Comparison of Gravity to Alternative Solutions
The goal of the paper is to describe the design of Gravity and enumerate how it differs from alternative solutions that deliver and manage Kubernetes distributions and Kubernetes applications.
Kubernetes has become the leading emerging system for the orchestration of containers. It was developed by Google to be an open sourced version of their internal system for cluster management, Borg. Open sourced in June 2014, Kubernetes has seen widespread adoption despite being a relatively new technology. On its first anniversary of being open sourced, Kubernetes boasted of having over 30,000 commits, 800 contributors and 230 years of coding effort contributed toward the project. In July, 2018 it was given the OSCON Most Impact Award.
The popularity of Kubernetes can be partially attributed to the reputation of its founding company and the fact that it is now truly open and managed by an independent organization, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (“CNCF”). However, from a product perspective many have attributed Kubernetes’ success due to its flexibility, modularity and extensibility. Kubernetes is compatible with many different application architectures and technologies - it does not require wholesale modifications to the applications it manages.
As with any rapidly adopted open source technology, a number of third party vendors emerge with offerings that are either focused on supporting the open source technology, offering an opinionated version of the upstream distribution or offering supporting tools like monitoring or workflow tooling or other higher-level abstractions on top of the technology. This has been especially true with Kubernetes as it has the potential to disrupt the cloud software space, which is estimated to grow to $113 billion in 2019.
The extent of this ecosystem can be represented by the number of vendors included in the The CNCF Cloud Native Interactive Landscape. As of August 14, 2018, there were 567 different offerings from companies with a market cap of $6.89T and funding of $19.7B. Given the relative young age and the large size of the ecosystem, compounded by the tendency for enterprise software vendors to make generic claims regarding the capabilities of their software, it can be difficult to differentiate between the solutions.
In this paper we attempt to describe how Gravity was designed and what makes it different from other vendors that we are often compared to in the space. As a caveat, Gravity was not designed for organizations that are comfortable using a single cloud provider, so we will not include them in this comparison. If you only need or want to use a single cloud provider, their native Kubernetes distribution is likely the best choice for you.