Why it takes Kubernetes to succeed with virtualization today

Michelle Yakura - January 12, 2023
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It might sound contradictory to hear that you need Kubernetes container orchestration to effectively virtualize infrastructure. After all, VMs and containers abstract hardware resources in different ways. While VMs abstract an entire computer, containers abstract only the software layers above the operating system. Also, haven’t VMware and OpenStack been virtualizing infrastructure for years, before Kubernetes even became so popular? 

The truth is that although many organizations have benefited from adopting VMware or OpenStack, they each have key disadvantages, which you can now overcome with Kubernetes — and we don’t mean replacing VMs with containers. 

By using Kubernetes to deploy containerized OpenStack, you can eliminate many of the longstanding challenges of infrastructure virtualization, and finally support your virtualized workloads with a cloud infrastructure solution based on open source technologies that greatly improves resiliency, scalability, and ease of configuration and upgrades. 

And of course by using Kubernetes, you’ll also be able to provision clusters for other existing or future containerized workloads you may have, thus delivering a truly versatile cloud infrastructure solution for both monolithic and cloud native applications, unified on a single platform.

Today, we’ll explain how Kubernetes solves the historical issues that have dogged VMware and OpenStack and how it can be the basis of a future-proof solution that efficiently manages infrastructure operations for all your legacy and cloud native workloads.

Disadvantages of VMware and traditional OpenStack

VMware and OpenStack have had an enormous impact on how companies deliver IT infrastructure resources, but they also have had distinct disadvantages for business and technical reasons. 

Most enterprises are well aware of the high cost of VMware — commonly known as the vTax — and the company’s planned acquisition by Broadcom has already led to significant price hikes for many customers. VMware also uses proprietary software and APIs, so you’ll face vendor lock-in that both compels you to purchase other VMware products and prevents you from moving workloads to other providers. Also, developers can’t provision their own environments, as they need to make a request to their vSphere admin, often a slow and manual process.

OpenStack solves many of the key concerns you may have with VMware. It gives you a more cost-effective Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution based on open source software that supports developer self-service provisioning and doesn’t confine you with vendor lock-in. OpenStack, however, historically has been challenging to deploy and operate, and IT operators have found it difficult to configure and scale resources. Upgrades have been painful and sometimes require costly downtime.

The solution: Kubernetes as a foundation for OpenStack

Kubernetes basks in the limelight of the IT world, and rightly so, because it makes building and running complex applications far simpler. It runs anywhere, scales gracefully, and updates seamlessly without disrupting your applications and services. 

Gone are the nightmares of forklift upgrades that took days or weeks to complete — Kubernetes automates updates, rolling in changes incrementally to ensure zero downtime. Self-healing capabilities can automatically respawn workloads on available capacity when failures occur. By containerizing OpenStack and deploying it with Kubernetes, you can have peace of mind that your clusters are robust and resilient for mission-critical applications.

Plus, Kubernetes makes OpenStack clusters easy to scale up or down for changes in customer demand. It removes much of the operational burden of OpenStack by automating tasks like provisioning and scaling. By replacing manual tasks with automated efficiency, you can save time, respond faster to changing conditions, and save costs by rooting out idle resources. 

You’ll also have the freedom to configure environments to match the exact needs of your workloads. Kubernetes supports what’s known as declarative configuration, which automatically updates configurations to provide whatever end state you need. It’s configured through YAML files, which offer much greater flexibility than command lines, while also giving your fingers a rest from all the tedious typing.

Holistic infrastructure operations for all your applications

Whether you already have cloud native applications or are still planning how to modernize, deploying OpenStack on Kubernetes means you can streamline cloud infrastructure operations for all your legacy and containerized applications. 

For example, Mirantis OpenStack for Kubernetes is a private cloud infrastructure platform used by customers such as Inmarsat and Netskope. It is deployed, monitored, and managed by Mirantis Container Cloud, which efficiently brings together cloud infrastructure operations for both containerized and virtualized applications. Mirantis can deliver it all to you through OpsCare Plus managed services, so your technical staff can get out of managing infrastructure and focus on delivering customer-facing applications that help your business grow.

To learn more, sign up for our webinar, Is your next-gen virtualized infrastructure actually cloud native?, happening Thursday, January 19 at 12pm PST.

And if you’d like to get your hands dirty, you can get started with a free trial today.

WEBINAR // THURSDAY, JANUARY 19

Is your next-gen virtualized infrastructure actually cloud native?