Tigera is adding new features to its Calico container networking product in an attempt to ease Kubernetes-based management and hit enterprise-grade needs.
The boldly named Essentials for Kubernetes product is the firm’s first commercial packaged platform. The product is specifically targeted at management of the container networking space, which includes a set of interfaces for adding and removing containers from a network.
Tigera CEO Ratan Tipirneni explained that enterprises looking to deploy containers are struggling with connectivity challenges. These prevent them from being able to scale their container deployments into carrier-grade production environments.
“There are tons of problems around connectivity issues for cloud,” Tipirneni said. “It’s like a water balloon where one problem is fixed and then other problems are coming up in other parts. Application developers have to deal with these issues, and that’s what we are looking to solve.”
Specifically, the challenge is with microservices that are talking to each other in real time over application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be anywhere thanks to virtualization.
Essentials for Kubernetes includes a policy query utility that allows confirmation of security policies for container deployments; a policy audit mode to make sure policies act as programmed by tapping into traffic analytics; and a policy violation alert to inform managers of “anomalous application behavior or intruder activity.”
“The Feedback we have received is that as enterprises look to move to production and to scale to thousands of container clusters, there are problems showing up in operations,” Tipirneni said. “They need a lot more tools, software, and automation to handle management of these connections and to turn them into production.”
Tigera is targeting a handful of connectivity platforms, including Container Networking Interface (CNI), its own Calico offer, Flannel, and Istio.
Tigera has been a proponent of CNI, with Tipirneni explaining the firm’s history of contributing to the standard.
CNI was initially proposed by CoreOS to define a common interface between network plugins and container execution. It has limited responsibility over network connectivity of containers, and it removes allocated resources when the container is deleted.
CNI gained steam in May when the Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) announced plans to support CNI as a common interface industry standard. The move came despite a lack of support from Docker Inc., which has its own Container Network Model (CNM) virtual network overlay.
Kubernetes, which came out of work at Google, early on moved to support CNI, citing design challenges with CNM. With Kubernetes continuing to gain traction, some feel CNI is set for broader adoption.
“Since CNCF is backed by a large number of companies in this space, it’s very likely that CNI will become the de facto standard for container networking,” wrote Nuage Networks’ Harmeet Sahni in a recent blog post.
Tigera is also a supporter of the Istio platform that launched earlier this year. That project includes backing from Google, Lyft, and IBM among others. It’s focused on open source management of microservices.
The Essentials platform follows up on Tigera’s Project Calico initiative that was the basis for its launch early last year. That formation came from the combination of open source projects from CoreOS and Metaswitch into Tigera’s Calico container networking product.
Tigera also made it clear that it’s very focused on the connectivity issues around container management. This includes working with ecosystem vendors tackling other container management challenges like CoreOS, Heptio, Red Hat, Apprenda, and Canonical.
“Connectivity is one sub-problem in the bigger ecosystem space that we are taking on,” Tipirneni said, acknowledging there might be some similarities to other management tools on the market. “We want to be very focused on that.”
Heptio, for instance, last week launched a pair of open source projects designed to assist the deployment and management of Kubernetes container orchestration. And just this week, Codefresh unveiled a Kubernetes-based container “quick-start integration” product for deploying into Google Container Engine (GKE).
Moving ahead, Tipirneni said Tigera plans to release software updates, with the company having “a good backlog of ideas we have built.”
“The plan is to help customers take these Kubernetes-based applications to deployment and then help them from deployment to production,” Tipirneni said. “But, we want to be disciplined and not spread ourselves too thin.”