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Platform9 Announce Free SaaS-Managed Kubernetes Solution

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Platform9, a SaaS-managed hybrid cloud platform, has announced a free managed Kubernetes service for hybrid environments with automated Day 2 operations including one-click upgrades, security patching, and monitoring.

The new free tier enables users to take advantage of a SaaS management plane for Kubernetes on hybrid environments. By plugging-in existing environments to the SaaS management plane, users can create Kubernetes clusters on their infrastructure and remotely access automated management of Kubernetes operations. DevOps engineers can create managed Kubernetes clusters on developer laptops, bare metal or virtual servers, public clouds, and at the edge, that have automated upgrades and security patching, Prometheus monitoring, alerts and logging.

Day 2 operations is a term that is used in the cloud industry to describe product features that are operational in nature. Usually, Day 2 Operations refers to a feature that is used later in the life-cycle of the managed object. This free tier uses a feature-complete enterprise edition of Platform9 Managed Kubernetes (PMK). The differences between the free and enterprise editions are the SLA level and the number and size of concurrent clusters that users can run.

On their blog, Platform9 explain:

We found that a vast majority of companies are struggling with the complexity of operating Kubernetes in production. Kubernetes is complex and notoriously difficult to manage, particularly in on-premises or multi-cloud environments. Day 2 operations are incredibly challenging: how do you handle upgrades to your clusters when there's a new version or a security patch? How do you do the monitoring? HA? Scaling? Compliance? And more. The operational pain is compounded by the industry-wide talent scarcity and skills gap. Most companies are struggling to hire the much sought-after Kubernetes experts, and they lack advanced Kubernetes experience to ensure smooth operations at scale.

On the PMK free tier, users have access to a SaaS management plane that remotely monitors, optimises and heals clusters and underlying infrastructure across hybrid environments. Self-service cluster creation with native integrations across private and public clouds is available along with one-click, in-place cluster upgrades to the latest version of Kubernetes. Security patches are automated through a process whereby when a new CVE is discovered and fixed, a patch is automatically applied to all clusters.

Built-in monitoring and alerts are provided to ensure cluster health, including etcd cluster quorum lost, etcd node down, etcd repair failure, infrastructure resource utilisation, node storage issues, network connectivity between nodes and docker daemon down. Managed Prometheus for application monitoring and Fluentd for log aggregation are included by default. Users can configure these tools for their specific needs for each cluster (for example, connect to a different persistent storage or data visualisation tool).

Applications can be deployed using the native Helm repository or users can create their own Helm charts and application templates. All clusters can be managed centrally and resource access is controlled with Kubernetes RBAC management. Access to community support is via Slack. The release has some enterprise-grade features, including a choice of CNI plug-ins (Flannel, Calico), and integration with a range of third party systems.

Currently, the free tier is limited to up to three clusters. Each cluster can be configured with up to five master nodes and up to twenty total nodes. Users can upgrade to the enterprise edition for additional capacity or for a 99.9% SLA guarantee for Kubernetes infrastructure on a hybrid environment; on-premise, public clouds and edge locations. The enterprise edition also provides dedicated support from Kubernetes experts and solutions architects.

Once users create an account, they can deploy a Kubernetes cluster on their infrastructure and add nodes directly from the UI or CLI. Common use cases in which DevOps teams can use the free tier include: running CI/CD pipelines, sandbox development, deployment, testing and debugging of containerised applications, staging clusters, batch or cron jobs that do not require SLA, and production apps and microservices with less stringent SLA requirements.

To find out more about PMK, go here.

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