There's an edict in the open source world to "release early, release often." The folks at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation have taken this to heart. When Kubernetes 1.9 is released on December 13, it will mark the fourth release of the container orchestration platform this year. According to a preview at KubeCon/CloudNativeCon in Austin, Texas, offered today, this won't be merely a maintenance release either, but will include a few important enhancements.
Kubernetes has become the de facto standard for container orchestration, with usage numbers that far outweigh other platforms such as Docker's Swarm, Mesos and the like. The platform has become so popular with users that Docker recently integrated Kubernetes alongside Swarm in its container suite, and on November 29, Amazon Web Services announced the platform will be fully supported in its cloud sometime in 2018.
In a recent survey conducted by CNCF, 61 percent of responding organizations are evaluating the platform and 83 percent are using it in production.
There are plenty of advances in the upcoming 1.9 release, but two stand out.
The most notable is the upgrading of the Apps Workloads API to stable, or GA status. Apps Workloads groups together four discrete Kubernetes resources -- DaemonSet, Deployment, ReplicaSet, and StatefulSet -- which form the foundation for long-running stateless and stateful workloads in Kubernetes. It's now enabled by default, and it's new status not only indicates production hardening and readiness, but comes with a guarantee of long-term backwards compatibility.
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Kubernetes is also becoming more Windows capable. After about a year of work, the platform's Windows feature is being promoted to beta status, which means that a production-ready version should be just around the corner. This will doubtlessly be welcome news to DevOps, admins and developers who work in both Linux and Windows environments.
The new release also shows forward movement on the storage front with an alpha implementation of the Container Storage Interface, a cross industry standards initiative to lower the barrier for cloud native storage development and ensure compatibility. Being an alpha release, the feature is not enabled by default and isn't recommended for production use. However, the Kubernetes folks point out it's an indication the platform is headed in the direction of an expansive and standards based storage ecosystem.
Additional new or expanded features in Kubernetes 1.9 include:
- CRD Validation (now graduating to Beta and enabled by default) helps CustomResourceDefinition API authors give clear and immediate feedback for invalid objects.
- Networking IPVS kube-proxy goes beta.
- SIG Node hardware accelerator moves to alpha, enabling GPUs, machine learning and other high performance workloads.
- CoreDNS alpha makes it possible to install CoreDNS with standard tools.
- IPv6 support (alpha).
Kubernetes 1.9 is scheduled to be released on December 13. For those wishing to test the waters to give the platform a try, the project has published some interactive tutorials.