Kubernetes is a part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) which helps handle containers seamlessly. It might have its own API and a command-line interface, but to implement it in production, you need extra tools by your side.

There are mainly three ways through which you can implement Kubernetes:

1. Vanilla Kubernetes: The most basic installation of Kubernetes which it contains all the necessary features
2. Kuberetes Distribution: It is a Kubernetes vendor-managed distribution which not only contains all the features present in Vanilla but also has additional features provided by the vendor. This includes Canonical Distribution, Rancher, and Tectonic
3. Platform as a Service (PaaS): You get a platform to implement the Kubernetes from start to end, including running builds, testing, staging, and deploying. This includes OpenShift and DEIS

In this article, we will be discussing why OpenShift as a PaaS is the best option for enterprise Kubernetes adoption.

Service Overview

Vanilla Kubernetes

As we mentioned above, Vanilla is the most basic installation of Kubernetes. It’s free to use with no limitations, but that means there is no dedicated support. You will have to completely rely on in-house experts for implementation, and if there is an issue, there is a large community that can help you out.

Being plugin-based, Vanilla Kubernetes allows you to use different components. In fact, there are also many third-party plug-ins available that you can use according to your requirements.

CoreOS Tectonic

Backed by CoreOS, which has a funding of $50 million, Tectonic provides you with vendor-managed distribution. With highly vested interests in Kubernetes, CoreOS is also responsible for etcd, which is a globally distributed key-value store that forms the core storage of Kubernetes. Available as a freemium version, Tectonic can prove to be useful for enterprises as well as individual users.

Tectonic has features like seamless upgrades, user management, log management, and much more.

RedHat OpenShift

Supported and developed by RedHat, OpenShift has put Kubernetes at the core with its second version. With RedHat supporting the project in full throttle, it has a better foundation for enterprises to invest in.

Since OpenShift is a Platform as a Service, it is able to handle the entire software development lifecycle process including building runs, access control, managing image repository and deploying images.

Difference in Infrastructure

There is no denying that Vanilla Kubernetes supports the largest number of hardware — from bare metal to private and public cloud. But with the flexibility comes complexity, which you will face while setting up the networking infrastructure. Some plugins can help you with internal networking, but you will still have to handle external networking manually.

Tectonic, on the other hand, supports bare metal and AWS installation but support for OpenStack and Azure is still in alpha.

You can install OpenShift on just about any virtual machine, and there is also support for bare metal.

While Vanilla Kubernetes is extremely complicated to handle, Tectonic and OpenShift hide the complexity, making it easy for users to work and implement containership
Installation and updates

Installation and updates

While Vanilla Kubernetes has a number of automated tools like kubeadm (creates out of the box secure cluster with mechanisms like RBAC) and kops (used to deploy Kubernetes clusters to AWS) that can help you install it on different platforms, there are still no set guidelines for installation which can often lead to confusion. And with no dedicated support, you are left on your own with the support from the community forum.

With Tectonic, there are two ways to install it — Terraform based installation and PXE based graphical installation. Compared to others, Tectonic provides the easiest installation setup.

To install OpenShift, you can either go for a container based installation or the default method, which is the RPM (RedHat Package Manager). OpenShift’s official website provides thorough documentation of the entire installation process. You can easily check the documentation to customize configurations according to your requirements.

When it comes to updates, Vanilla Kubernetes is always the first one to get the latest releases and Tectonic gets the update right after a new Kubernetes version. Though, OpenShift is not always that quick to roll out updates with a new version release.

Licensing and Support

Vanilla Kubernetes is free, and hence there are no licensing requirements.

Tectonic is free for users that have up to 10 nodes. After that, you have to pay for each extra node annually. If you want to have 24/7 phone and ticket support, then you will have to opt for the premium plan.

OpenShift provides the following variations:

1- OpenShift Origin: This is free, and there are no licensing issues. Though you only get community support with this option
2- OpenShift Online and OpenShift Container Platform: RedHat provides commercial support with these options, and you also get access to more than 50 applications that you can use in the OpenShift ecosystem. Of course, there are chargeable.

Why OpenShift is the easiest way for enterprise Kubernetes adoption

With Vanilla Kubernetes, you get access to the latest releases and features immediately. It is also free with no licensing limitations. But, the complexity of its installation process proves to be a hindrance, and you would also need in-house experts to handle everything. Alternatively, you will have to spend time and money training your existing team.

Tectonics is not technically free. You can only use it for free for up to 10 nodes. If you want to go over that limit, then you will have to pay extra. Not to mention, you will also have to pay extra to get 24/7 support, irrespective of how many nodes you use. In most cases, Tectronics is preferred when you already have tooling around your application, and you just need a safe production grade installation.

OpenShift is the best and easiest way because it provides PaaS, so you don’t need any existing tooling, and you can focus on your application code while utilizing all the tools present on the platform.

Also, with the option of OpenShift Origin and OpenShift Online that has premium support, its suitable for both cash-strapped individuals and enterprises.

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