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Google Embraces New Kubernetes Application Standard

Friday Jul 20th 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

Google is bringing commercial Kubernetes applications to its cloud marketplace, but it isn't using Helm charts as the primary method for deployment.

Once an organization has a Kubernetes container orchestration cluster running, the next challenge is to get applications running on it.

Google is now aiming to make it easier for organizations to deploy Kubernetes applications, through the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace. The new marketplace offerings bring commercial Kubernetes-enabled applications that can be run in the Google cloud, or anywhere else an organization wants.

All a user needs to do is visit the GCP marketplace and click the Purchase Plan button to get started.

"Once they agree to the terms, they'll find instructions on how to deploy this application on the Kubernetes cluster of their choice, running in GCP or another cloud, or even on-prem," Anil Dhawan, Product Manager, Google Cloud Platform, told ServerWatch. "The applications report metering information to Google for billing purposes, so end users can get one single bill for their application usage, regardless of where it is deployed."

Kubernetes Applications

There are many different ways of getting applications to run on a Kubernetes cluster. One of the popular approaches is to use Helm charts, though that's not the approach Google is taking. Helm is now a standalone project at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) for Kubernetes applications.

Rather than use Helm, Google is using an upcoming standard called Kubernetes Applications to enable its GCP marketplace.

"The Kubernetes landscape is still evolving when it comes to standard application deployment," Dhawan said. "While Helm is a popular choice, there are several others, with no clear winner in that ecosystem.  As a result, our packaging mechanism is flexible to accommodate the installation method preferred by each vendor."

The Kubernetes Applications technology is actually an application metadata custom resource descriptor (CRD) for Kubernetes.

"The Kubernetes metadata, objects, and visualizations (e.g., within Dashboard) are focused on container infrastructure rather than the applications themselves," the GitHub project page of Kubernetes Applications states. "The Application CRD (Custom Resource Definition) and Controller in this project aim to change that in a way that's interoperable between many supporting tools."

Kubernetes Applications is an approach that isn't necessarily competitive with Helm, but rather can help to enable Helm or other similiar tools.

"The Application CRD provides a way for you to aggregate individual Kubernetes components (e.g. Services, Deployments, StatefulSets, Ingresses, CRDs), and manage them as a group," the project states. "It provides UIs with a resource that allows for the aggregation and display of all the components in the Application."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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