, bare-metal infrastructure for modern, containerized applications. Let’s listen now as JoAnne McDougald speaks with Sean, as well as Nirmata’s own Anubhav Sharma, at KubeCon 2018 about why the conference has grown so drastically year over year, and what we can expect from containerization in 2019; as well as how Diamanti and Nirmata have partnered to offer a complete solution for enterprises to adopt Kubernetes.

JoAnne: Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of “Keeping up with Kubernetes.” I’m here with Anubhav Sharma of Nirmata and Sean Roth of Diamanti, and we are here coming to you live from the show floor at KubeCon 2018. We’re in Seattle. It’s rainy outside, but it’s warm and friendly inside. I think you guys are laughing at me. I know, I’m super cheesy; but it’s fun.

This conference is sold out, 8,000 strong; so many more people than have ever come to this conference before. The excitement is here. What do you think is the important pieces that people have – driven them here? What happened in 2018 that really made this change for this conference and for Kubernetes in general? I’m going to start with you, Sean. Tell us a little bit about yourself – our audience – and then what you do for Diamanti, and then answer my question.

Sean: Okay, thanks for having me on the show. My name is Sean Roth, and I am the director of product marketing at Diamanti. We’re a bare-metal container platform. We’ve been a partner of Nirmata’s and vice versa. We’ve partnered together as a result of a mutual customer, and we’ve found some really great synergy in which, in a context of multi-cloud, multi-Kubernetes environment management, we play into that very well. That’s what I think a lot of attendees here are really focused on: figuring out how to get a picture of the different Kubernetes environments that they have, whether they’re running it on-prem, which is the use case that we address; and then having a footprint in the cloud. So that plays extremely well into the platform that Nirmata offers.

JoAnne: Yes. We’ll pass it over to Anubhav. You want to talk a little bit about the relationship – maybe we can’t name the customer; I don’t know; but I’m sure they’re very happy. They may be in this room. Anyway, let’s go ahead, Anu.

Anubhav: So, thanks Jo. I’m Anubhav Sharma. I handle business development at Nirmata, and I think it’s very clear to see, talking to customers in this conference, that everybody has played around with Kubernetes enough, and they’re in production – small clusters – but they’re in production; and they’re looking to scale. I think as they think about the kind of workloads that they want to bring further, I think what that Diamanti is doing with the bare-metal platform and with customers, looking to marry the container strategy with a cloud strategy, I think our partnership really brings to fore a complete solution to help enterprise adopt Kubernetes across any type of workload and any type of intersection.

Specifically, the customer where we are partnering – I think it has become very clear that the kind of bare-metal performance that Diamanti delivers for the container workloads. I think it’s unparalleled in the industry. As customers are looking to scale that to a multi-cloud environment, thinking about application and workload management; and I think that’s where our partnership is really bringing tremendous value to the fore for the customer.

So, so far, so good; and things are going into production shortly. Really excited about starting the new year with one of the biggest workloads running on Kubernetes for one of our enterprise customers.

JoAnne: Stellar. So – and you brought me to my next little topic. We are in December. It’s that time for us to take a look back, and then a look forward. So just like photography is forever, now radio is forever; so we can come back next year, right here, and see how well we did with our productions.

Sean: So we’re setting a baseline here.

JoAnne: Yes, exactly. This is a repeatable process. All of our things are all about making things easier, containerized. This is a containerized podcast now. I think that’s what we’ve established. So, Sean, what are your predictions for Kubernetes, IT in general, and for Diamanti for 2019?

Sean: That’s – that’s a tough one. There are so many moving parts to what’s happening here. I think multi-cloud management – we’ve talked about the different varieties of how – where you’re running your containers; whether it’s production or development and test workloads. We see all kinds of different use cases where you’ve got something on-prem, something in the cloud maybe; you’ve got your own hybrid cloud.

So these terms are being used almost interchangeably. Keeping the distinctions in mind, I think this is still going to be a big trend. In a year we’ll likely see a lot of advancement in terms of the offerings out there in managing multiple cloud environments. By the very nature of cloud native, you have this unbelievable level of flexibility and portability for your applications and workloads. It only makes sense that you should have that across different environments. So that’s a trend I think we’re going to see become even stronger in the coming year.

Kubernetes clearly is the de facto orchestrator. This is something that Diamanti – we placed our bet on that relatively early, and it’s awesome to see how much that paid off for us. That’s what we based our platform on, and I also think that having such a strong user community; and the fact that, as you mentioned, the show was absolutely sold out; it will probably be sold out next year. We probably have one too many team members that jumped on the bandwagon and decided to come down anyway. Please don’t share that with the conference organizers.

