October 17, 2022

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2022 Q&A: MacStadium Will Showcase Its Orka Platform - Orchestration with Kubernetes on Apple

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Ready for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2022?  Attending the show?  Make sure to visit with MacStadium.

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon takes place October 24 - 28, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan.

Read this exclusive interview between VMblog and Chris ChapmanSenior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at MacStadium.  MacStadium is a private cloud and software-as-a-service leader delivering scalable and secure enterprise cloud solutions exclusively for macOS. The company’s suite of advanced software-enabled infrastructure, combined with its innovative technology, delivers the security, performance, reliability and flexibility its customers require for successful app development on Apple devices. Powered by MacStadium, Orka (Orchestration with Kubernetes on Apple) is the only virtualization layer available for Mac build infrastructure based on Docker and Kubernetes technology.

 

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VMblog:  Can you give VMblog readers a quick overview of your company?

Chris Chapman:  MacStadium is a private cloud and software-as-a-service leader delivering scalable and secure enterprise cloud solutions exclusively for macOS. We exist to serve the need for Mac compute in the enterprise space, particularly for developers. Our suite of advanced software-enabled infrastructure, combined with our innovative technology, delivers the security, performance, reliability and flexibility our customers require for successful app development on Apple devices. Powered by MacStadium, Orka (Orchestration with Kubernetes on Apple) is the only virtualization layer available for Mac build infrastructure based on Docker and Kubernetes technology. MacStadium is P/E backed and has growing operations in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Silicon Valley and Dublin, Ireland. Additional operations are scheduled to come online in Mumbai, India in early 2023. You can follow the Company on social @macstadium or visit macstadium.com.

VMblog:  Your company is sponsoring this year's KubeCon + CloudNativeCon event.  Can you talk about what that sponsorship looks like?

Chris Chapman:  MacStadium is a member of the CNFC and has participated for years in this ecosystem. As sponsors, we are exhibiting at the conference and will be participating in events and sessions.  We are excited to continue to support and be a part of this community.

VMblog:  How can attendees of the event find you?  What do you have planned at your booth this year?  What type of things will attendees be able to do at your booth?

Chris Chapman:  Attendees can visit MacStadium in booth S81 where we will be showcasing our Orka Platform. We'll be hosting QA sessions and solutions consultations with our sales and developers at the booth. We, of course, will have a bit of MacStadium swag for guests to enjoy!

VMblog:  Are you and your company excited for this event to be in person this year in Detroit?  What are your thoughts and expectations for the show?  Are attendees ready to come back in person, in full force?

Chris Chapman:  MacStadium is excited for in-person events to be returning. We attended KubeCon in Valencia earlier in the year and it was an amazing event. We have attended and returned to other live events in our industry in 2022 with great enthusiasm. We expect the KubeCon show to be full of passionate and thoughtful people looking to learn and connect. We look forward to seeing and learning about new and emerging trends in the Kubernetes community and expect to see more great technology. In our opinion, people are more than ready to come back in person. The connections, collaboration, energy, and celebration of live events is simply something that is difficult to replicate virtually and has been sorely missed.

VMblog:  Have you sponsored KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in the past?  If so, what is it about this show that keeps you coming back as a sponsor?

Chris Chapman:  Yes, MacStadium has sponsored KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in the past. We're always excited about being engaged with the Kubernetes community and ecosystem. Our development teams always see and learn a great deal each time we participate in KubeCon. Our booth presence and sponsorship really enable us to reach a broader audience of developers and technologists, and expose us to a wider range of customer needs and experiences for our company.

VMblog:  What do you attribute to the success and growth of this industry?

Chris Chapman:  This Kubernetes ecosystem provides such a wide range of tools and technology that integrate well together and provide a broad and deep impact in the cloud world. It truly standardizes and drives the evolution of what cloud architecture is all about. We believe this, and the broad contribution and inclusiveness of this expanding landscape, continues to drive this industry forward.

VMblog:  Do you have any speaking sessions during the event?  If so, can you give us the details?

Chris Chapman:  No, MacStadium does not have any speaking sessions during this year's event. However, our booth will be fully stocked with our resident experts who love to connect.

VMblog:  What are you personally most interested in seeing or learning at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon?

Chris Chapman:  MacStadium has an interesting and unique take on Kubernetes as we integrate Mac compute and the data center into a single control plane. I'm generally interested in topics around how we can continue to evolve our use case. Specifically, how we can evolve the use of CustomResourceDefinitions (CRDs). I'm always curious to see how containerd is moving along with runtime shims and the most effective strategies on stateful multi-cluster management.

VMblog:  What kind of message will an attendee hear from you this year?  What will they take back to help sell their management team and decision makers?

Chris Chapman:  Attendees will hear us explain the need for Mac in the Kubernetes ecosystem and why it matters to developers to have access to Mac compute in a cloud. They'll understand how the Orka Platform can help with this and what they can do to integrate and empower their development teams to take advantage of this amazing resource with their existing DevOps/GitOps practices.

VMblog:  Can you double click on your company's technologies?  And talk about the types of problems you solve for a KubeCon + CloudNativeCon attendee.

Chris Chapman:  Sure. We bring Mac compute as a cloud service to developers and deliver it with the control plane of Kubernetes. This provides a new type of compute resources and addresses the need of developers and DevOps engineers aiming to modernize their Mac CI/CD. It enables ephemeral builds, scalable resources, and infrastructure-as-code to be applied to the typically non-cloud like Mac set of tools. More critically, it allows Mac resources to be truly cloud enabled, automated and managed by the standard tooling of Kubernetes, which brings automation, observability, and interoperability to these teams.

