Gravity Now Packages Multiple Kubernetes Apps in One Image File

Users now have the ability to deploy apps more quickly and easily in multiple destinations.

Todd R. Weiss

April 8, 2019

3 Min Read
Multiple directions

Open source vendor Gravitational has bolstered its Gravity Kubernetes packaging application to now allow developers to package multiple Kubernetes applications and clusters into single image files that can then be deployed and replicated across multiple environments at once.

The new capabilities have been added to the latest release of Gravity 5.5, which adds support for the open source package manager Helm to allow developers to package entire Kubernetes clusters, pre-loaded with applications into downloadable image files, according to the company.


Gravitational’s Ev Kontsevoy

For developers, this allows development teams to copy an entire application catalogue and easily replicate it into any preferred cloud deployment target, including groups of servers, storage volumes, load balancers or other resources, Ev Kontsevoy, CEO and co-founder of Gravitational, told Channel Futures.

“Sometimes it’s an AWS account,” he said. “Sometimes it’s a VMware private cloud, sometimes it’s an OpenStack cluster and sometimes it’s just a rack of bare metal servers in a data center.”

One of the top strengths of this approach, said Kontsevoy, is that image-based deployments allow applications to be deployed into restricted environments, such as in another organization’s infrastructure.

“Traditional Kubernetes deployments only work when developers have full access to the infrastructure,” he said. “Gravity removes this restriction,” allowing developers to build complex cloud-native applications and then publish them as a downloadable Kubernetes Appliance, which can then be downloaded by enterprise buyers to install on their own public or private cloud, according to Kontsevoy.

“Developers can build an application for their own organization and publish its image for the internal ops team to create thousands of 100% identical Kubernetes clusters,” he said. “This dramatically reduces the operational overhead of managing a large number of Kubernetes clusters, especially when compliance is important because all Gravity clusters are 100% identical to each other.”

So far, Gravitational doesn’t have a formal channel program or strategy in place, but several small systems integrators, including Cloud Posse and CloudOps, have announced that they are working with customers to integrate Gravitational’s products.

A growing number of companies say they are offering products to make Kubernetes easier to use for IT departments, including products that use web user interfaces on top of Kubernetes APIs, said Kontsevoy. “That makes it somewhat easier for engineers to play with this technology in the lab, but these offerings do not add much value for production workloads.

Gravity takes a different approach, he said, by focusing on using automating to remove complexity and then hiding it inside a cluster image which runs by itself. “Gravity injects its own Kubernetes Hypervisor into each image — you can think about it as a robot that manages your Kubernetes cluster for you,” he said.

Also unique in Gravity, according to…

…Kontsevoy, is that all Gravity clusters created from an image can dial back home to receive updates from the image publisher, even if they’re running inside third party environments, behind firewalls or in other scenarios. “This erases the difference of ‘my cloud vs. your cloud,’ allowing organizations to easily run Kubernetes workloads on each other’s environments. This enables the ‘app follows data’ model, when the geographical location of data, access latency and compliance are a major concern.”

At its core, Gravity is reminiscent of the introduction of virtualization, said Kontsevoy.

Back then systems administrators manually provisioned individual servers and various companies offered easy to understand web UIs to visually represent server states. “That’s exactly what Kubernetes management looks today — with commercial and open source web UIs and each cluster treated as a fragile pet. Virtualization allows developers to capture the server state in a single file and then use that file to programmatically create thousands of identical servers, drastically reducing the operational overhead and allowing third parties to download their server images, or virtual appliances, as VMware called them.”

And that’s what Gravity does today, for Kubernetes clusters, he said. “This enables, for the first time, true application portability for complex, cloud-native applications that require many servers to run.”

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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