Going Hybrid with Kubernetes

How digital leaders operate and scale their applications across any infrastructure and get closer to the edge

Masood Noori
Going Hybrid with Kubernetes

In the “cloud building” trenches, I’ve found that scaling digital infrastructure (and the underlying architecture that supports it) is one of the toughest challenges that any company faces as they respond to growth in their business. Making the right choices on the journey to a hybrid multicloud architecture can be challenging, but with workload portability and containerization, new opportunities are unlocked much more easily. As the de facto standard for container workload orchestration, Kubernetes is redefining how organizations operate and scale their applications from cloud to edge, and everything in between.

Building your own infrastructure takes time and expertise — especially in today’s constrained supply chain environment. Add to that a fast-changing technology and software environment, and it’s no wonder that digital transformation (and cloud migration) is a top priority for businesses of all sizes. 47% of IT decision-makers reported accelerating their digital transformation plans because of the pandemic according to the Equinix 2020-2021 Global Tech Trends Survey.

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For over twenty years, Equinix has been a key partner to the world’s digital leaders. From service providers and clouds to enterprises and SaaS companies, our strategy has been consistent. We make it easier for digital leaders to assemble the right infrastructure in all the right places and connect it to all the right partners: globally, on demand, from a neutral ecosystem of providers.

While the benefits are clear, such as better performance and lower costs, activating the right infrastructure hasn’t always been easy. That’s why Equinix introduced Equinix Fabric™, Network Edge and Equinix Metal™ interconnected, automated single-tenant bare metal-as-a-Service (BMaaS), to help businesses accelerate the journey to a hybrid multicloud architecture.

The missing ingredient, of course, is the software that pulls it all together. That’s where Kubernetes has taken the enterprise IT ecosystem by storm, enabling companies of all shapes and sizes to deploy and operate the technology that their applications need, when it is needed, and at global scale – consistently.

Bridging the gap with Kubernetes

IT administrator and developer skill sets are changing.

Thanks to the cloud revolution, full stack developers are leveraging powerful APIs and orchestration tools to deploy and scale new applications across hundreds or thousands of computers simultaneously. Unfortunately, not every company can match this kind of velocity. Legacy applications need to be containerized, security policies and approaches need to be considered, people with different skills need to be hired, and competing business requirements must be aligned.

While no tool is a silver bullet, I believe that Kubernetes has taken hold so quickly because it offers a unified control plane for deploying and managing applications across various types of infrastructures, letting machines “do the work.” The control plane is an important abstraction layer that enables DevOps, IT Ops, NetOps (and the rest of the Ops) to collaborate on a consistent workflow while still maintaining the flexibility to deploy applications on the right infrastructure.

...The big takeaway, I think, from this small period in time is that we got people off of the Linux server as the primary target. We're not running scripts; we're not running config management code directly on servers. We now have one layer up that we're targeting and allowing the machine to do the work." - Kelsey Hightower via Livestream for 'Bret Fisher Docker and DevOps' [i]

Making Kubernetes work for everyone, everywhere

Okay, so Kubernetes makes everything easier, right?  Not quite.

Initially, the complexity of a system designed to run at Google scale made the use of Kubernetes impractical for many businesses. Now that Kubernetes is a more mature solution, its use has expanded to businesses across all industries as they expand to the edge and run complex hybrid and multicloud infrastructures. There is now an ecosystem of providers with solutions that support the speed of open source with the stability that most companies need. Solutions from Amazon (EKS Anywhere), Google (Anthos), IBM (Cloud Satellite and Red Hat OpenShift) and VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid are now available in addition to popular offerings like SUSE Rancher and K3s, Canonical Kubernetes, Mirantis Container Cloud and others.

Why the cloud native community matters

The road to the right architecture can be a lonely and difficult journey. Each company has specific needs and requirements, and the challenges (and opportunities) they face are also unique. That’s where the dynamic cloud native and Kubernetes community known as the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) really shines – building confidence, providing stability and offering transparency.

Kubernetes and the cloud native movement that has formed around it are grounded in open source. This means that the code we all rely upon is readily available at no cost — not only to use, but also to review, to extend and to contribute to its continued evolution. This open source ethos has encouraged an amazing amount of innovation in a short period of time, and provided confidence for companies to invest in relatively new technologies.

Equinix is a committed member of this vibrant and diverse community. In addition to our status as a CNCF gold member, we’re contributors in other ways.  For instance, Equinix open sourced its bare metal provisioning engine (Tinkerbell), which is now a sandbox project at the CNCF. We also provide more than $1M per year in infrastructure to the CNCF community.

The Equinix Metal equation

Equinix believes that the architecture of choice for digital leaders is hybrid multicloud. We see our 10,000 organizations embracing this approach because it provides them the best performance and cost efficiency, and a framework through which they can respond confidently to new opportunities, reach end users or partners and respond to a fast-changing regulatory environment.

To help companies streamline the journey to hybrid multicloud, Equinix introduced Equinix Metal in 2020.  Equinix Metal is built using technology from the acquisition of Packet in 2020.  In addition to a battle-proven automation stack, Packet was an early investor in the Kubernetes ecosystem, which means that our cloud native roots run deep at Equinix Metal.

We’re leveraging that history of relationships so customers can choose integration solutions from leading providers to run Kubernetes on Equinix Metal, helping them move faster while maintaining flexibility and creating advantage with their digital infrastructure. Looking to get started? Sign up for Equinix Metal today and give it a try.

You may also be interested in reading:

Technical guides to get you and your team started:

Equinix Makes it Easy for Companies to Run Kubernetes on Bare Metal Everywhere


[i] Brett Fisher Docker and DevOps

Masood Noori Partner Marketing Manager, Developer Ecosystem, Equinix Metal
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