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Nutanix bolsters Kubernetes playbook with managed service

Karbon Platform Services claims to ease container deployments in public and hybrid cloud environments in the emerging Kubernetes platform war

Nutanix is bolstering its Kubernetes playbook with Karbon Platform Services, a managed platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering that it claims will help enterprises abstract the complexities of deploying and managing containers.

Karbon, Nutanix’s Kubernetes distribution, was launched in April 2019 to make it easier for enterprises to deploy containers on Nutanix’s hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) platform. It was updated in February 2020 to speed up Kubernetes upgrades and provide support for air-gapped systems.

With Karbon Platform Services, enterprises will get managed Kubernetes, containers and a host of essential developer services in an easy, readily consumable PaaS environment, according to Bob Laliberte, practice director and senior analyst at ESG Research.

“Given that 70% of customers we’ve recently surveyed prefer the combination of public cloud and private datacentre for containerised applications, Karbon Platform Services satisfies that desire for flexibility with its global control plane and simple multi-cloud management capabilities,” Laliberte added.

However, it is not just Nutanix that has been focused on easing Kubernetes deployment and management, which can not only overwhelm IT operations teams, but also limit the resources and tooling available to software developers.

VMware has claimed that it can alleviate the challenges of managing Kubernetes clusters with its Tanzu portfolio, along with Red Hat with its OpenShift container platform that runs on multiple public cloud services.

Jeff Smith, Nutanix’s vice-president of systems engineering for Asia-Pacific and Japan, said it has been the company’s philosophy to not lock customers into its products and services, including Karbon.

Smith pointed out two ways in which Kubernetes is being deployed today – enterprises can either download the software and roll it out on their own or use a curated offering like Red Hat OpenShift.

Noting that the latter approach was a form of vendor lock-in, Smith claimed that with OpenShift, Kubernetes is not upstream compatible. “You can’t leave that environment and just run that as it is anywhere else,” he told Computer Weekly.

With Karbon Platform Services, Smith said Nutanix wanted to combine the best of both worlds, offering enterprises complete portability and the ability to run and manage containers and associated packages, such as Istio, Kafka and Prometheus, as a managed service.

“I can run that anywhere, on Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Nutanix on premises, or on Nutanix Clusters in one of those public cloud environments,” he said. “The idea was to give customers choice and flexibility with no lock-in, and still give them a curated and easy experience.”

The launch of Karbon Platform Services comes on the heels of Nutanix’s rapid growth in ASEAN. During the third quarter of its fiscal year 2020, the company grew its business in the region by over 40%, with growth in some countries reaching as high as over 50%.

Company executive had attributed the growth to a rise in hybrid cloud adoption in the region, as well as enterprises that are looking to automate processes and move towards a simpler, more agile and cost-effective IT infrastructure.

Despite Nutanix’s growing traction in Asia, Matt Young, its senior vice-president and head of Asia-Pacific and Japan, said it is still early days for the firm with lots of market opportunity, particularly in Singapore and India.

“Singapore is one those countries that have jumped on digital transformation that has been replicated in enterprises, and we’ve done very well in India too,” Young said. “Unfortunately, it takes a downturn or pandemic to drive some of these changes quicker than they would have, but we’re excited about that opportunity.”

Read more about container technology in APAC

  • Red Hat has baked in virtualisation features in OpenShift amid its growing rivalry with VMware.
  • A top APAC executive at IBM says the move to containerise and run its software on Red Hat OpenShift is a big step forward for the company.
  • New Tanzu portfolio reflects efforts by VMware to better meet the needs of enterprises that are warming to containers and Kubernetes when building new cloud-native applications.
  • Containers and microservices are being adopted by companies in APAC to speed up application development and become more agile.

Read more on Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

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