You all should listen to Smorgasbord1 more, and Tinker and Bert less.
Ugh. As Michael Corleone famously said (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPw-3e_pzqU ) “Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.” This isn’t the way I like to roll.
But, first, let’s all acknowledge ajm101’s predictive ability. On Oct 30 he/she wrote:
Maybe Docker or Heptio gets acquired.
And Heptio got acquired less than a week later! https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/06/vmware-acquires-heptio-the…
And by VMWare, no less! So, what’s going on here?
First, if you don’t understand what I mean with “upstream” then research it or don’t both replying to me.
Well, this is exactly the kind of knowledge-protecting nomenclature I despise. Very simply, “Upstream” refers to the Open Source version, as opposed to the many proprietary variations available (which are commonly known as “Packaged Kubernetes.”
By now, I suspect many of you are head scratching as to what Kubernetes actually is and does, and what all the fuss about “containers” is, etc. If there’s interest and I get some time I’ll see if I can do a high level explanation post. But, for now, just think of Containers as the next technology generation beyond Virtualization (see some of my prior posts here for explanations of that). Basically, where a Virtual Machine encompasses an entire OS (Operating System) that’s isolated form hardware, a Container shares all the read-only parts of the OS with the other Containers on that system. The main advantages being that containers are much smaller than VMs and so they start up way faster, and that direct to hardware capabilities are available without an emulation layer like the hypervisor, and so they run faster, too. Finally, Kubernetes is just one type of management platform for containers, originally developed by Google (second generation of their “Borg” platform).
Here’s a decent summary article on the top players in Kubernetes, at least as of 6 months ago: https://blog.aquasec.com/kubernetes-management-platform-for-…
I think ajm101’s claim that Google and Red Hat are the only two upstream Kubernetes players is inaccurate: Microsoft supports it with their Azure Container Service (AKS) (but that was still in Preview the last time I checked). I’m not sure what the advantage here is, as most enterprises want to pay for the technology they use, if only to be ensured of support for it.
My read is that this is… just about a 100% disaster for NTNX. There (sic) virtualization product is based on KVM, which Red Hat controlled via their Qumranet acquisition years ago.
Well, Nutanix doesn’t care which Hypervisor (Virtual Machine engine) is used. You can use VMWare if you want. What Nutanix did was to take the Open Source KVM and integrate that really well into the rest of their Acropolis platform. KVM is a standard part of the Open Source Linux distribution as of 2007, so I don’t know that it matters who started it. Anyway, if you just want to stand up a lot of servers on premise, using Nutanix’s integrated solution is a really easy way to go. Unless you’re moving existing VMs onto the new systems, I don’t know of a compelling reason to start with anything other than KVM, especially if you’re starting from scratch with a Nutanix system. I’m sure VMWare would say otherwise.
I personally still haven’t figured out the competitive landscape here. Nutanix doesn’t seem to have a strong offering for those who wish to run containers on-premise (and I don’t even know if that’s a desirable thing). This article, Nutanix: The Move From a VM to a Container is Unnatural, a Challenge of New Platforms (https://thenewstack.io/nutanix-the-move-from-a-vm-to-a-conta… ), is interesting in a few ways:
The first wave of virtualization involved taking workloads off of unmanageable physical servers, transporting them onto virtual layers, and then pooling the resources beneath those layers to make virtual machines into devices the size of planets. Well, that was Stage One. Stage Two was moving these virtual machines onto a cloud platform layer that was designed for virtualization. Now, Stage Three involves the retooling of software to become purpose-built for virtualization, so that it “lives” in this new environment, not as a refugee, but rather a native.
It’s telling to me that this “Stage Three” wasn’t described as Containers, although to me that’s clearly to what the author is alluding. But then the article continues:
“I think the move from a VM to a container is a very unnatural, and maybe unnecessary, move,” said Howard Ting, Nutanix’ senior vice president of marketing, in an interview with The New Stack. “But the movement from a VMware hypervisor to a Hyper-V environment, and then to AWS — that’s a very real requirement.”
This was kind of surprising to me. I see enterprises moving from VMs (Virtual Machines) to Containers as a migration that is still taking place, and that new applications will often be written for Containers rather than VMs in many circumstances. As this good article (https://cloudacademy.com/blog/container-virtualization/ )explains:
• Containers, compared to hypervisor virtualization, are more likely to be secure as, by design, their applications are logically restricted to their own environment.
• Containers provide significantly better performance, as they use native, rather than emulated resources.
• Launching a container is much faster than a virtual machine.
• Containers offer better control on underlying resources.
So, if Nutanix is concentrating on supporting VM deployments and isn’t so good at Containers, then that might become an issue if enterprises find they have many Container written applications, even if they want to move those to on premise (moving cloud to on premise is what Nutanix’s main thrust is about).
For me, the whole premise behind Nutanix’s current offerings doesn’t seem compelling. Their future vision of enabling enterprises to easily move applications from cloud to on-premise IS compelling, but they’re still pretty far away from achieving that. And as the main cloud providers add more and more capabilities to their platforms (container management, serverless, etc.), Nutanix has a moving target to achieve. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google all actually want to have lock-in to their services, so their only incentive to standardize is to be able to steal business from each other. If that happens, then perhaps Nutanix can take advantage and be a huge success.
BTW, this was supposed to be a thread about Pivotal and Red Hat. I still see Pivotal as a business that in an ideal world should survive, as it makes the software world a better place, but adopting Pivotal is a very big deal and I don’t see many companies being brave enough to do things like adopt Pair Programming, which Pivotal pushes very hard. I think the people at Pivotal are great at what they do, and I’ve personally drunk their Kool-Aid, but even at my work I don’t attempt such large-scale process overhauls. I think a company has to literally have a couple of failures before they’ll resort to such changes.