Google has begun to turn loose its successful Kubernetes virtualisation tool, which it has developed and maintained since 2014, handing administration of the project to open source developers.
Google said this week it had begun transferring operational control of Kubernetes to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), and had also donated $9 million (£7m) in Google Cloud credits over three years to help with infrastructure costs.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerised applications, an operating system-level feature in which the kernel supports multiple user-space instances, called containers.
The rise of cloud-style technologies, including extensive use of virtualisation in both cloud and on-premises data centres, has led to the broad adoption of technologies such as Kubernetes.
As a result, Kubernetes has become one of the world’s most popular open source projects, used by more than half of Fortune 100 companies for container orchestration, according to Redmonk figures cited by Google.
Google helped found the CNCF in 2015 and provided Kubernetes as a seed technology, but has remained closely involved with the project.
It has notably provided all cloud infrastructure for Kubernetes to date, including its continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) testing infrastructure, container downloads and DNS services.
That infrastructure is substantial, with the project regularly running more than 150,000 containers on 5,000 virtual machines. The container registry has served almost 130 million downloads since the project’s launch, Google said.
With Kubernetes having reached maturity, Google is now allowing the CNCF community to take over, and that could include cloud hosting being provided by other partners.
The search giant stepping back from Kubernetes is also a politic move, since other contributors to Kubernetes and the CNCF include companies that generally compete with Google as well as with one another.
The CNCF’s supporters include Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Oracle, SAP and VMware.
“By sharing the operational responsibilities for Kubernetes with contributors to the project, we look forward to seeing the new ideas and efficiencies that all Kubernetes contributors bring to the project operations,” Google Kubernetes Engine product manager William Deniss said.
CNCF executive director Dan Kohn said Google’s donation would help ensure the project’s continued innovation and broad adoption.
“We’re thrilled to see Google Cloud transfer management of the Kubernetes testing and infrastructure projects into contributors’ hands — making the project not just open source, but openly managed, by an open community,” Kohn said.
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