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InfoQ Homepage News Google Kubernetes Engine Enhancements: Upgrade Channels, Windows Container Support and Stackdriver

Google Kubernetes Engine Enhancements: Upgrade Channels, Windows Container Support and Stackdriver

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At the recent KubeCon EU in Barcelona, Google announced that it will offer three new release channels for its Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE): Rapid, Regular, and Stable. With these channels, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) users can choose whether they want the freshest release or the most stable one — or quickly evaluate the latest updates in a development environment.

Google will first introduce the Rapid channel in alpha, which allows users to subscribe and get early access to the latest Kubernetes version. Each release will then matures to the Regular channel, and finally to the Stable channel. Each channel will have a different release cadence and purpose:

  • Google updates the Rapid channel weekly, and includes an array of new features that may still be in beta testing. Moreover, the channel is aimed at developers who want to test the latest features, and aren't too concerned about the impact that unresolved issues may have on their workloads. 
  • Next, the Regular channel will push out upgrades every few weeks, including features and versions of applications that have passed the internal testing process within Google. However, users can still encounter issues in their deployments because of lack of (historical) external test data.
  • Finally, with the Stable channel, where stability and performance are essential, upgrades take place every few months, and each updated version has passed internal validation, as well as extensive observation of feature performance within working clusters.

In a blog post about the latest enhancements to GKE, Aparna Sinha, director product management for Kubernetes and Anthos at Google, wrote:

We’ll offer three channels; Rapid, Regular, and Stable, each with different version maturity and stability, so you can subscribe your cluster to an update stream that matches your risk tolerance and business requirements.

With the release of the Rapid channel, Google is also bringing early support for Windows Containers to GKE (Kubernetes 1.14.0) and offers support for Windows Server Containers in June, which will allow users to deploy and manage Windows Containers alongside Linux-based containers within the same cluster. In a recent TheNewStack article about the latest GKE enhancements, Sinha said:

We have a lot of customers who are interested in running their windows based applications on Kubernetes, and you can imagine, many have an application that’s running on the Windows operating system.

Note that Microsoft recently also announced Windows Server containers support in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) for the latest versions, Kubernetes 1.13.5 and 1.14.0. 

In addition to the release channels and Windows support for GKE, Google also announced the general availability of Stackdriver Kubernetes Engine Monitoring. With this tool, users can monitor and log data from GKE, as well as Kubernetes deployments in other clouds and on-premises infrastructure. 

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