IBM is now offering native Kubernetes support through a managed service model running on bare metal cloud infrastructure. The move allows organizations to eek out higher performance from their container deployments.
Jason McGee, vice president and CTO for IBM’s cloud platform, said in a blog post the support will boost efforts for companies in need of high computing performance. This includes large machine learning workloads and sensitive datasets that require isolated servers.
The managed service support will include automatic updating, managed scaling, and built-in security features.
“This gives developers greater control over where their workloads reside and enables them to isolate workloads to specific servers,” McGee wrote. “It equips teams with all of the benefits of a fully managed container service combined with the performance and security of bare metal.”
McGee noted that IBM was the “first major cloud provider” to offer Kubernetes support on bare metal infrastructure and not just in a cloud environment. A recent Synergy Research Group report had IBM as the No. 3 cloud provider worldwide in terms of market share, behind Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, but ahead of Google Cloud.
A number of smaller Kubernetes distributors offer bare metal support that can run on cloud platforms. These include the likes of CoreOS and Ubuntu.
Bare metal deployments don’t use typical virtual machines (VMs) that are part of cloud deployments to house containers. This allows for better performance as there is no speed overhead lost to running a VM. A number of organizations that operate in the high-performance computing (HPC) world have cited the speed hit of using containers in a cloud environment as detrimental to some of their work.
McGee also said IBM was working on providing applications built with Kubernetes to directly access graphical processing units (GPUs). This would allow for potentially even higher performance for both bare metal and cloud deployments.
The bare metal support will slide into IBM’s current Cloud Container Service. The platform allows for management of Kubernetes clusters or Docker single and scalable containers.
IBM initiated Kubernetes support in its Cloud Container Service last May. The move combined the container orchestrator with IBM’s already established support for Docker-based containers. IBM in December expanded that support to its isolated cloud environment.
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