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Oracle’s Container Engine for Kubernetes to offer managed virtual nodes

Oracle said Monday that it is adding virtual nodes to its managed Kubernetes service, called Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes (OKE), in an effort to allow enterprises to run development operations without having to manage any infrastructure.

One of the most fundamental building blocks of Kubernetes, nodes are physical or virtual machines that form clusters that, in turn, run Kubernetes and the containers managed by that particular instance of the orchestration system.

OKE’s new virtual nodes, which were first announced by the company in October last year, will remove the operational overhead of managing, scaling, upgrading and troubleshooting the infrastructure of worker nodes (servers), Vijay Kumar said. , vice president of product marketing, app development services and developer relations at Oracle.

OKE already offers a managed service that provides what the company calls managed Kubernetes nodes to enterprises. These nodes, according to Oracle, run on a shared operating model under which customers control the configuration of the nodes based on their requirements and Oracle is responsible for provisioning and updating the software on the managed nodes.

Virtual nodes remove all responsibilities from companies and can automatically scale as needed, Kumar said, adding that the new virtual nodes could deliver cost savings for many companies depending on the scale of their development operations.

OKE bets on aggressive prices

Oracle claims that OKE is much cheaper than other Kubernetes services, including Amazon EKS with Amazon Fargate, Microsoft Azure AKS Virtual Nodes (using Azure Container Instances), and Google Cloud’s GKE Autopilot.

“Customers will be able to boost their businesses while realizing cost savings of up to 50% compared to other cloud providers,” Kumar said. OKE is priced the same across all regions, in contrast to competing Kubernetes services from rival public cloud service providers, where prices vary from region to region, Kumar added.

The OKE price, according to Oracle, is calculated based on the sum of the CPU fee, the memory fee, the boot volume fee, the node fee, and the cluster fee.

While the boot volume fee is only calculated for managed nodes, the node fee only applies to virtual nodes, Oracle said.

Oracle is using these aggressive pricing to gain a larger share of the container infrastructure market, where it currently has very little presence, according to analysts.

“Oracle is a very small player in the container infrastructure market and is not among the top vendors in this market,” said an analyst who did not want to be named, explaining the aggressive pricing strategy.

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Another reason Oracle is doubling down on Kubernetes is growing demand from enterprises due to the need to accelerate the development of cloud-native applications to serve customers, said Gary Chen and Lara Greden, research directors at IDC. .

“Our most recent forecast for the container infrastructure software market puts it growing at 26.6% over five years. Note that this is for container orchestration services only and does not count infrastructure as a service (IaaS) resources consumed by these services,” Chen said.

A survey conducted by IDC in the US showed that 45% of companies surveyed are increasing spending on Kubernetes compared to other areas such as database management, application platforms, event streaming, and automation of robotic processes.

Workload portability is another reason behind the growing popularity of Kubernetes, said Holger Muller, principal analyst at Constellation Research. “Workload portability can be difficult if it’s picked up outside of container dependencies, which might require most use cases.”

Financially supported SLAs

In addition to service level agreements (SLAs) for the nodes, Oracle said it will provide “financially supported SLAs” for Kubernetes API server uptime and availability.

Additional new OKE features include a lifecycle management service along with the ability to identify workloads.

The lifecycle management service allows companies to install and configure their chosen ancillary operating software or related applications, the company said, adding that the service can manage the entire lifecycle of this software, from initial configuration and implementation to continuous updates and patches.

Management service plugins include essential software deployed on the cluster, such as CoreDNS and kube proxy, and optional software operators, such as Kubernetes Control Panel, Oracle Database, Oracle WebLogic, and more.

The new features are also an indicator of a new strategy by Oracle for its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) business, said Lee Sustar, principal analyst at Forrester. “OCI is positioning itself to be not only an infrastructure for traditional Oracle workloads, but also a provider of the types of cloud-native services most often used in enterprise-class IT. Kubernetes managed services are critical to that.”

In addition to the management service, OKE will now include the ability for organizations to identify workloads at the pod level. The pods, which are the smallest building block of Kubernetes, add up to form a node.

This pod-level capability will strengthen OKE’s granular security, which is one of the most challenging aspects of cloud-native development, Sustar said.

OKE is now in general availability.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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