VMblog: Our topic of discussion is centered around Kubernetes. How does your company define it and look at it?
Martez Reed: Kubernetes has become a core platform for running business applications and has transformed the IT strategy for pretty much every large organization in the last few years. Morpheus believes that Kubernetes is one of many options that organizations have for running workloads. This includes bare metal, virtual machines, platform as a service and more. Most enterprises will have a mix of computing types for the foreseeable future, and we believe we are uniquely positioned to help with this hybrid model.
VMblog: For the less-technically knowledgeable business user, how do you describe containers and why they are important?
Reed: To put it simply, containers are a way to run or host applications. Containers are like tablets in that they are small, portable and boot up quickly. They help the user, developers in the case of app development, to be more productive with their time.
VMblog: Are there any drawbacks to containers that people should be aware of?
Reed: Containers provide several benefits but there are drawbacks like any technology or solution. Operating containers at an enterprise scale requires an entire ecosystem of technology solutions, the development of new management workflows and IT staff learning new skills. For most organizations this means having to manage their new containerized workloads one way and their "legacy" workloads using another way that often includes different sets of tools and sometimes IT staff.
VMblog: How might Kubernetes and container tools impact a company's staffing and talent strategy?
Reed: Kubernetes brings with it an entire ecosystem of tools and different patterns for deploying and managing application workloads. This means that organizations must be willing to train IT staff on Kubernetes and containerization or hire staff with previous experience. Part of the challenge organizations face is that it they hire new staff primarily well versed in Kubernetes and containerization then who will manage the "legacy" workloads. This is all in addition to organizations competing to acquire and retain highly coveted IT talent with Kubernetes and containerization skills.
VMblog: Where does your company and product lines fit within the Kubernetes space?
Reed: The Morpheus platform is uniquely positioned given the existing proficiency at managing the lifecycle of workloads and providing a self-service platform for developers. We believe there are three key areas in the Kubernetes space where we provide value. The three areas are the building of Kubernetes clusters, the management of Kubernetes clusters and the deployment of Kubernetes applications. The provisioning or building of Kubernetes clusters has gotten easier but now includes integrating the cluster with dozens of tools after the build. Management of Kubernetes clusters is becoming more complex as organizations are running heterogeneous Kubernetes clusters. Finally, building and deploying Kubernetes applications is still a lot of hassle despite the numerous templating tools that are available.
VMblog: What are the current Kubernetes trends your company is seeing in the market?
Reed: We are seeing an increased need for a way to manage tens or hundreds of Kubernetes clusters with the ability to define security policies, view the health of the clusters and configure clusters in a consistent fashion. Another trend we're seeing a lot is the industry looking for ways to simplify service mesh. Many organizations have adopted Istio but struggle with the complexity of deploying and managing Istio. This is evidenced by the release of several managed service mesh solutions to help address this challenge.
VMblog: How does the popularity of containers and Kubernetes change how enterprises should approach security?
Reed: The popularity and use of containers and Kubernetes place a greater demand on security professionals to understand container and Kubernetes. Containers and Kubernetes are generally managed very differently than the virtual machines that most security professionals have become accustomed to dealing with. There are security controls specifically for containers and Kubernetes, a different management paradigm given the ephemeral nature of containers and a different set of tools for securing containerized workloads.
VMblog: Should a company just run a container platform on bare metal or run it on top of their virtual infrastructure?
Reed: This is similar to the decision organizations have to make when it comes to running any workload. There are typically performance benefits gained from running a container platform on bare metal, but the lifecycle management of bare metal hardware has traditionally been a challenge for most organizations. Running the container platform on top of virtual infrastructure can also provide additional options for a more granular isolation of workloads by running fewer workloads on each Kubernetes cluster or Kubernetes node.
VMblog: Are there things not covered by native Kubernetes features? If so, what are they?
Reed: Kubernetes has an entire ecosystem that augments the native feature set of Kubernetes as evidenced by many of the project on the CNCF landscape chart. Monitoring, logging, security, and authentication are aspects of Kubernetes that have been augmented by an open-source project or vendor product.
VMblog: How are you different from your competitors? Why would someone prefer your offerings to those provided by others in the industry?
Reed: We believe that Morpheus is different from our competitors in that we are able to provide a unified management platform for containers and virtual machines that is easy to get started with. Our time to value is one of our biggest differentiators as organizations can have Morpheus running and integrated in less than an hour. The 90+ native integrations makes this possible as it eliminates the need for additional plugins and complex setups.
VMblog: What does the future of Kubernetes look like? What's ahead?
Reed: The future of Kubernetes will be focused on how to make it easier to build and consume Kubernetes. Kubernetes is being deployed everywhere from retail stores to fighter jets and being able to deploy a cluster quickly and easily will be critical. We're beginning to see abstractions to help simplify the deployment of applications to Kubernetes as well the deployment of apps across different clusters. Ultimately the goal of IT is to provide value to the business through the use of technology. The easier it is to work the technology then the easier it is to meet that goal.