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Private Cloud Kubernetes for the Enterprise – Done Easily

Bryce Cracco

We are excited to announce NKS on VMware, regardless of infrastructure, at VMworld 2019!  Matt Baldwin did a great blog unpacking that announcement, including why we are doing it and the most significant functionality for our VMware based customers.  NetApp Kubernetes Service (NKS) has been rapidly gaining adoption in the public cloud recently, for all the reasons Matt Baldwin identified in his blog, including single pane management of multicloud deployments, application management features, infrastructure and ecosystem integrations – all via a really slick, simple interface that anyone (even me) can immediately understand!  Going forward, with on premises functionality via VMware added, I am sure this is going to be a HUGE tool for managing containers across clouds.

So… if it’s so great… how should you get going with NKS on VMware?  And, how can you make it the centerpiece of a broader, comprehensive, and fully supported private cloud infrastructure, complete with hybrid cloud integration pieces?  After all, modern software development organizations demand cloud native environments – they want to be able to push code to their private cloud just the same as the public cloud, and they want to be able to do it right now, without compromises.  Public cloud container orchestration functionality for developers on the private cloud?  How does IT support this?  Easy – NetApp HCI!

Private cloud is challenging due to the diversity of workloads it must typically support – beyond just supporting containers for dev, a private cloud usually has to consolidate a bunch of other workloads, pragmatically speaking.  You need to run your back-office systems, your legacy apps… and crucially you have to be able to do modern application development.  You have to do all these things, managing any contentions between them, without undue burden on either the IT or dev organizations.  NetApp HCI seems like a great starting point for such a flexible consolidation infrastructure platform.  So, we’ve engineered new functionality into NetApp HCI to leverage and expand upon core functionality of NKS on VMware, making NKS a cloud native control plane for your comprehensive private cloud environment.

How? NKS on NetApp HCI offers a managed experience.  NKS, itself, is a fully managed and hosted service by NetApp, meaning that our customers don’t have to be bothered with standing up and managing their own control plane – users just log in.  But, at the same time, NKS on HCI is a real private cloud because both the data plane and the Kubernetes environment its self run on-premises using the storage and compute resources provided by NetApp HCI.  (By the way, you could actually quit using NKS later and still have your containers running, if you chose – no vendor lock in here!  Of course, we bet you won’t want to!)  Unique to the NetApp HCI implementation of NKS, the on-premises bits that must run locally on the NetApp HCI are installed, maintained, and managed remotely by NetApp – app store style.  Under the hood, there’s some unique functionality that makes this really simple for IT:

NetApp provides a simple way to layer services on top of both new and existing NetApp HCI systems.  Soon, when you use Hybrid Cloud Control to manage setup of your NetApp HCI, you will be able to simply select appropriate deployment options to not only pre-install the VMware / vSphere pieces, but also automatically spin up VMs with the prerequisite software on top of VMware for NKS to just work.  Then, you’ll register your appliance with, and you’re ready to go!  K8s users can then log in to NKS and start deploying containers to their NetApp HCI immediately.  Above the VMware layer, everything is maintained by NetApp as a turnkey appliance model, with installs and maintenance managed by NetApp and full end-to-end support.

While we’re at it, besides NKS, we also deploy Trident for container persistent volume management, and Cloud Volumes for a cloudy file storage option that’s data fabric ready.

We’re making it easy for users and IT to get going with cloud native on premises, thereby enabling the deployment of modern software development architectures in the public cloud or on your own private cloud.  Another way that NetApp is committed to delivering “Any Cloud, One Experience”.

Bryce Cracco

Bryce Cracco is a Cloud Technologist at NetApp. Bryce has extensive product management and technology experience in areas spanning public cloud infrastructure, enterprise storage, and web applications. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration. Currently, Bryce’s primary professional interests and areas of research include IaaS on private cloud, containers (especially as a hybrid cloud vehicle), and automation / orchestration technologies that make businesses run more efficiently and reliably.

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