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May 21, 2019

Google Kubernetes Engine: Now With Windows Container Support and Upgrade Channels

"Tools and support is what you have been asking us to support."

By CBR Staff Writer

Google have rolled out new features for its Kubernetes platform at Kubecon in Barcelona this week, bringing container support for Windows Nodes and new upgrade channels for developers.

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is starting the alpha rollout of release channels, which allow developers to customise the time frame in which their clusters are automatically upgrade.

GKE have created three different channels each tailored towards developers working with different requirements with regards to stability or access to new features.

The Rapid channel is upgraded weekly and will include an array of new features that may still be in beta testing. This channel is aimed at developers who want to test the newest features, but aren’t too concerned about the impact unresolved issues may have on their workloads.

The Regular channel will push out upgrades every few weeks. These updates will include features and versions of applications that have passed the internal testing process within Google. They are considered stable, but not enough testing in the wild has been done to guarantee that the user won’t encounter any issues in their deployment.

If performance and stability is of utmost importance then the third channel, aptly named Stable, should be considered. It only gets upgraded every few months and each updated version has passed internal validation, as well as extensive observation of feature performance within working clusters.

Google Cloud wrote in blog post that: “When a minor version has demonstrated stability in the Rapid channel, it will be promoted to the Regular channel, Eventually, the minor version will be promoted to the Stable channel. Each promotion signals a graduating level of stability and production-readiness, based on observed performance of clusters running that version.”

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Google Kubernetes Engine Windows Support

Kubernetes have rolled out support for Windows nodes in Kubernetes which now will officially support Windows Containers allowing them to be deployed and managed alongside Linux-based containers within the same cluster.

Google Kubernetes

Previously organisations that had a mixed ecosystem of Windows and Linux-based applications had to use two different orchestration tools to manage the workload, now both types of applications can be managed within Microsoft’s own Azure Kubernetes Service.

Taylor Brown Principal PM Manager of the Container Platform at Microsoft commented in a post that: “The ability to manage Windows and Linux containers side by side in the same Kubernetes cluster with the exact same APIs, tools and support is what you have been asking us to support, which opens an abundance of new scenarios. For example, you can now add Windows node pools to existing Virtual Network; or deploy a Linux container running a reverse proxy or Redis cache and an IIS application in a Windows container in the same Kubernetes cluster and even as part of the same application – all with consistent monitoring experience and deployment pipelines.”

In the Kubernetes 1.14 update key features for Windows users include;

  • Support for Windows Server 2019 for worker nodes and containers
  • Support for out of tree networking with Azure-CNI, OVN-Kubernetes, and Flannel
  • Improved support for pods, service types, workload controllers, and metrics/quotas to closely match the capabilities offered for Linux containers

Kubernetes, originally built by Google, and one of the most popular projects on GitHub, with over 6,500 contributors, has become the go-to way of automating container-based application deployment, scaling, and management, but has thus-far been Linux-centric.

With companies increasingly moving to microservices-based architecture, containers – a way to separate an app from its underlying environment – are rapidly becoming the default approach to manage enterprise application estates.

They have a lower overhead in terms of memory footprint and efficiency than “traditional” hypervisors that support VMs in most datacentres and allow users to deploy apps quickly and reliably anywhere, regardless of environment.

See Also: Swisscom Dumps Mainframes for Private Cloud – Cuts IT Costs 60%

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