Google added an “Advanced” version of its managed Kubernetes Engine (GKE) platform as it more aggressively targets the lucrative enterprise space. The latest update includes a focus on service level agreements (SLAs), automation, security, monitoring, and serverless.
The newly dubbed GKE Advanced platform provides for a “financially backed” SLA that guarantees availability of at least 99.95% for regional clusters. This targets mission-critical applications that enterprises might have been reluctant to entrust to public cloud platforms.
For automation, GKE Advanced includes Google’s Vertical Pod Autoscaler (VPA) that monitors and manages CPU and RAM resource usage, and the Node Auto Provisioning tool that uses an enhanced version of Cluster Autoscaling to manage cluster resources.
To help monitor enterprise usage, GKE Advanced has a metering feature that breaks down a cluster’s resource usage by Kubernetes namespaces and labels. These can then be linked to specific customers or enterprise departments.
The platform also includes the GKE Sandbox, which is a lightweight container runtime based on Google’s open source gVisor container runtime. This adds a second layer of security at the pod layer without needing to change code or configuration settings. The new update also includes Binary Authorization that uses container images from signed, trusted sources during the build and test process.
GKE Advanced also includes the recently launched Cloud Run managed serverless platform. Cloud Run on GKE is built on the Knative open API runtime environment that was introduced last summer by Google, Pivotal, IBM, Red Hat, and SAP. It has since garnered attention as a way to manage and migrate serverless-based applications across cloud platforms.
GKE Advanced will be released before mid-year with initial access available through a free trial. Google will continue to offer its less-intensive legacy GKE platform as GKE Standard.
Larry Carvalho, research director for IDC’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) practice, recently told SDxCentral that Google has been challenged in garnering trust in its cloud platform from risk-averse enterprise customers. In relation to Google’s push of its Cloud Services Platform into beta earlier this year, he noted that those customers “do not take risks and Google needs to prove success quickly while in beta before they get a broad intake of customers.”
The GKE Advanced update comes a week after Google hosted its annual Cloud Next event. The big news from that show was the launch of its Anthos hybrid-cloud platform (formerly known as Cloud Services Platform), which is based on Kubernetes and fully managed by Google. It runs on premises and supports multiple clouds including AWS and Azure.
Anthos is viewed by many as a stronger push by Google to infiltrate the enterprise market.
Google has touted increased usage of its GKE platform, but the latest update – along with the Anthos launch – shows a more aggressive push into the lucrative enterprise space where it trails larger rivals Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft.
That aggressiveness is warranted. A recent Rightscale enterprise survey found that 48 percent of enterprises use Kubernetes to manage their container deployments. That usage was nearly double the 27 percent of enterprises that were using the platform a year ago.
However, that survey had GKE as the seventh most-used container tool by those enterprises surveyed, and Google Cloud more broadly well behind AWS and Microsoft Azure in total usage.