VMblog:  While thinking about your company's solutions, can you give readers a few examples of how your offerings are unique?  What are your differentiators?  What sets you apart from the competition?

Chris Chapman:  MacStadium is the leading and first of its kind Mac cloud. This means data centers full of actual Mac hardware that act as a cloud. For 10 years, we have delivered Mac infrastructure-as-a service and have established ourselves as the Mac cloud experts. We uniquely address Mac at scale in the enterprise space, which is a huge challenge for those who consistently create applications for Apple products of any kind. MacStadium is unique in that we work closely with Apple's technologies to adapt and deliver secure and scalable enterprise services and solutions. We provide physical infrastructure, virtualization, orchestration, integration, and connectivity to entire DevOps ecosystems. We have the first Kubernetes driven Mac cloud and the first genuine Mac virtual desktop platform. We also provide plugins and integrations for most of the world's CI/CD tools, including GitHub, Jenkins, Gitlab, Tekton and many more. I think overall, our expertise and constant high pace innovation around Mac as a first-class citizen cloud resource, differentiates MacStadium from other collocating or hosting solutions.

VMblog:  Where does your company fit within the container, cloud, Kubernetes ecosystem?

Chris Chapman:  MacStadium is an orchestration and resource management platform. We fall into the private cloud or management category. On the cloud side, we are not multi-tenant due to Apple's EULA so more of a dedicated cloud, which pushes us into a managed Mac-centric Kubernetes control plane on the management side of things.

VMblog:  KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is typically a great venue for a company to launch a new product or an update to an existing product.  Will your company be announcing anything new?  If so, can you give us a sneak preview?

Chris Chapman:  We recently published a major release to fully support Orka virtualization with Kubernetes on Apple's new silicon-based machines. We also recently introduced key observability options with Prometheus and Grafana for better DevOps integration. We are teasing a bit of our roadmap as we work on Orka portability and additional plugin integrations to your existing Kubernetes cluster options as we head into 2023.

VMblog:  Where are we at in 2022 with regard to containers and Kubernetes?  Is there anything still holding it back from a wider distribution?  If so, what is it?  And how do we overcome it? 

Chris Chapman:  We feel like there's been more settling and standardization with regard to containered and Kubernetes. There's certainly a clearer path with Kubernetes and how it interfaces with OCI standards. Things like containerd being driven to wide adoption are making the confusion around previous versions diminish and we feel like there's more consistent interoperability with low- and high-level run times. There's always room for improvement, but in general, continued evolution and standards (CRI) is likely the best way to drive consistency and compatibility, leading to the widest adoption.

VMblog:  Are companies going all in for the cloud?  Or do you see a return back to on-premises?  Are there roadblocks in place keeping companies from going all cloud?

Chris Chapman:  For our customers we see a very big push in continued cloud growth, but there is also a drive toward hybrid and multi-cloud. The pandemic and global supply chain concerns have certainly made on-premise more challenging than ever simply because the prem is distributed, scaled down or closed. I do think there's a big element of control and perceived cost that sometimes inhibits the all-in cloud approach. With premise, especially with IP sensitive or data sensitive companies, there is sometimes a hard security concern around cloud infrastructures, whether that is real or perceived liability. There is also a consideration of tech debt or sunk cost with on-prem that lets companies feel like they need to extend and control the useful life of things. At the end of the day, though, scalability, real security, time to resource, capability, and overall toolsets are far more powerful when companies embrace the cloud.

VMblog:  The keynote stage will be covering a number of big topics, but what big changes or trends does your company see taking shape as we head into 2023?

Chris Chapman:  Efficiency through better DevOps/GitOps is certainly a trend we see now and into next year. This is what many of our customers are striving to achieve with us, but we see the whole transformation of practices, automation, and orchestration to code-driven systems and structures industry-wide. We see a larger cloud adoption trend now that distributed workforces are the norm and access to consistent services everywhere on demand is more important than ever.

VMblog:  Are you giving away any prizes at your booth or participating in any prize giveaways?

Chris Chapman:  We will have branded MacStadium swag in booth S81 and we invite event attendees to stop by and pick up something to commemorate their time spent at KubeCon!

David Marshall

David Marshall has been involved in the technology industry for over 19 years, and he's been working with virtualization software since 1999. He was able to become an industry expert in virtualization by becoming a pioneer in that field - one of the few people in the industry allowed to work with Alpha stage server virtualization software from industry leaders: VMware (ESX Server), Connectix and Microsoft (Virtual Server).

Through the years, he has invented, marketed and helped launch a number of successful virtualization software companies and products. David holds a BS degree in Finance, an Information Technology Certification, and a number of vendor certifications from Microsoft, CompTia and others. He's also co-authored two published books: "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center" and "Advanced Server Virtualization: VMware and Microsoft Platforms in the Virtual Data Center" and acted as technical editor for two popular Virtualization "For Dummies" books. With his remaining spare time, David founded and operates one of the oldest independent virtualization news blogs, VMblog.com. And co-founded CloudCow.com, a publication dedicated to Cloud Computing. Starting in 2009 and continuing all the way to 2016, David has been honored with the vExpert distinction by VMware for his virtualization evangelism.

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