Inside HPE’s new Kubernetes-based Container Platform for hybrid cloud implementations

A big challenge in the enterprise computing world is how to deal with legacy applications that do not easily move to the cloud. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. aims to help organizations to address this issue with its new HPE Container Platform, which it says can run both cloud-native and non-cloud-native applications.

“It is an enterprise solution that will run not only cloud-native applications, typically called microservices applications, but also legacy applications on Kubernetes. And it’s supported in a hybrid environment,” said Tom Phelan, fellow, big data and storage organization, at HPE. “So not only in main public cloud providers, but also on-premise.”

The HPE Container Platform, announced this week at the KubeCon 2019 conference in San Diego, is based upon Kubernetes, the open-source orchestrator for containers, which are executable packages of a piece of software that include everything needed to run them on many different types of infrastructure. The new container solution was built on the technology that came with the acquisition of BlueData Software Inc. last year and the purchase of MapR Technologies Inc. this year.

Phelan spoke with Stu Miniman, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, and guest host John Troyer, chief reckoner at TechReckoning, during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon event. They discussed the new HPE Container Platform, its development, and its applications (see the full interview with transcript here). (* Disclosure below.)

Automated infrastructure for providing solutions

The container platform is a necessary part of automated infrastructure for providing solutions as a service, according to Phelan. Historically, BlueData has specialized in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and big data, and developed a platform to containerize those applications.

“This made it easy for data scientists to stand up some clusters and then do the horizontal scalability, separate, compute, and storage so that you can scale your compute independent of your storage capacity,” Phelan said. “What we’re now doing as part of the HPE Container Platform is taking that same knowledge, expanding it to other applications beyond artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning.”

With the container platform, HPE has been moving forward with an open-source project known as KubeDirector. One part of KubeDirector’s functionality is to preserve root storage.

“If a container goes down, we are enabled to bring another instance of that container and have the same root storage,” Phelan explained. “So, it’ll look like a just a reboot to the node rather than a reinstall of that node.”

Another functionality of the Container Platform is to reduce risk with enterprise grade security, Phelan explained. HPE believes it can run containers on bare metal without having to compromise the company in areas of data security or persistence.

“The HPE Container Platform runs all virtual machines as reduced priority. We are not giving root priority or privileged priority to those containers,” Phelan stated. “So, we minimize the attack plane of the software running in the container by running it as an unprivileged user and then tightly controlling the container capabilities that are configured for a given container.”


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