The Kubernetes 1.9 update will be included in GKE as part of an early access program. Palak Dalal, product manager at Google, noted in a blog post that the update will include greater support for stateful and stateless applications; hardware accelerator support for machine learning workloads; and storage enhancements.
“Overall, this release achieves a big milestone in making it easy to run a wide variety of production-ready applications on Kubernetes without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure,” Dalal wrote.
The Kubernetes Project released the 1.9 update last month, maintaining a schedule to roll out a new iteration every three months. The update focuses on networking options; extending APIs without impacting workflow; and the use of Webhook plugins for authentication and authorization with policy engines.
Kubernetes 1.9 has fewer features than other versions rolled out last year, which was attributed to wanting to get the release out before the holiday season.
“Rather than adding new features to ‘core,’ much of the current work involves refactoring the Kubernetes code base so that it is less monolithic,” explained Eric Chiang, senior engineer at CoreOS, in a blog post on the release. “This effort has the dual purposes of making sub-projects easier to consume and maintain and to improve the extensibility of Kubernetes itself.”
Google’s support of the latest Kubernetes iteration is not a surprise as the container orchestration platform originated within Google’s Borg platform. Google spun off the platform into the open source community in 2015. The Kubernetes Project currently resides underneath the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).
Google’s support for Kubernetes could become more critical as its cloud rivals begin throwing more support behind the container platform.
Google remains a smaller player in the overall cloud space behind rivals Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft. A Synergy Research Group (SRG) report from the middle of last year found Google had 5 percent worldwide market share, compared with AWS’ 34 percent and Microsoft’s 11 percent market share.
While Google remains one of the most aggressive in terms of integrating Kubernetes-specific updates, AWS and Microsoft have also increased their support for Kubernetes. And, a CNCF survey found AWS extending its lead over Google in terms of platforms used to support container deployments.
Beyond being quick on integrating the latest Kubernetes update, Google is also playing a pricing game. The company late last year eliminated the GKE cluster management fee regardless of the number of clusters being managed.