But yes, if you look at what the CNCF community has contributed to Kubernetes and how that’s really driving best practices forward and what you can actually do with the platform, it’s amazing. I know that sounds very vague, but I’m going to stick with the continued upward trend of multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, multi-zone cluster management, all of that together; but that’s still going to be very much on, I think, most attendees’ minds next year.

JoAnne: Awesome. All right, thank you, Sean. I think we’re going to have success next year.

Sean: Okay.

JoAnne: Anubhav –

Anubhav Yes. So, I would agree with Sean on the fact that, I think, multi-cloud is a trend. I also think that sizes of clusters are growing. So far we have had a 10-node cluster, 20-node cluster. We are trying things. We’ve got a couple of things in production. But now I think customers are going to think about, okay; what are those heavy duty workloads that you want to move, and I think that’s the relevance of bare-metal Kubernetes platform will come to the fore.

Customers are going to start thinking about multi-cloud application and data management solutions. I think that’s where, again, the solution brings a lot of relevance. How do you move applications, data, from one environment to another based on what’s suited for those types of workloads? I think that trend is going to continue to accelerate.

I think size is going to grow, number of clusters are going to grow, and the need for an enterprise grid management solution is really coming to the fore. I would say about a year ago, when we were in a similar conference, we were still – it’s still early days; but as, I think, someone just said in a keynote here, we are crossing that early majority threshold here. I think that’s absolutely true. That’s very true in our conversations with folks who come to our booth, and I think that’s going to accelerate.

So I predict that size of clusters are going to grow two to three-fold. I think you’re going to see more business critical workloads, and I see growth for both of us.

JoAnne: I do, too. Last question: Security – what’s everyone’s thought on that?

Sean: Oh. I also come from the security world. That is definitely front and center. Everything that we’ve seen suggests that, whether you’re a CISO or CIO or – everybody from the ground up should be security focused. Obviously, what cloud native has really done in the IT world is bring together developers and operations and security. That’s not an easy challenge to solve, and getting all of these factions working together and to be security minded – huge problem.

I think there are some – I think the focus for a while now has been on build face security around containers, hardening containers against vulnerabilities. We saw, not too long ago, there was a big announcement about a vulnerability that was found. Again, this is the great thing about having such a strong user community. You’re going to get to fix those issues before they become massive problems for the users.

With that focus, solving vulnerabilities and hardening containers, then moving into runtime issues around security, you’ve got a huge production container environment. What does a threat look like in an environment like that? Because containers fundamentally behave very different than monolithic applications do. So, that’s a very difficult challenge to solve, and I think you have to look at the whole container lifecycle and figure out what’s needed at each stage. Going forward the big challenge is really figuring out, how do I protect my containers during runtime; how do I secure my platforms that my containers are running on?

So yes, security as applied to Kubernetes – clearly front and center when it comes to security at this point in time. Going forward it has to be a holistic approach.

JoAnne: A holistic approach – that’s what I’m hearing from Sean Roth at Diamanti. I know Nirmata wrote a recent blog about that.

Anubhav: Yes, that was our episode two.

JoAnne: No, no, no. Jim wrote a blog about the recent outage that happened in Kubernetes. The update, as far as he was concerned, and they were concerned, was, go to a different version; because that has been – because you have this robust community, people piled in and identified it.

Anubhav: I think Kubernetes – there’s a lot of things working for Kubernetes. It’s one of the – it’s seen a lot of production time. It’s a very mature stack, and it has got tremendous community support. The issue, as it was identified – within 24 hours there was a fix. It was announced. It was made available to everybody. It did not matter if you had a distribution or if you had an open source. Everybody got the support at the same time, I think; which is fantastic. It bodes well, really well, for all Kubernetes proponents and customers.

With that said, I think this highlights the need for enterprise grade approach to managing security –

JoAnne: I’m seeing a nod from Sean there.

Sean: Oh yes, absolutely.

Anubhav: – within the clusters. Those days of one or two lines of businesses trying something out and having something in production – I think that’s gone. Now it’s like, okay; this is where rubber hits the road; how do we make this enterprise great; how do we scale this towards the enterprise. I think that’s where solutions around runtime security, solutions around how do you make it CIS compliant from the get-go. How do you look at industry compliance like PCI, DSS, et cetera?

I think all those solutions need to be part of the conversation as you are thinking about a container management solution versus an afterthought. It seems to be the case with a lot of these lines of businesses who will build something, and now thinking about all these enterprise grid requirements that they need to take into account.

JoAnne: All right. I want to thank you both for showing up for “Keeping up with Kubernetes.” My takeaway on this conversation was multi-cloud, bare-metal, flexibility, and partnerships. I think that’s where we’re going to end today, but thank you both, Anubhav and Sean.

Sean: Thank you.

Anubhav: Thank you.

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