With advent of micro-services, there is a lot of application transformation going on across various domains. The simplicity of container runtime to make it lean and powerful prospects of Kubernetes makes it a powerful system to host containerised applications which is the essence of affinity towards cloud native applications.
With that said, a container runtime and powerful container orchestration system like Kubernetes is not enough to make an enterprise solution, it needs more, much more such as operations management, DevOps integration etc.
IBM Cloud Private (ICP) is a complete solution with Kubernetes platform which has been curated to make it enterprise ready, stitching together all required functionalities, testing it against enterprise level requirements and then bundling it to make it even more simple to adopt to such model.
ICP provides an application platform for developing and managing containerized applications on premises or on cloud environments retaining control over it. It is an integrated environment for managing containers that includes the container orchestrator Kubernetes, a private image repository, a management console, and monitoring frameworks.
So in a nutshell, IBM Cloud Private (ICP) is a bundle of :
- Kubernetes based container platform
- Optimised runtimes such as automation patterns, container images, orchestration build packs etc
- A set of other common services such as Prometheus, Grafana, ELK stack etc
- IBM Middleware, Data & Analytics services
- Enterprise level Metering system
- Key Management Vault
- Cloud Foundry, for prescribed application development and deployment
How does ICP fit in an Enterprise ?
Providing runtime and scheduling of containerised workloads:
ICP uses Docker container runtime engine to host containerised workloads which lets developer build and ship applications with great extent of ease and simplicity. Kubernetes brings orchestration primitives to support different styles of workloads such as stateless, stateful, batch jobs, daemon sets etc
Every container, each application generated logs, which are critical for anyone to sustain to detect, debug any failure or potential failure in systems in production environment. It is worthwhile to note here that breaking down applications into tiny micro services is great but it brings in more complexity in terms of transactions with in an application which is again vital to manage since it is an essential part of any application which widens the horizon for logging as well. IBM containers use filebeat to stream these logs to the ELK stack (ElasticSearch, Logstash and Kibana). Both ELK and filebeat are part of IBM Cloud Private
Every container must have its health monitored. Although Kubernetes will ensure that failed pods are restarted smoothly leveraging basic liveliness probes, but it is not enough to leave containers and hosted applications unmonitored. Every container produces health metrics. Those health metrics and custom metrics provides insight and building block for alerts and dashboard. For monitoring and dashboarding, Prometheus and Grafana are part of IBM Cloud Private
Usage and Chargeback
For multitenant and provider’s environment, metering and chargeback is an essential part. IBM Metering provides good level of such information which can be pulled down to namespace level as well. IBM Metering is a part of IBM Cloud Private Suite
Containers are constantly changing. Ability to detect and getting rid of detected vulnerabilities is a definite must any enterprise level solution. IBM Vulnerability Advisor, which is a part of IBM Cloud Private, lets you scan containers / images against vulnerabilities, organisational policies, defined container configs etc with defined policies which are customisable.
Hybridity for workloads
IBM Cloud Automation Manager (ICAM), which leverages Terraform under the covers, lets you create IBM Cloud Private hybrid environments which gives you heterogeneity and required flexibility for placing containerised workloads. ICAP is a part of ICP as well
Although there is a lot of transformation of applications going on today, but most of the applications are still not containerised. There are associated challenges and customer are looking for assistance to modernise these applications. IBM Transformation Advisor, which is a part of IBM Cloud Private suite, enables insights into existing applications and provides recommendation for application modernisation
Rapid creating of new Apps
IBM Microclimate is an end to end development environment that lets you rapidly create, edit, and deploy applications. Applications are run in containers from day one and can be delivered into production on Kubernetes through an automated DevOps pipeline using Jenkins. Microclimate can be installed locally or on IBM Cloud Private.
A rich catalog of content
All Customers would want to be up and running with the K8S stack as quickly as possible. Which is where IBM Cloud Private provides easy to use, extend and compose catalog of IBM and 3rd party content as part of images, helm charts etc along with the secured private repos.