Virtualization Technology News and Information
BlueData Announces BlueK8s Open Source Kubernetes Initiative
BlueData, provider of the leading container-based software platform for AI and Big Data workloads, today announced its new open source Kubernetes initiative: BlueK8s.  The company also introduced the first open source project in the BlueK8s initiative, Kubernetes Director (aka KubeDirector), for deploying and managing distributed stateful applications with Kubernetes. 

Kubernetes (aka K8s) is now the de facto standard for container orchestration. Kubernetes adoption is accelerating for stateless applications and microservices, and the community is beginning to evolve and mature the capabilities required for stateful applications. But large-scale distributed stateful applications - including analytics, data science, machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) applications for AI and Big Data use cases - are still complex and challenging to deploy with Kubernetes.

Containerizing Stateful and Stateless Applications

Typically, stateless applications are microservices or containerized applications that have no need for long-running persistence and aren't required to store data. Cloud native web services (such as a web server or front end web user interface) can often be run as containerized stateless applications since HTTP is stateless by nature: there is no dependency on the local container storage for the workload.

Stateful applications, on the other hand, are services that save data to storage and use that data; persistence and state are essential to running the service. These include databases as well as complex distributed applications for Big Data and AI use cases: e.g. multi-service environments for large-scale data processing, data science, and machine learning that use open source frameworks such as Hadoop, Spark, Kafka, and TensorFlow as well as a variety of different commercial tools for analytics, business intelligence, ETL, and visualization.

In enterprise deployments, each of these different tools and applications need to interoperate in a single cohesive environment for an end-to-end distributed data pipeline. Yet they typically have many interdependent services, and they require persistent storage that can survive service restarts. They have dependencies on storage and networking, and state is distributed across multiple configuration files.   

The Kubernetes ecosystem has added building blocks such as Statefulsets - as well as open source projects including the Operator framework, Helm, Kubeflow, Airflow, and others - that have begun to address some of the requirements for packaging, deploying, and managing stateful applications. But there are still significant gaps in the deployment patterns and tooling for complex distributed stateful applications in large-scale enterprise environments.

Introducing BlueK8s and KubeDirector

BlueData is committed to addressing these gaps, to help simplify and streamline the containerized deployment of stateful applications in the enterprise.  The new BlueK8s initiative is focused on bringing enterprise-level capabilities and support for distributed stateful applications to the Kubernetes open source community. BlueData recently joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) - the organization behind Kubernetes and other cloud native open source projects - in order to foster collaboration in this area with top developers, end users, and vendors in the Kubernetes ecosystem.

KubeDirector is the first open source BlueK8s project, designed to help with the deployment and management of complex distributed stateful applications on Kubernetes. KubeDirector is a custom controller built using the Kubernetes custom resource definition (CRD) framework that:

  • Leverages the native Kubernetes API extensions, design philosophy, and authentication
  • Provides native support for preserving application configuration and state
  • Prioritizes simplicity, and doesn't require decomposing applications to fit microservices patterns
  • Utilizes an application-agnostic deployment pattern, minimizing the time to onboard stateful applications to Kubernetes
  • Supports the deployment of large-scale distributed data pipelines consisting of multiple applications for analytics, business intelligence, ETL, visualization, data science, and ML / DL

"We're excited to introduce K8s and KubeDirector to the Kubernetes open source community," said Kumar Sreekanti, co-founder and CEO of BlueData. "Kubernetes is an ideal solution for stateless applications, but there are still challenges in using it for large-scale, distributed stateful applications. We're pleased to be working with CNCF and the Kubernetes open source community to address these challenges, and incorporate our experience with dozens of enterprise customers deploying large-scale, distributed stateful applications in containerized environments."

KubeDirector is currently in pre-alpha and under active development. Look for it soon at

Published Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:03 AM by David Marshall
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