Original developers assess past, present and future of Kubernetes

Before Kubernetes there was Borg, a system management tool created by Google engineers to run thousands of jobs from applications across thousands of machines within the search giant. The system got its start around 2003 as Google was beginning to scale up, and it ran quietly, without fanfare, for a number of years.

But when Docker was introduced as a container management tool in 2010, the engineers closely associated with Borg soon realized that as the application space began to take off, a key tool would be needed to manage the growing number of Docker nodes. Happy birthday, Kubernetes.

“We sort of ignored it for a while because we were already working on our open-source effort,” said Tim Hockin (pictured, right), principal software engineer at Google. “When Docker landed we saw the community building and building; it was a snowball of its own. We went to our leadership and said, ‘Please, this is going to happen with us or without us, and the world is going to be better if we helped.’”

Hockin spoke with John Furrier (@furrier) and Stu Miniman (@stu), co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon event in Seattle, Washington. He was joined by Brian Grant (pictured, left), principal software engineer at Google, and they discussed the reasons why Kubernetes has experienced wide adoption in the enterprise and the challenges of adapting the technology for a multicloud world.

Rapid growth poses challenges

Hockin and Grant were instrumental in the development of Kubernetes, and the container orchestration tool went mainstream in 2016. Since then, the platform has emerged as a key element in enterprise computing, with a 235 percent growth rate in usage just over the past year.

“The basic design of Kubernetes is pretty simple and can be applied to automating pretty much anything,” Grant said. “Scale is increasing and compounding as people break their applications into more microservices. Kubernetes really provides a framework for managing that scale.”

With rapid adoption and growth comes the challenge of deciding which pain points to address next. The two Google engineers are looking at a number of critical areas, including the rise of a multicluster, multicloud computing world.

“It’s a hard topic, and for a long time we were able to put a finger in our ear and pretend it didn’t exist,” Hockin said. “Multicloud is definitely the hot topic right now. What primitives can we bring into Kubernetes to make these higher-level systems possible?”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon event.

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Written by Ravikash

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