The spread of Kubernetes across the cloud ecosystem is taking a playful turn as Google unveiled the Agones open source project that uses the container orchestrator to host and scale dedicated game servers.
The project, which is under development with interactive gaming company Ubisoft, is built on top of Kubernetes. This provides an open source option using established Kubernetes tools and coding for gaming servers that typically run on proprietary software.
(In case it matters, Agones is Greek for “contest” or “gathering.”)
Agones is designed to replace the proprietary cluster management and game server scaling platform typically used. The replacement is a Kubernetes cluster that includes a custom controller and matching API resources.
Developers can use Kubernetes to create, run, manage, and scale dedicated game server processes within Kubernetes clusters and using standard Kubernetes tools and APIs. This also allows for the services that connect players to interact directly with Agones through the Kubernetes API to provision a dedicated game server.
Agones can manage starting the game server process, assign it to a public port for access, and retrieve the IP address and port so players can connect. It can also track the lifecycle and health of the configured game server using a software development kit (SDK) that is integrated into the game server process code.
The new platform allows for a dedicated game server to be built into a container image similar to the current Kubernetes model. This includes the ability to run game workloads in on-premises machines, or in a cloud environment using Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).
“Agones helps by providing us with the flexibility to run dedicated game servers in optimal data centers and by giving our teams more control over the resources they need,” explained Carl Dionne, development director for Ubisoft’s online technology group, in a statement.
Agones is not yet running any actual game servers, but work is underway to add support for Microsoft Windows, game server statistic collection and display, and node autoscaling.
It’s no surprise that Google is looking to use the Kubernetes platform as a way to enter the multi-billion online gaming market. The container orchestration platform was initially seeded by Google’s Borg Project before being donated to the open source community.
Since then, Kubernetes has flourished as the go-to platform for orchestrating container platforms in cloud environments.
The Kubernetes Project currently sits at No. 9 on Github in terms of overall commitments, and No. 2 for authors/issues, trailing only Linux.
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.”
The Kubernetes Project earlier this month was also the first project to “graduate” from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation‘s (CNCF’s) school of hosted projects. Kubernetes was the first pet project taken under the wing of CNCF when it formed in mid-2015.
“It signals that Kubernetes is mature as an open source project and resilient enough to manage containers at scale across any industry, in companies of all sizes,” explained CNCF COO Chris Aniszczyk, in a statement.
As seen with the Agones release, that level of adoption has allowed the platform to branch out beyond its initial roots.
For instance, AT&T has said it plans to use Kubernetes to power the next generation of its AT&T Integrated Cloud (AIC) platform. The AIC currently uses OpenStack, but the carrier said Kubernetes will add agility and remove cost from running the AIC platform.
“The target is for us to have our next-generation AIC that we deploy … leverage [Kubernetes] as a foundation of our platform,” said Ryan van Wyk, assistant vice president of cloud platform development at AT&T. “For our future AIC deployments, both the OpenStack and non-OpenStack components that make up our cloud will run on top of Kubernetes. This is not just an experiment.”
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