This article is part of our Conference Coverage: KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2024 news coverage

Goldman Sachs discusses virtues of Kubernetes for virtual machine management

Kubernetes is not only a platform for orchestrating containers – Goldman Sachs has found it offers the same benefits when used to manage virtual machines

At the KubeCon and CloudNativeCon event in Paris earlier this month, Red Hat and Goldman Sachs discussed the benefits of using Kubernetes to manage virtual machines (VMs).

While the headline news around the event was support for artificial intelligence (AI) and the use of Kuberntees to orchestrate graphics processing units (GPUs) for machine learning and inference workloads, the underlying messaging coming out of the cloud-native community is that Kubernetes can manage any computing architecture.

Red Hat engineering manager Fabian Deutsch started the presentation by discussing the flexibility of Kubernetes. He said that while Kubernetes is used to manage containers, it can also run VMs. “Everything you know about Kubernetes becomes immediately relevant for virtual machines as well. There is nothing new to learn,” he told the audience.

Deutsch is the maintainer for a Cloud Native Computing Forum (CNCF) project called KubeVirt, a plug-in for Kubernetes that enables support for virtual machines.

Red Hat’s OpenShift uses KubeVirt to containerise virtual machines. According to Red Hat, this means VM management inherits many features and functions from Kubernetes, including scheduling, high availability, and the ability to attach or detach IT resources.

“Everything you know about Kubernetes becomes immediately relevant for virtual machines as well. There is nothing new to learn”
Fabian Deutsch, Red Hat

Deutsch was joined on stage by Michael Hanulec, vice-president and technology fellow at Goldman Sachs. Hanulec sees many benefits in using Kubernetes to manage virtual machines.

“I’ve worked on server-based virtualisation for almost 17 years now, and over that time, we’ve seen a lot of products come and go, and a lot of technologies come and go. But we think Kubernetes is here to stay, and as such, it’s a good platform to build a future on,” he said.

Discussing the benefits, Hanulec said Kubernetes not only offers a strong, secure application programming interface (API), but also provides a way for IT administrators to work in the same way whether they are managing containers or VMs. Given that cloud-native computing is intricately linked to containerisation, Hanulec pointed out the ubiquity of virtual machines in enterprise IT.

“Hopefully you all realise that virtual machines are still very useful and are a trusted form of computing within today’s IT environment,” he said, addressing the audience. “You’ll find it broadly at a lot of enterprises, no matter how much people are talking about going to containers.”

Hanulec pointed out that when organisations discuss going to the public cloud, this involves running virtual machines on public infrastructure as service (IaaS).

“We think Kubernetes is here to stay, and as such, it’s a good platform to build a future on”
Michael Hanulec, Goldman Sachs

One of the key benefits of using Kubernetes for virtual machine management, according to Hanulec, is the cloud-native community efforts that support what he and Goldman Sachs need to achieve. Among the community projects he said the bank uses are ArgoCD, which is used to automate the deployment of application configurations, and Kubernetes Operators, which helps to extend the platform.

Hanulec said it has also used the CNCF’s Container Storage Interfaces (CNCF-CSI) platform, which provides an interface between enterprise storage hardware and virtualisation. He said that while there are numerous virtualisation platforms, many only work with certain storage and network configurations.

“The beauty of Kubernetes is that you can choose how you want to put things together and optimise it for yourself,” Hanulec added.

Read more about KubeVirt

  • KubeVirt and Virtlet unite VM and container management into one stack, but KubeVirt has more flexibility to tune VMs, whereas Virtlet boasts better integration with Kubernetes.
  • Organizations require virtualization systems that not only support different types of applications but also simplify IT administration, forcing vendors to adapt accordingly.

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