Introducing Containership Community Edition

by Brandon Strittmatter

on June 7, 2018

CommunityEdition
What does that mean?

Containership is now free for teams! You can sign up today, invite your entire team, and easily provision Kubernetes clusters on any one of our supported cloud providers (currently DigitalOcean, Google, and Azure). While you still have to pay your cloud providers for the VMs, Containership does not charge users to provision and manage their infrastructure on top of them.

Why are you doing this?

As most of you already know, Docker shut down its cloud offering a couple weeks ago, which left a pretty large gap in the SaaS space for managing containerized infrastructure. With the now apparent gap in the SaaS space, we figured we should step up and offer an alternative that’s cost effective. Our own Kubernetes distribution, Containership Kubernetes Engine (CKE), recently became officially certified. This means that anything you build through us adheres to the standards put in place by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the company overseeing the Kubernetes project. We have built what we believe is the easiest way to provision, scale, and deploy your Kubernetes resources. Now we want the world to try it.

In the past we have offered a free version for individual developers and put limits on seats, applications, nodes, etc. We found that it was too restricting for companies to come in and get an actual feel for the product’s full potential. Now we have made it easier than ever for you and your team to get up and running on Kubernetes with our Certified Kubernetes Platform.

How does Containership make money?

We built what we believe is the best experience possible for managing Kubernetes clusters, and we want people to experience it. Our team is made up of certified Kubernetes experts, and we help train organizations on the nuts-and-bolts of Kubernetes. We work with teams to implement best practices and optimize the deployment process, and we offer management and support for what we build. In the future, we may offer premium services or features within the SaaS product for our community users, but we will not take away current functionality or core features. There is also an enterprise version of our platform with a more robust security focus for companies with stricter compliance needs.

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Community Edition vs Enterprise

Our enterprise platform is simply our community edition with some additional bells-and-whistles that a larger organization might need to have a production ready infrastructure. Those include things like advanced RBAC, custom authentication and authorization methods, audit logging, and we can even deploy it in private clouds or on-premises. This allows us to build custom database integrations, and enables us to work with providers like Openstack or VMware.

The Product

Now you might be asking yourself, “Why should I use Containership; why would I not use GKE, AKS, or the newly released EKS?” The truth is, you still can. Today, you can provision clusters on GKE and AKS, or even attach any existing 1.8 - 1.10 cluster, and begin managing it in the same way you manage clusters launched through our product. Containership's goal is to simplify multicloud, and eliminate vendor lock-in.

For example, if you're running on a single provider, you are held hostage by their offering, support, and ultimately their overall success. We continue to have conversations with enterprises who now mandate a multicloud strategy internally. While companies at this scale may have the resources to devote to such an initiative, it’s still a challenging problem, especially for smaller teams. With the ability to deploy anywhere, on any provider, Containership unlocks the chains bounding you to a single provider, and their will. However unlikely it is, what happens if Azure decides to sunset their Kubernetes service because of a lack of ROI? You’re now stuck scrambling to migrate everything to another cloud provider and having to learn someone else’s flavor of Kubernetes.

Now you’re saying to yourself “Can’t the same thing be said about Containership,” the answer to that question is simply no! Since Containership is built entirely on vanilla Kubernetes, you are free to go at any time. Our platform simplifies the process of provisioning and managing your Kubernetes resources, you still own your VMs. If for whatever reason you decide you are good and don’t need our help to manage your infrastructure you can simply detach our agent and your Kubernetes clusters will remain unfazed. You will still be able to access it through kubectl.

There are other SaaS products out there, but they are going to charge you $50+ a month to provision a cluster and then ship you off to the Kubernetes dashboard. We offer so much more than that with a true multicloud view into your clusters. You have all the power of Kubernetes in an easy-to-use dashboard and you’ll have it for free. That means you don’t have to have a separate dashboard for each cluster, monitor the health of your clusters, you are able to scale to meet demand, update your entire infrastructure to the latest Kubernetes version, and so much more without ever needing to switch between clusters.

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User Feedback

While I may be a bit biased as a UX Designer, I hope making Containership free for teams garners more feedback from our users. I have my own flavor of CI/CD, I like to call Continuous Improvements, Continuous Designing. We are constantly tweaking, optimizing, and implementing new features to make your life simpler. Kubernetes is a behemoth, and you don’t need to be a certified expert at it to reap all of it’s benefits. Instead, I urge you to check out the product and spin up a cluster (it will only take 15 minutes out of your day) and see how easy it can be to get the ball rolling on Kubernetes. If you have any issues simply reach out to me on intercom or leave a comment here and I’ll make sure to respond as soon as I’m available.

The Future

We are in the process of a lot of exciting updates and changes to the product to make it more user friendly and intuitive. I can’t get into too many details, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but what I will say is, I hate YAML, I enjoy marketplaces, and federation is cool. I hope you’ll give us a shot, and as I previously mentioned, please reach out to me and let me know if you are running into any difficulties, have suggestions, or just want to talk about Kubernetes.

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