Spectro Cloud, the Bay Area-based modern infrastructure startup, announced the availability of Palette Edge – a comprehensive platform to deploy and manage Kubernetes at scale across multiple edge computing environments.
The rise of containers has prompted cloud providers to deliver managed Kubernetes as a Service (KaaS) offerings. Services such as Google Kubernetes Engine, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, Azure Kubernetes Service handle most of the heavy lifting involved in provisioning, configuring, and managing the clusters. Customers consuming KaaS offerings focus on the workload while letting the cloud provider manage the infrastructure.
Switch to the edge, and customers are on their own. They need to choose everything from the operating system, Kubernetes distribution, storage, network, service mesh, and observability components. Assembling the stack by selecting the correct component from dozens of open source and commercial software choices becomes a daunting task. Customers soon realize that there are too many moving parts of this stack. Selecting one version of an open source component against another may make or break the entire infrastructure stack.
Even after getting the combination of the cloud native edge stack components right, customers often struggle with day-2 operations of the infrastructure. This includes upgrading and patching the operating system, Kubernetes distribution, and other cluster building blocks. The key challenge here is to perform the maintenance at scale, impacting tens of thousands of clusters running in a highly distributed environment.
When running Kubernetes in the cloud or enterprise data center, customers delegate the above decisions and operations to the cloud provider or the platform vendor. When it comes to the edge, there is no managed service or a KaaS offering that promises to extend the flexibility of the cloud to the edge. The only exception is signing up for a hardware/software services combination delivered through appliances such as AWS Outposts and Azure Stack HCI. Customers using traditional OEM or custom hardware configuration will have to handle the end-to-end management of hardware, infrastructure software, and workloads.
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The Palette Edge platform from Spectro Cloud promises to bring the power of managed Kubernetes to the edge. It tackles two significant challenges – composing the cluster infrastructure based on best of the breed OSS/commercial components from the cloud native ecosystem and performing day-2 operations of the cluster and workloads at scale.
Palette has two layers – the centralized management plane and the data plane running at each edge location. The management plane provides the API and the user experience for defining the reusable cluster profiles. The cluster profile is a declarative approach to defining the stack based on the choice of Kubernetes distribution, container runtime, cloud native storage, and network. Additional components such as the service mesh, observability, and CI/CD software can be easily defined within the cluster profile.
The data plane runs an agent that acts as a proxy for the Palette running at the edge. The agent is expected to be installed on an edge appliance that establishes the connection between the management plane and the local environment. Customers can push the cluster definition to the agent, translating it into one or more clusters. The agent is responsible for rolling upgrades and patch management.
Through the centralized management plane of Palette, customers can take control of tens of thousands of clusters for managing the day-2 operations at scale. Palette effectively becomes the meta control plane operating the control plane of each edge cluster.
Palette Edge is built upon Real Metal – a bare metal platform from Spectro Cloud to run cloud native software. Real Metal is tightly integrated with the popular Metal as a Service (MaaS) from Canonical. Spectro Cloud extended the open source Kubernetes Cluster API to treat MaaS like any other cloud provider to manage the lifecycle of the infrastructure.
Palette Edge can run the Kubernetes infrastructure either in native bare metal or virtualized mode. In the native mode, it runs the containerized version of the entire stack without the overhead of virtualization. For environments that run a hypervisor, the Kubernetes infrastructure can run within a set of VMs.
With Palette Edge, Spectro Cloud addresses the pain point of deploying and managing Kubernetes at scale at the edge. It promises to extend the power and flexibility of the cloud to the edge through a managed Kubernetes as a Service offering.