Open Source Summit Europe 2017: Microsoft and Docker Increase Support for Kubernetes, but Will AWS Follow Suit?

C. Drake

• Major themes at this year’s Open Source Summit Europe included the continued ascendency of Kubernetes, and the flood of new companies joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

• Following AWS’s decision to join the CNCF many now expect Amazon to start making it easier to run Kubernetes on its infrastructure.

This year’s Open Source Summit Europe – the second such summit to be held in Europe – brought together over 2,000 developers, operators and other IT professionals in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The major themes of the Summit included the continued ascendency of Kubernetes, which has risen to prominence as the most popular orchestration platform for deploying and managing containerized applications. Other themes included the flood of new companies joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), one of several organizations the supported by the Linux Foundation. The CNCF serves as a neutral home for collaboration between vendors and end users and is dedicated to promoting an open source software stack for container orchestration and management. Established in 2015 by founding members that included Google, IBM, Intel and VMware, the CNCF has since seen a steady stream of high-profile cloud companies joining its ranks, with relatively recent members including Microsoft, Oracle, Alibaba, SAP and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The CNCF oversees and supports several open source projects, including Kubernetes. Recent months have seen the announcement of new support for Kubernetes from a growing number of vendors. They include Microsoft, who on October 24th announced the preview of Azure Container Service, a new managed Kubernetes service that’s designed to make it easier to manage and operate Kubernetes environments without sacrificing portability. Just one week earlier, Docker announced native support for Kubernetes in a move that should make it much easier for its customers to use the technology. Although Docker will continue to offer its own orchestration tool, Docker Swarm, the decision to introduce native support for Kubernetes is a direct acknowledgement of its widespread popularity. Docker will allow its customers to select which orchestration engine they use, whether Swarm or Kubernetes, at run time, without any need to alter code.

Although Kubernetes can already be used on AWS instances, it remains hard to set up and run on Amazon’s cloud platform. Furthermore, Amazon has its own alternative to Kubernetes (its ECS solution). Nevertheless, with AWS having now joined the CNCF – and with the growing popularity of Kubernetes showing no signs of abating – many now expect Amazon to start making it easier to run Kubernetes on its infrastructure. This would go some way towards helping Amazon manage ongoing accusations that it locks customers into its own infrastructure. Obviously, it’s not in Amazon’s interest to be continually perceived as an industry bad guy. At the same time, the hyperscale cloud provider faces pressure from its customers, many of which are already using Kubernetes and other open-source technologies, and from rival hyperscalers, Microsoft and Google, both of which provide strong backing for Kubernetes. Ultimately, Amazon may adopt a similar sort of model to the one being introduced by Docker, where Kubernetes is made easier to run on AWS but offered in addition to Amazon’s ECS container platform.

About Chris Drake
As Principal Analyst for Data Center Technology at Current Analysis, Chris is responsible for covering the emerging technologies that are remapping the traditional data center landscape. These include software and hardware products that are required to support public, private and hybrid cloud architectures, as well as the underlying virtualization and orchestration technology that is needed to enable process automation and workload management. He also covers the Converged Infrastructure market, with a focus on the latest generations of vendor pre-certified and optimized hardware/software stacks.

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