VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Google is adjusting operational ties with the Kubernetes project that will further the container orchestration platform’s ability to mature in the open source ecosystem under the watch of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The announcement was made this morning at the Open Source Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Tim Hockin, principal software engineer at Google Cloud and co-lead of the Kubernetes project, said the company has begun the process of moving the day-to-day operations for Kubernetes to CNCF. This includes operational tasks for the development of Kubernetes such as testing and builds and maintenance and operations for the distribution of Kubernetes.
Kubernetes was the first pet project taken under the wing of CNCF when it formed in mid-2015. The container orchestration platform was donated by Google to CNCF, having emerged from Google’s Borg project. It has since been hosted on and will continue to be hosted on Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
Hockin noted that Google’s ties to the Kubernetes project had led to “some friction of those not wanting to be tied to Google or on its time schedule.”
“We acknowledge that,” Hockin said.
Hockin explained that internal Google policies had prevented the ability to add non-Google employees to deal with some of the management. “The resources have since grown to now we have the people in the community wanting to manage these resources,” he added.
Hockin said he expects the management group to be more than the half-dozen people currently on the project, but likely less than 25 people in total. This will include potentially members from rival public cloud providers. “It can’t be a free-for-all so we have this community of people that want to help manage these things,” he said.
Dan Kohn, executive director at CNCF, said he expects the move to be seamless to Kubernetes users. “My hope is that regular Kubernetes users won’t notice this at all,” Kohn said. He added that it was also “some acknowledgement that Google has been committing to the process in the back end,”
Google’s Guiding Hand
Along with moving greater control to CNCF, Google is also donating $9 million in GCP credits over the next three years to cover the infrastructure costs associated with Kubernetes development and distribution. This includes running the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines and providing the container image download repository.
The Kubernetes container registry hosted by Google last month served more than 129 million container image downloads of core Kubernetes components. Those container images are used to construct running containers. And, Kubernetes scalability testing typically runs 150,000 containers across 5,000 virtual machines (VMs).
“This move will make it more transparent and show where the costs are going,” Hockin said of the transfer. “That is difficult today because of the entanglement with Google.”
A Redmonk survey from last year found 71 percent of the Fortune 100 organizations 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.”
Open Source Accolades
Kohn said the move was in parallel to the recent “graduation” of Kubernetes within CNCF. “This is now a parallel piece of doing the same for the infrastructure of the software development,” he explained.
The Prometheus container monitoring platform earlier this month joined Kubernetes as a CNCF graduate. That pairing was appropriate as the two projects were the first to join CNCF.
Graduation status means a project has met CNCF’s list of criteria. This includes demonstration of “thriving” adoption; a documented, structured governance process; and a strong commitment to its community.