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Pivotal tools aim to ease Kubernetes complexity for developers

Pivotal has released several tools to help developers and operators address Kubernetes complexity, as enterprises increasingly adopt the popular container orchestration system.

Pivotal Software is testing updated versions of services that aim to ease Kubernetes complexity for developers and operators.

Pivotal provides a cloud-native platform for enterprises to modernize and transform how they build, ship and manage software. The company made its bones providing consulting services and products around the Cloud Foundry PaaS to help developers move code to production rapidly.

Now Pivotal is taking cue from its experience with Cloud Foundry to make it easier for developers to build, run and deploy software on Kubernetes, with an alpha version of its Pivotal Application Service (PAS) on Kubernetes.

PAS on Kubernetes brings Pivotal's "cf push" functionality to Kubernetes, said Onsi Fakhouri, senior vice president of cloud R&D at Pivotal. The cf push command-line interface command pushes apps to the Cloud Foundry platform, which maintains and integrates the required components for software deployment, networking, monitoring and logging, and frees up developers to focus on coding.

Kubernetes is the new IaaS, said Eric Malm, product manager of the Cloud Foundry Diego team at Pivotal, in a blog post. As a result, Pivotal wants to embed it in more Pivotal products, and provide more ways to reduce Kubernetes' complexity for developers and operators.

This reflects an important strategic shift by Pivotal to acknowledge the importance of Kubernetes as an integral component of customers' application modernization programs, said Charlotte Dunlap, an analyst at GlobalData in Santa Cruz, Calif.

[Enterprises] keep what they like about [Pivotal Application Service] and work at a higher level of abstraction, without worrying about somehow missing out on all the innovation going on in the Kubernetes world.
Jeffrey HammondAnalyst, Forrester

"Pivotal has been involved in key DevOps and Kubernetes innovations through collaborations with VMware, and more recently its new sister company Heptio, for supporting new app architectures and capabilities, including microservices and service mesh," she said.

In addition to PAS on Kubernetes, Pivotal also introduced alpha versions of two other tools that use Kubernetes and containers.

The Pivotal Build Service takes source code, wrangles all of its dependencies and manages the operating system layer, and constructs a container image, Pivotal's Fakhouri said. A developer can push code to the build service, and it automatically produces an Open Container Initiative-compatible container image for any compatible runtime. It supports Enterprise Pivotal Container Service (PKS), a Kubernetes-based platform jointly developed by Pivotal and VMware that enables small teams of operators to manage numerous Kubernetes clusters at scale.

Pivotal also previewed Pivotal RabbitMQ on Kubernetes, which will be available in alpha on PKS later this quarter. The product automates deployment and ongoing operations of RabbitMQ, a popular open source message broker.

In May, Pivotal introduced other products for Kubernetes based on PAS features. Pivotal Spring Runtime provides comprehensive support for Java environments, including OpenJDK, Spring Framework and Apache Tomcat, while Pivotal Service Mesh automates the setup and configuration of the Istio service mesh.

Jeffrey Hammond, analyst at Forrester ResearchJeffrey Hammond

Pivotal's increased support for Kubernetes is like an "insurance policy" for PAS users, said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research.

"For a while I've spoken to enterprises that are worried that they have to make a choice: PAS and Cloud Foundry, or go with Kubernetes and give up what they like about PAS," he said. "This makes it possible to keep what they like about PAS and work at a higher level of abstraction, without worrying about somehow missing out on all the innovation going on in the Kubernetes world."

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