Apprenda have announced the offering of a commercial Kubernetes distribution alongside enterprise support subscriptions for running Kubernetes in production. These two offerings have been added to Apprenda’s PaaS portfolio primarily via the acquisition of Kismatic Inc, a company that specialises in the deployment and management of Kubernetes within enterprise organisations.
Apprenda has historically offered cloud-based Platform as a Service (PaaS) targeted at the enterprise market, with a focus on providing the implementation and management of complex organisational policy, and the enforcement of regulatory and compliance guidelines. Kubernetes is an open source cluster management system for automating deployment, operations and scaling of containerised applications. Apprenda are offering tooling related to Kubernetes and its intersection with the existing Apprenda platform, including Kubernetes enterprise plugins for identity access management (e.g. RBAC/LDAP/Active Directory), Kerberos authentication, and auditing for regulated industries and applications.
Apprenda launched their PaaS offering in 2007, which initially only supported Microsoft .NET-based applications. In 2013 support for Java-based applications was also added. Early this year Apprenda announced it would build Kubernetes support for Windows Server and .NET, and this will be a continued focus with the offering of a commercial distribution of Kubernetes.
InfoQ spoke to Sinclair Schuller, CEO and co-founder of Apprenda, and asked for the motivations behind the integration of Kubernetes with their current PaaS offerings.
We chose to offer Kubernetes [in comparison with other cluster managers] primarily because of three reasons: (1) the Kubernetes platform is lightweight and offers great developer primitives that follow a PaaS-like pattern; (2) The pedigree of the platform is solid – Kubernetes’ DNA is rooted in lessons learned by the Google team that ran applications in datacenters at a massive scale; and (3) the community around Kubernetes is fantastic. The Kismatic team have been heavily involved with this, and have also organised events such as KubeCon.
The integration of a technology like Kubernetes, often described as ‘Containers as a Service (CaaS)’, with a PaaS offering is not necessary simple, and the organisational and process changes required for delivering and managing containerised applications are non-trivial. Schuller stated that one of the key questions being asked within the software development industry is “how can IT establish policy for application developers?”. This may be well-understood in the PaaS market, but is less clear in the current CaaS space.
Schuller suggested that PaaS typically offers rich feature sets to allow IT governance and compliance to be applied across applications being developed by thousands of developers. However, CaaS is often concerned with only the orchestration of applications and the associated containers.
Our view of the world is that there is a separation between technologies that are used to deploy and manage applications – this is PaaS – and technologies that get containers onto the fabric that runs the containers – this is CaaS. Integrating Kubernetes into the Apprenda stack provides the benefits of both options.
The acquisition of Kismatic also enables Apprenda to offer support subscriptions that provide Kubernetes users with guaranteed SLAs for production and non-production Kubernetes instances, and also professional services to define and extend cloud migration/implementation work that is related to containers and Kubernetes. Patrick Reilly, CEO and founder of Kismatic and governing board member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), will become Apprenda’s corporate CTO and lead its Kubernetes strategy.