Google really wants you to try out its managed Kubernetes service. In driving that point home, the company has eliminated the cluster management fee for its Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), regardless of the number of clusters being managed.
Aparna Sinha, group product manager at Google, in a blog post said the company would no longer charge the $0.15 per hour fee to manage a cluster with more than six nodes. The company had previously not charged – and continues to not charge – for clusters with less than six nodes or for the managed master. The managed master is a virtual machine (VM) that acts as a control plane.
“At Google, we’ve found that larger clusters are more efficient — especially when running multiple workloads,” Sinha wrote. “So if you were hesitating to create larger clusters, worry no more and scale freely.”
The managed GKE service includes the master VM with automatic scaling, upgrading, back up, and security. Customers can also elect for automatic repairs, upgrades, and scaling of their entire cluster.
“Depending on the size of your cluster, moving to Kubernetes Engine could save a decent fraction of your total bill just by saving the cost of the master,” Sinha explained.
Customers are still charged for each node in a cluster based on its resource size and length of use on a per-second basis with a one minute minimum usage cost.
Sinha also noted that Google is offering a preview for a cluster management feature that provisions the type of node in an autoscaling cluster based on the observed behavior of the workload.
Different features and functions make it difficult for direct comparisons between container providers.
Microsoft recently adjusted pricing for its managed Kubernetes service to only charge for the VMs that the Kubernetes clusters are running on and not for the actual cluster management.
Google’s Cloud Ambitions
Google’s cloud ambitions have shown significant growth over the past year. A recent Synergy Research Group report found the company had nearly doubled quarterly revenues tied to cloud services between mid-2016 and the middle of this year. It also increased its market share from 4 percent to 5 percent over the same time period.
However, Google continues to lag behind larger rivals AWS, Microsoft Azure, and IBM in total market share. The SRG report noted AWS controlled 34 percent of the global market share at the mid-year mark, Microsoft was a distant No. 2 with 11 percent market share, and IBM accounted for 8 percent market share.
Kubernetes was originally developed by Google through its Borg platform, before being spun-off into the open source community under its current title in 2015. Kubernetes now resides under the Linux Foundation’s Cloud Native Computing Foundation arm.
Recent reports have shown Kubernetes controlling more than 70 percent of the container orchestration market. This far outpaces other platforms such as Docker Swarm and Mesosphere.
Despite the dominance, analysts have noted that moving Kubernetes into a production environment remains a challenge for many organizations. This has led to a growing number of “enterprise” and managed platforms like GKE that attempt to remove deployment hurdles.
Jay Lyman, principal analyst for cloud management and containers at 451 Research, recently told SDxCentral that his company’s surveys have shown most enterprises are interested in training their existing staff on Kubernetes, with about half also looking to tap into outside vendors and consultants.
“Most can’t hire an army of IT people and really couldn’t afford them if they could find them,” Lyman said. “There are options out there for companies looking to use Kubernetes. It’s just a matter of finding a partner that you can be comfortable with to help gain confidence in using Kubernetes.”