Google Container Engine, or GKE for short (the K stands for Kubernetes), is Google’s offering in the space of Kubernetes runtime deployments. When used in conjunction with a couple of other components from the Google Cloud Platform, GKE provides a one-stop shop for creating your own Kubernetes environment, on which you can deploy all of the containers and pods that you wish without having to worry about managing Kubernetes masters and capacity. This article outlines how GKE works and how to get up and running with GKE.
Background: Google and Kubernetes
Google founded the Kubernetes open source project based on some existing code from its infrastructure, which has been built and refined using Google’s lessons learned from running their entire platform on containers well before Docker standardized the format, which sparked mass adoption. With everything from ads and search to mail running in containers, Google rightly predicted that management and orchestration would be key to containers’ success in the marketplace.
Key Benefits of Google Container Engine
GKE has a number of features that take advantage not only of Kubernetes, but also the rest of the Google Cloud Platform.
Its key features include:
- Security is handled by the Google security team.
- Compliance with HIPAA and PCI DSS is already managed.
- Kubernetes instances are fully clustered, and will auto scale.
- It’s based on the upstream Kubernetes project, which enables workload portability to other Kubernetes instances, whether they are another cloud provider or on-premises.
Getting Started with GKE
Following is a primer for getting up and running with GKE.
- Log in to the Google Container Engine page inside the Google Cloud Platform console.
- Create a project.
- Enable billing.
- Wait for the services to be set up. Once set up, you can create clusters to host applications and services.
- On the Create a container cluster screen, you can specify which one of Google’s data centers is hosting deployed artifacts.
- And you can enable other features, like authorization and automatic updates.
- GKE now has a functioning Kubernetes cluster you can connect to and use as you wish.
The single biggest drawback of using GKE for your Kubernetes runtime is that you are tied to Google’s Cloud Platform. If you wish to use GKE, but also want to be able to support multiple clouds, an option like Rancher can be a help. Rancher provides a unified front end for multiple container orchestration frameworks and environments, giving you a “single pane of glass” for deploying containers wherever you need.
If you want to try Kubernetes, or currently use it and want to be able to scale without needing all the expertise in-house, GKE is a fantastic single-cloud solution for running Kubernetes. Many companies never get to the point of having a single cloud provider as a feasible option, but using a product like Rancher allows a company to leverage existing investment and expand to other cloud providers according to the dictates of customer demand.
About the Author
Vince Power is a Solution Architect who has a focus on cloud adoption and technology implementations using open source-based technologies. He has extensive experience with core computing and networking (IaaS), identity and access management (IAM), application platforms (PaaS), and continuous delivery.