Management Plane for Kubernetes Clusters

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Keeping up with Kubernetes

Management Plane for Kubernetes Clusters

a Discussion with Nirmata’s Ritesh Patel

JoAnne McDougald: “Hello everyone and welcome to Keeping up with Kubernetes, a new podcast out from the folks here at Nirmata. I’m joined today by Ritesh Patel, and Ritesh go ahead and tell me who you are and what you do here for Nirmata.”

Ritesh Patel: “Hi everybody, I am Ritesh Patel, founder and VP of Products at Nirmata.”

Jo: “How long have you been with Nirmata, and tell me the origin story.”

Ritesh: ”Nirmata was started in 2013, late 2013. My co-founders Jim Bugwadia, Damian Toledo, and myself, we started Nirmata. What we saw around that time was this huge change happening in the application space. Application architectures were changing, and applications were being developed as cloud-native applications. What we found was that these applications, as they were getting more complex, needed really solid management so they could be run in a distributed fashion on clouds or on premises.

Nirmata’s single pane of glass

Jo: “So that brings me to my first question. You’re talking about management and what I understand about Nirmata’s approach is that you offer a single pane of glass for managing Kubernetes. Why is that so important?

Ritesh: “What we’ve seen over the years, in the past few years, is that applications are being packaged in containers, and these containers are really different than VMs, their lifespan is short and they can scale up and scale down very quickly. Over the last couple of years, Kubernetes has become the platform of choice for orchestrating these containers. More and more enterprises prefer using Kubernetes for container management.

At Nirmata, what we do is we provide a single management plane for Kubernetes clusters as well as applications that are deployed on these clusters. The reason or the need for that is because of the trend we’re seeing in the enterprise. Most enterprises have more than one Kubernetes cluster, so they have multiple Kubernetes clusters, whether it’s for different applications or for different stages of their development pipeline.

So, they need a common view of all these clusters, and they need a common way to create these clusters, to ensure these clusters comply with their requirements, to ensure storage, networking, load balancers, and all of the other infrastructure that’s configured for these clusters is consistent. And then, even before they deploy that application what we see Is there’re a lot of infrastructure services that get deployed. We provide a way to manage these, install these, and manage the lifecycle of these on Kubernetes clusters in a very seamless manner.”

Jo: “So, the trend to be able to spin up all these containers… So, as a layperson, I’m curious about what the value to the company is. Folks at Nirmata are spinning up tens of thousands of clusters per day. So, just talk to me about the value to the company and what that means in terms of being able to be agile and responsive while moving on this transformational path to becoming more digitally robust.”

Ritesh: “Companies need to set up and manage Kubernetes clusters to allow their developers to  build applications faster. Containers are the way these applications are being packaged and delivered, and the lifecycle of containers is very short. Every time a developer builds or creates or checks in some code a container image is built and pushed into the cluster where it’s tested and the same process continues.

This is several times faster compared to doing this in VMs. As a result, these enterprises want to set up a container-as-a-service solution for their developers to be able to develop faster. When developers can develop faster, that means they can release features faster, which ultimately can help the business either get new customers or improve their customer satisfaction as well as retain existing customers. So, really, it translates into a huge impact to the business.”

Jo: “One hundred percent, understand. And because Nirmata acts as a common management plane for multiple Kubernetes clusters, talk to me about the benefits of that.”

Ritesh: “One of the benefits of Nirmata as a common management plane for Kubernetes is that we decouple the management of these clusters completely from the data plane itself. So, if you think about the stack, what it looks like is there’s the data plane, which is where all the developer applications or customer applications are running. Kubernetes acts as a control plane for these applications or these containers. Nirmata is then layered on top, which acts as a management plane for multiple Kubernetes clusters.

Really, the interesting thing here is that Nirmata is a multi-cloud solution. So, you may want Kubernetes clusters on premises, you may want in some cases Kubernetes clusters in multiple different clouds, whether it’s AWS, Azure, we can support all of that and give enterprises a flexibility over where and how they run their applications.”

Jo: “I would imagine they can even do it on their own private cloud.”

Ritesh: “Absolutely, we support private cloud both in VMs as well as bare metal. One of the trends we’re seeing is actually containers on bare metal. It’s early days, but that’s a very solid trend. We’ve worked with bare metal container service providers as well as just on bare metal servers. The other trend we see, it’s a little bit early but Nirmata can actually deploy Kubernetes and manage Kubernetes and applications on Kubernetes on edge devices. Edge computing is a new trend that’s emerging and containers being lightweight makes them a great way of deploying applications and running them at the edge to perform some local compute, some local processing, and then stream relevant data up to the cloud. Nirmata can support both cloud use cases as well as edge use cases, which is very unique in our solution.”

Jo: “Yeah. I’m feeling very ‘Field of Dreams’ right now, it feels like you guys have built it and now they can come.”

Ritesh: “Absolutely, in fact they have already come actually!”

Jo: “That’s right, and you guys have a SaaS service?”

Ritesh: “Yes, we offer our product in two different flavors if you will. One is a cloud-based service, a SaaS service, which we launched around 2015; this was pre-Kubernetes days. We have customers using that. In the last year, we’ve launched our on-premises solution, Nirmata Private Edition, which is or large enterprises looking for an on-premises deployment of Nirmata to manage their Kubernetes clusters and deliver a Container-as-a-Service solution.

Jo: “Well, I’m super excited for the folks here at Nirmata, it sounds like you’ve got a resilient, scalable program and process and product that will help people along the way.”

Ritesh: “Yes, absolutely. We’re excited about this trend, we’re excited to help our customers through this journey, and we’ve leveraged all our experience in building a highly resilient, scalable, and extensible platform, and we’re looking forward to working with more customers and help them on this journey.”

Jo: “That’s a big journey. Thanks for joining us, that was Ritesh Patel from Nirmata.”

Ritesh: “Thank you!”