GitLab has partnered with Google to support automated container cluster deployments using Kubernetes.
The native Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) integration allows users to connect their current managed Google container account into GitLab. That integration then allows for the automatic creation of Kubernetes-managed clusters that are fully managed by Google and run on Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
GitLab’s Auto DevOps feature can configure the continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) pipeline to build, test, verify, and deploy application code using a best-practice template. This relies on a Kubernetes deployment environment, which with the new Google integration adds automated setup and configuration of Kubernetes clusters.
Sid Sijbrandij, CEO and co-founder of GitLab, said the integration smooths what is still a difficult process in terms of running Kubernetes in a production environment.
“We make it much easier to do development and ops on top of Kubernetes,” Sijbrandij explained. “Google is making sure you have a stable container-as-a-service platform. We bring along DevOps tools that work across that platform.”
GitLab had been offering a channel for deploying Kubernetes, but that process required manual control. Sijbrandij said that was often outside of the skillset and capabilities of enterprise IT departments.
“The community is doing an amazing job to make Kubernetes easier to work with,” Sijbrandij said. “But to run dev and ops you have to become cloud native. You have to adopt a new way for packaging. That’s a significant amount of work and a struggle for most organizations. And we can help. Just push the code to Gitlab and we have done all of the work.”
Google last month launched a similar automation tool for developers looking to use Kubernetes to orchestrate enterprise applications. That tool, dubbed Skaffold, allows developers to more closely mirror production methods within an enterprise. It does this by allowing developers to work on application source code in their local environment. That code can then be updated and ready for validation and testing in the developer’s local or remote Kubernetes clusters.
GitLab itself is an online Git repository manager. Git is a platform where users can create software projects, offering management of code and a collaboration channel.
GitLab hosts those software projects for free, but also offers its own software platform that takes in contributions from the Git community. The firm has more than 1,900 members that have contributed to projects.
This support has also allowed GitLab to grow from its initial focus on just version control of projects to providing complete DevOps lifecycle management. Sijbrandij said GitLab was the only single application that handles the entire DevOps lifecycle, from planning, to verification, packaging, and release in a single application.
GitLab pushes out a new release every month, which typically includes at least two major components and dozens of smaller updates. The platform is designed to run on top of a traditional Kubernetes distributor like CoreOS.
Sijbrandij explained that GitLab offers a free community version of its software platform . Customers wanting more support can sign up for an enterprise version that includes extra features.
The support for Kubernetes comes at a critical time for enterprise adoption. Surveys indicate strong enterprise interest in using Kubernetes to help manage container deployments, but deployment challenges remain.
A recent Redmonk survey found 71 percent of the Fortune 100 use containers, and more than 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies use Kubernetes as their container orchestration platform. The research firm noted that as of the first quarter of this year, “Kubernetes is arguably the most visible of core infrastructure projects.”
“Kubernetes has gone from curiosity to mainstream acceptance, crossing any number of chasms in the process,” wrote Redmonk co-founder Stephen O’Grady in a blog post. “The project has been successful enough that even companies and projects that have competing container implementation strategies have been compelled to adopt it.”
Kamesh Pemmaraju, vice president of product management at ZeroStack, recently noted that enterprises are challenged in deploying containers across diverse cloud infrastructures. This includes companies running cloud operations across private cloud, public cloud, and bare metal deployments.
“In this situation, automating infrastructure deployment, setting up, configuring, and upgrading Kubernetes to work consistently is not going to be easy,” Pemmaraju explained.
A number of Kubernetes distributors have attempted to tackle this complexity with hosted or managed service platforms designed to ease deployments. However, the Kubernetes community itself also has a deep-seated method of figuring out solutions on its own that are then inserted back into the community through open source channels. These might still require a bit more legwork, but that chasm is closing.