The Kubernetes Project released its first update for 2018, with the project’s increasingly powerful orchestrator gaining a stronger focus on storage, security, and networking as it hits double digits.
Kubernetes 1.10 continues the platform’s now standard three-month update cycle. It also echoes recent updates that some have noted to be “boring” by design.
Stocking the Store
For storage, the project moves the Container Storage Interface (CSI) to beta. This allows for easier installation of new plugins for third-party providers that can be developed outside of the core Kubernetes codebase.
CSI is an API between container orchestrators and storage providers. This allows for a consistent runtime experience regardless of container orchestrator or storage provider used.
Non-shared, local storage management also moved to beta. This allows storage that is not connected to the running network to be available as a persistent volume source, providing better performance and lower cost for distributed file systems and databases.
Persistent volumes can now also be managed to prevent deletion of some content in use by a container pod or connected to another piece of data. This helps maintain the correct order of storage API objects, improves stability, and is seen as an important step toward greater enterprise adoption.
“This is a powerful capability that allows developers to provide highly customized behaviors to Kubernetes clusters that return very different kinds of resources than the core Kubernetes APIs provide,” explained Eric Chiang, senior engineer at CoreOS, in a blog post. “This can be especially valuable for use cases where custom resource definitions (CRDs), the primary Kubernetes extension mechanism, may not be fully featured enough.”
Security and Networking
Security updates include the addition of another extension point with external kubectl credential providers. Kubectl is a command line interface (CLI) for running commands against Kubernetes clusters.
This feature allows cloud providers, vendors, and developers to release binary plugins that can handle authentication for specific cloud-provider identity and access management (IAM) services. It also builds on the Cloud Controller Manager feature added in the last Kubernetes release.
Kubernetes 1.10 also adds CoreDNS as a domain name system provider in beta. CoreDNS is a recently released platform that is becoming a new standard for chaining plugins.
Is Boring Better?
The vendor community applauded the most recent Kubernetes updates as evidence of the ecosystems growing maturity.
“This (release) is more evidence of the reality that Kubernetes is maturing nicely, and that recent releases are not dominated by any single large feature, but are rather built from a steady improvement of many components governed by mostly autonomous teams,” explained Bich Le, chief architect and co-founder of Platform9, in a blog post.
Le’s comments echoed those made by vendors from more recent Kubernetes updates.
“Hopefully … Kubernetes releases will become more and more ‘boring’ over time, as things are in the world of Linux,” noted CoreOS’ Chiang following the 1.9 release late last year. “This will in no way reflect a community that is slowing down, but one that is accelerating and empowering the hundreds developers that already work on Kubernetes. This process of cutting up repos and designing extensibility points is the next frontier for Kubernetes as a project because it’s essential for users to have the flexibility to build on and extend Kubernetes up the stack.”
Kubernetes has hit a certain inflection point where it continues to be viewed externally as a rapidly changing ecosystem, but internally is showing maturity. Just this year, the ecosystem witnessed a number of milestones hitting both points.
It also became the first Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) project to move from “incubation” to “graduation.” This was based on its demonstration of “thriving” adoption; a documented, structured governance process; and a strong commitment to its community.
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.