Introducing Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit: The Fully-Automated Path to Production Kubernetes

By Sinclair Schuller



Earlier this year, Apprenda announced its plans to embrace and join the Kubernetes project and community. This decision was driven by significant customer demand and the need to deliver a common set of platform offerings for both existing / legacy applications and new / cloud-native distributed services in the enterprise.

Throughout 2016, the excitement around Kubernetes and the revolving community, ecosystem and rapidly growing list of production users has been nothing short of amazing. In mid-2015, Kubernetes co-founder Brendan Burns wrote about a set of patterns describing how distributed systems primitives can be taken advantage of using the Pod abstraction in Kubernetes. Over the past year, we have seen this abstraction take hold in the container ecosystem — it has become increasingly clear that Kubernetes can be seen as a modern POSIX for distributed systems.

In just over 2 years, Kubernetes has grown into a leading system for running scalable, container-packaged, microservices-oriented and dynamically-scheduled distributed workloads anywhere. Some highlights:

  • Single most active GitHub project out of nearly 3,000,000+ open source repositories.
  • Large and thriving industry ecosystem with strong support and integrations across storage, networking, compute, service discovery, monitoring, logging, security and more vendor and OSS offerings.
  • Major backing from leading Linux distributions and platform companies alike: Google, VMware, Microsoft, Canonical, SUSE, Red Hat, Intel, Cisco, IBM, HP and more.
  • An estimated 1,000+ production user companies.

Apprenda has over 10 years of experience working with some of the world’s largest enterprises to deliver container-native capabilities for existing and cloud native applications in scale-out data center environments. Earlier this year, we acquired Kismatic to accelerate the execution of our Kubernetes strategy. Today, we are thrilled to unveil our commercially-supported Kubernetes offering and announce the open sourcing of Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit (KET) — Apprenda’s OSS suite for production Kubernetes operations! The release of KET is on the heels of Apprenda’s extensive contributions to the Kubernetes community in the following areas:

  • Kubernetes Dashboard: Along with Google, Apprenda has co-led the design and development of the native general purpose Web UI for Kubernetes which includes capabilities for administering and managing applications and cluster services from a single pane of glass.
  • Kubernetes on Windows: Apprenda has been leading the work to bring Windows Server to Kubernetes with support for running mixed clusters of Linux and Windows hosts and running applications in Windows Server Containers. We are excited to deliver an alpha build of these capabilities to the Kubernetes community in the 1.5 release slated for early December.
  • Kubernetes Bare Metal SIG: Apprenda has started and leads a new SIG around ensuring that Kubernetes can run reliably and consistently on physical compute environments in enterprise data centers.

KET 1.0.0 is being released today as an Apache 2.0-licensed open source software project hosted on GitHub for anyone to use and contribute to. KET was built by leveraging our deep expertise in the Kubernetes community from inception combined with a decades worth of lessons learned in enterprise cloud to solve the complex problems in production Kubernetes operations. Over the past few months, we have seen an explosion in community-created open source projects to quickly deploy Kubernetes clusters on a variety of cloud providers. However, these offerings fall short in providing an end-to-end solution of best practices and production defaults for enterprise users looking to run on any infrastructure — public or private.

Our goal with KET is to codify the many years of experience we have coupled with rigorous and proven best practices for operating reliable and trusted Kubernetes deployments in the most challenging environments. Since KET is fully open source, we know the community can benefit from an open and actively maintained project that is unlimited, free to use and constantly improving over time in lock-step with Kubernetes itself.

What is Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit (KET)?

KET provides developers and operators an integrated set of tools to automate the design, deployment and operation of production-grade Kubernetes clusters in order to run today’s most in-demand distributed applications and microservices. As the first commercially-supported offering to provide enterprise users with reliable, codified best practices for running trusted Kubernetes platforms in production, KET’s key features include:

  • Simple and intuitive CLI-driven interface for running minimal commands to stand up and operate production-tuned clusters.
  • Kubernetes, the modern POSIX for distributed systems with built-in upstream enterprise-grade security based on LDAP/AD integration and granular RBAC policies.
  • Default set of cluster validation and introspection services, including distributed health checking (Kuberang), cluster pre/post-flight checking (KET Inspector) and the industry standard OSS Dashboard (designed by Apprenda) all capable of running scalable distributed systems.
  • First-class integration with Project Calico, the leading cloud-native SDN control plane for granular microsegmentation, IT policies at Internet-scale security: BGP-based routing + Pure Layer-3 configuration of virtual distributed networks.
  • Highly-scalable support for Linkerd, the resilient service mesh for cloud-native applications, which adds circuit-breaking, request-level routing, fine-grained instrumentation, distributed tracing, and transparent TLS to applications running on KET.
  • Maintained RPM and Debian packages for easy and up-to-date distribution of KET components + deployments behind the enterprise firewall.
  • Rules-driven cluster validation engine for ensuring KET installation dependencies are in order and present for successful deployment.
  • Built-in private container registry allowing cluster operators to deliver distributed services to their organization in a single command.
  • Documented and codified production-tuned recommendations for deploying and running HA/FT Kubernetes clusters.
  • Support for running on major platforms, including:
    • All modern versions of Linux supporting systemd: Red Hat, CentOS, Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian and CoreOS.
    • Private Cloud: Bare Metal, VMware, OpenStack.
    • Public Cloud: AWS, GCE, Azure, Packet.


