Spectro Cloud brings the power of a managed Kubernetes platform to edge computing

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Spectro Cloud, the Bay Area-based modern infrastructure startup, announced the availability of Palette Edge – a comprehensive platform for deploying and managing Kubernetes at scale across multiple edge computing environments.

The rise of containers has prompted cloud providers to provide managed Kubernetes-as-a-Service (KaaS) offerings. Services like Google Kubernetes Engine, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, Azure Kubernetes Service handle most of the heavy lifting involved in deploying, configuring and managing the clusters. Customers using KaaS offerings focus on the workload while the cloud provider manages the infrastructure.

Move to the edge and customers are on their own. You have to choose everything from OS, Kubernetes distribution, storage, network, service mesh and observability components. Assembling the stack by choosing the right component from dozens of open source and commercial software becomes a daunting task. Customers quickly find that this stack has too many moving parts. Choosing one version of an open source component over another can alter or destroy the entire infrastructure stack.

Even with the right combination of cloud-native edge stack components, customers often struggle with day-2 operations of the infrastructure. This includes upgrades and patches to the operating system, the Kubernetes distribution, and other cluster building blocks. The main challenge here is to perform maintenance at scale, impacting tens of thousands of clusters running in a highly distributed environment.

When running Kubernetes in the cloud or in the corporate data center, customers delegate the above decisions and operations to the cloud provider or platform provider. When it comes to the edge, there is no managed service or KaaS offering that promises to extend the flexibility of the cloud to the edge. The only exception is signing up for a combination of hardware/software services delivered through appliances such as AWS Outposts and Azure Stack HCI. Customers using traditional OEM or custom hardware configurations must take care of end-to-end management of hardware, infrastructure software, and workloads.

Spectro Cloud’s Palette Edge platform promises to take the performance of managed Kubernetes to the edge. It handles two major challenges – assembling the cluster infrastructure based on the industry’s best OSS/commercial components from the cloud-native ecosystem, and performing day-2 operations of the cluster and workloads at scale.

Palette has two tiers – the centralized management tier and the data tier that runs at each edge location. The management plane provides the API and user experience to define the reusable cluster profiles. The cluster profile is a declarative approach to define the stack based on choice of Kubernetes distribution, container runtime, cloud native storage, and network. Additional components such as service mesh, observability and CI/CD software can be easily defined within the cluster profile.

The data plane runs an agent that acts as a proxy for the palette, which runs on the edge. The agent is expected to be installed on an edge appliance that provides the connection between the management plane and the on-premises environment. Customers can transfer the cluster definition to the agent and translate it into one or more clusters. The agent is responsible for ongoing upgrades and patch management.

Palette’s centralized management layer allows customers to take control of tens of thousands of clusters to manage day 2 operations at scale. The palette effectively becomes the meta control plane that runs the control plane of each edge cluster.

Palette Edge is built on Real Metal – a bare metal platform from Spectro Cloud for running cloud-native software. Real Metal is tightly integrated with Canonical’s popular Metal as a Service (MaaS). Spectro Cloud has extended the open-source Kubernetes cluster API to treat MaaS like any other cloud provider and manage the infrastructure lifecycle.

Palette Edge can run the Kubernetes infrastructure in either native bare metal or virtualized mode. In native mode, the containerized version of the entire stack runs without the overhead of virtualization. For environments running a hypervisor, the Kubernetes infrastructure can run inside a set of VMs.

With Palette Edge, Spectro Cloud addresses the pain point of deploying and managing Kubernetes at scale at the edge. It promises to push the power and flexibility of the cloud to the edge through a managed Kubernetes-as-a-Service offering.

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