Back in November of 2017, 36 companies were the first to agree to a standardized set of APIs for the Kubernetes project. On the surface this may seem trivial, but in reality it was one of many important steps towards a better future with Kubernetes. As a result, the Containership platform recently went through the conformance testing process and is now officially a Certified Kubernetes Distribution!
Why Certification is Important
Decision makers are constantly presented with new technologies that will ‘Solve All of Their Problems™’. The big question is how do they determine which technologies are here to stay for the long run, versus which are just shiny new toys for IT staff to frustrate themselves with? There needs to be some sort of guarantee that a technology investment will be around for the long term.
Traditionally, with open source software, such as Kubernetes, there will never be a guarantee on the longevity of the technology (everyone will be wearing them), so we are faced with the difficult task of researching all possible solutions, looking for leading indicators of adoption, and taking a risk on software which may, or may not, be around in the years to come.
That’s where the Kubernetes project differs. While there is not a promise on its lifespan, the future is bright because of the standards, governance, certifications and conformance testing put in place by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The CNCF helps to build community around open source projects related to containers and microservice based infrastructure. It has been a keystone to the continuing success of Kubernetes. Recently Dan Kohn, executive director of the CNCF, had this to say about the Kubernetes certification program:
“The new Kubernetes Software Conformance Certification gives enterprise organizations the confidence that workloads that run on any Certified Kubernetes Distribution or Platform will work correctly on any other version,”
With that type of mindset at the helm (I’m here all night, thanks) of the community, the choice to invest in Kubernetes has never been more clear.
Crossing the Chasm
Another major milestone with the Kubernetes project is its graduation from the CNCF. Toward the end of one of the keynotes at KubeCon EU, Liz Rice (Program Co-Chair for the KubeCon & CloudNativeCon and Technology Evangelist at Aqua Security) did an amazing job of explaining what this actually means. She related the Kubernetes project to the well known book focused on bringing disruptive technology to the mainstream called Crossing the Chasm. The graduation is an indicator that the project is well past the point of just being innovative, but widely adopted. It is now safe to say that the chasm has officially been crossed.
All analogies aside, the graduation means that Kubernetes has fulfilled a number of different requirements. The first is that the project has adopted the CNCF code of conduct, an essential element to an inclusive and diverse community. There is also a steering committee and formalized governance surrounding the project. Official Special Interest Groups (SIG) help drive the various components and further innovate the product. Lastly, there is proven adoption and real use cases of Kubernetes being used in production. Here are the official graduation criteria
What are the different Types of Certifications?
I’ll admit that it is a bit confusing at first, but there are several different levels of certifications for Kubernetes. Individuals (Certified Kubernetes Administrator), organizations (Kubernetes Certified Service Partners), and technologies all have their own path towards certification. Let’s take a look at the technology certifications specifically.
As stated on the CNCF website, here are the official definitions:
• A vendor is an organization providing a Kubernetes distribution, hosted platform, or installer.
• A product is a distribution, hosted platform, or installer provided by a vendor.
• A distribution is software based on Kubernetes that can be installed by an end user on to a public cloud or bare metal and includes patches, additional software, or both.
• A hosted platform is a Kubernetes service provided and managed by a vendor.
• An installer downloads and then installs vanilla upstream Kubernetes.
Is there a certified platform out there that is certified and helps me easily provision, scale, and manage my Kubernetes clusters?
Yes, I happen to know just the place: Containership. It’s completely free for individual developers to come in and provision, scale, and manage their Kubernetes clusters. You only have to pay your cloud provider for the VMs; we don’t charge you any overhead to manage your Kubernetes resources.