Launch Quotes


tmlogo_grey“As Ticketmaster continues its strategic transformational journey adopting cloud-native architectures in our migration to the public cloud, we are adopting Kubernetes as the first-class distributed systems abstraction for our application portfolio. Apprenda’s support, guidance and overall counsel along this transformation has been invaluable and we are excited to continue collaboration with them in fostering the vibrant Kubernetes ecosystem and community.” Justin Dean – SVP of TechOps, Ticketmaster

“Kubernetes is the system of choice for us in UK Sky Networks and Apprenda is our go-to partner for ensuring a smooth implementation.”

Nik Zarza
Executive Head of Application Development, Sky



“It’s exciting to see Apprenda make it easy for enterprise customers to run Kubernetes regardless of the platform they are targeting.”

Brendan Burns
Microsoft Azure and co-founder of Kubernetes


“Apprenda has been a leading contributor to the Kubernetes project with their work on Dashboard, Kubernetes support for Windows Server Containers and full .NET workloads, in addition to a variety of impactful community contributions. We’re excited to see their open source release of Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit, as a way to help enterprises get up and running with Kubernetes in production.”

Allan Naim Product Manager, Kubernetes, Google


logo-packet“Apprenda has incredible experience empowering enterprise customers to be more efficient and secure with their mission critical, production workloads. We’re thrilled to see the launch of Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit and are excited to have such a strong option to recommend to our customers for their production Kubernetes deployments.” – Zachary Smith Co-Founder and CEO, Packet


“Enterprise customers depend on Calico to ensure that their Kubernetes deployment is production-ready, with simple, scalable networking that works ‘out of the box’. It has been exciting to collaborate with Apprenda since before our launch and we are thrilled they have chosen Calico as the production default component for networking within their unified enterprise Kubernetes stack.”

Christopher Liljenstolpe
Co-Founder, Tigera


buoyant_logo-padded“By including linkerd in the Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit, Apprenda is delivering their  customers the world’s first production-grade service mesh for Kubernetes, making it easy to design, deploy and reliably operate cloud-native applications in the enterprise data center.”

William Morgan
Co-Founder and CEO, Buoyant

“New cloud-native technologies are growing at an incredibly rapid pace and there’s an explosion of new applications and distributed systems being built. Production-ready tools for managing Kubernetes clusters in all cloud environments like Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit are a valuable asset and pave the way for enterprise adoption of this modern infrastructure.” Dan Kohn Executive Director, Cloud Native Computing Foundation


redmonklogo“As enterprise adoption of Kubernetes continues to grow, teams have struggled to come to grips with the range of potential components in a large scale deployment. With the launch of KET, Apprenda is providing enterprises with a set of recommendations and best practices as code, as well as a choice of provisioning options including bare metal and native Windows Server support, all of which will increase the velocity of Kubernetes growth.” – Fintan Ryan, Industry Analyst, RedMonk


451-research-logoAs container adoption continues to stabilize in the enterprise, we’ve seen significant traction emerging in support of the Kubernetes ecosystem over the past year and a half. However, many challenges remain around enterprise consumption and steep barriers to entry. Following its acquisition of Kismatic, Apprenda is attacking these problems with its Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit. Windows support, as Apprenda has initially added here, is a notable point in easing enterprise consumption.

Dr. Donnie Berkholz
Research Director, 451 Research


idclogo-png“Apprenda’s new Kismatic Enterprise Toolkit (KET) helps organizations design an appropriate Kubernetes cluster and automates their deployment whether it is both behind the firewall or on multiple public clouds. KET aims to solve the biggest pain point and obstacle for Kubernetes users, i.e. setting up a production-ready cluster.” – Larry Carvalho, Research Manager, IDC


Q: Will KET always be open source? I would love to use it, but am concerned it might be proprietary in the future.

Q: How scalable is KET? I have several 500-node Kubernetes clusters and I’d love to better manage them with standard tooling for production operations.

Q: In addition to Kubernetes and Docker, does the commercially-supported KET also cover included OSS systems like Calico and Linkerd?

  • A: Yes! For all default OSS projects we distribute and default to as part of the KET stack, Apprenda commercially supports customers who sign-up for a subscription

Q: Where can I find a roadmap for KET over the coming weeks and months?

Q: How does this change my current Apprenda SLA for OSS Kubernetes?

  • A: We will continue to support existing customers paying for commercially supported Kubernetes from Apprenda. However, we will encourage all current customers to consider using KET to improve the operational stability and consistency of their environments. For new customers, our support will be focused on KET-based subscriptions. For more information, please contact us.

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Sinclair Schuller

Sinclair Schuller is the CEO of Apprenda. Before Apprenda, Sinclair held positions at Morgan Stanley, Eden Communications, and consulted for the State University of New York’s (SUNY) vast IT systems. Sinclair holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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