There can be no doubt that Kubernetes is where it’s at for container orchestration services these days. Mesosphere, which was one of the early companies to adopt containers and which focuses on allowing businesses to run their big data and analytics workloads in the cloud, today announced that it now also supports Kubernetes on its DC/OS platform for running big data applications in the cloud. This announcement is going to come as quite a surprise to many, given that Mesosphere has long offered its own container orchestration tool for DC/OS and Apache Mesos in the form of Marathon.
Kubernetes will be available in beta as part of the DC/OS 1.10 release that’s scheduled to launch on September 11.
The Information, which broke this story earlier this morning, argues that this means that Mesosphere is “bowing” to Kubernetes. That’s something Mesosphere co-founder and CEO Florian Leibert and Mesosphere CMO Peter Guagenti strongly denied when I talked to them earlier today. They both stressed that the idea here is to give Mesosphere’s users — which tend to be large enterprises — more choice. “Our customers tend to be infrastructure and operations professionals at large companies who are serving hundreds or thousands of developers in an organization,” Guagenti said. “For them, the most important thing they provide is freedom of choice.”
In Leibert’s view, offering support for Kubernetes as an orchestration engine is no different from offering support for multiple data services, continuous integration platforms and networking tools. Guagenti also later stressed that it’s important to remember that for Mesosphere’s customers, the platform isn’t about containers — it’s about deploying and managing data-intensive applications.
Leibert also noted that Marathon and Kubernetes have different use cases because Marathon can also be used to run legacy applications without container technology, while Kubernetes is obviously solely focused on containers. “So it’s natural for us to support both,” Leibert said. “A lot of these technologies are really like a layer cake. Kubernetes and Mesos can work really well together. Kubernetes takes over the container workflow but it can’t handle workflows that typically don’t run on containers like Hadoop.”
Guagenti also noted that he believes that Mesosphere is currently a leader in the container space, both in terms of the number of containers its users run in production and in terms of revenue (though the company sadly didn’t share any numbers).
Leibert and Guagenti both stressed that Mesosphere will continue to invest in Marathon, just like it always has.
Going forward, developers will be able to use DC/OS to set up and manage their Kubernetes-based container deployments (including different versions of Kubernetes) right from DC/OS and on the same infrastructure that runs the rest of their container deployments. Mesosphere worked with Google on this project and Mesosphere will offer its users a pure up-stream version of Kubernetes without any vendor-specific changes to ensure there are no compatibility issues.
“In bringing Kubernetes to DC/OS, Mesosphere provides customers with a robust platform for building, deploying, and operating data-rich, containerized applications in your data center and on public clouds,” said Allan Naim, a Google product manager in charge of Kubernetes and the Google Container Engine. “With projects like Kubernetes for containers and TensorFlow for machine intelligence running on both our platforms, Mesosphere DC/OS and Google Cloud Platform together offer a compelling open hybrid cloud platform. We’re excited to continue to work with Mesosphere and the community going forward.”
At the end of the day, Mesosphere argues that it’s simply giving its customers more choice, though it’s also clear that this is yet another win for the Kubernetes ecosystem, which really isn’t so much of a threat to Mesosphere, which has long found its own niche, but more for Docker, which runs the risk of falling behind, even as it kickstarted the container movement. Indeed, I can’t help but think that this move by Mesosphere is actually going to make it harder for Docker to find its own niche going forward.