Top Managed Kubernetes Providers: A Comparison

Suppose you don’t want to adapt your infrastructure for Kubernetes or would rather avoid the complexity of building it from the ground up. In that case, you could turn to a managed Kubernetes provider to do the legwork for you.

But, not all providers are created equal, and they vary in terms of what they offer. Let’s look at how the major providers stack up.

Five Major Managed Kubernetes Providers

Before diving into the key advantages and drawbacks, let’s unpack the industry’s leading managed Kubernetes providers, and get a basic understanding of what they do.

VMware Tanzu

VMware Tanzu for Kubernetes provides container deployment, scaling, and management with tools, automation, and insights. It’s built on top of vSphere, VMWare’s cloud computing virtualization platform and includes deep Kubernetes support.

A major advantage to using VMWare is that organizations can build and manage Kubernetes environments alongside traditional VMware workloads from a single platform. In addition, they also get strong security, backup, and utilization management features.

Google Anthos

Google Anthos is an enterprise-grade container orchestration and management service that extends Google Cloud services and engineering practices to multiple clouds and on-premises environments. It’s the heart of Google Cloud’s hybrid and multi-cloud technology.

Anthos offers a single, consistent experience for managing Kubernetes workloads with a single-pane-of-glass view it provides across all clusters. As a result, organizations can define, view, and centrally manage cloud configurations running anywhere.

Azure Arc

Azure Arc is Azure’s fully managed container orchestration service for Kubernetes. It brings together a set of technologies that extends Azure security and cloud-native services to hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

With this tool, organizations can attach, connect, and configure Kubernetes clusters running anywhere, including ones running on-premise or on other cloud service providers like Google Cloud.

Rancher

Rancher is an open-source multi-cluster orchestration platform that lets organizations deploy, manage, and secure enterprise Kubernetes. Since Rancher is open source, it offers plenty of flexibility in terms of what components can be used. Plus, Rancher seamlessly integrates Kubernetes with different tools.

Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is a hybrid cloud and Kubernetes-container platform for enterprise app development and container management.

OpenShift is highly customizable and supports multi-tenancy, has a built-in dedicated image registry, and provides extended support for CI/CD tooling. Together, these features make it easier for teams to provision, deploy, scale, and manage containers more efficiently while avoiding vendor lock-in. Unfortunately, platform operators are still left to manage the components themselves, requiring more platform-specific knowledge and time.

Get a deeper dive on Red Hat OpenShift here.

Key Considerations

Now that we have an understanding of what each provider does, let’s look at key advantages and potential pitfalls.

 

Provider Key Advantages Downsides
VMWare Tanzu
  • Complete multi-cloud orchestration system
  • Support for Service Mesh and Global Control Plane
  • Support for most container deployments, including comprehensive support across public cloud providers
  • More expensive
  • More complex tooling
  • Less flexibility for open-source components
  • Since it’s built on top of VSphere, it can’t run on its own
  • Organizations must be deep in the VMWare ecosystem already to use it
Azure Arc
  • Support for server deployments of applications that haven’t been containerized yet
  • Currently in public preview. Not recommended for production environments
SUSE Rancher
  • Integrates with a variety of tools, providing more flexibility
  • Allows for the deployment of multi-clusters across multiple clouds
  • Only an orchestration tool
Red Hat OpenShift
  • Allows developers to provision, deploy, scale, and manage containers from one platform
  • Operator model that enables cluster automation
  • Less flexibility since many tools are pre-configured
  • Has to be configured and set up manually before use
Google Anthos
  • Kubernetes is a core part of the tool. It’s created by the creator of Kubernetes
  • Complete application development, orchestration, and hybrid cloud suite
  • Enriches Kubernetes management with peripheral capabilities
  • Flexible deployment of workloads, including bare metal, allows the possibility of reducing licensing costs for physical nodes
  • Microservice traffic management across multiple endpoint types, including VM
  • VM to container migration tooling accelerating relocation of legacy workloads
  • Brings a more “managed service” experience to off-cloud and other-cloud environments.
  • You pay for the convenience of a “managed service”-like experience.

Our Pick: Google Anthos

While each managed Kubernetes provider has its strengths, Kubernetes is the core of Google Anthos, and it’s our pick based on freedom and flexibility. Other key benefits include components like Anthos Service Mesh, a supported edition of Istio, and Anthos Configuration Management, a service to help manage clusters at scale.

Talk to 66degrees’ cloud experts to learn how Anthos can help you reach your goals. As a Google Cloud Platform Partner, 66degrees helps organizations realize the full value of the cloud with leading-edge insights and innovation.

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