The never-ending process of technological evolution through abstraction means that as old silos are broken down, new ones inevitably form. As public clouds removed the need for some spanner-wielding skills, they became silos themselves, locking in users through expensive data egress and service specialisations. Users adept at finding their way around AWS can find that doing the same jobs on Azure or GCP is a steep learning curve.
You can move data out of a proprietary storage system and into a more open one, but then you're dependent on security professionals who know how to shore up the new systems, and these may be lacking - as the number of IP-facing S3 buckets and MongoDB stores will attest.
Now we're seeing the start of the multi-cloud era, where data and applications can float from cloud to cloud using containers and Kubernetes, and hyperconvergence is even starting to allow whole mission-critical workloads to become cloud-agnostic, but this in turn has created a new silo of specialist who knows how to properly configure and optimise the platform of choice.
This, of course, leaves gaps to be filled by third-party providers, hence the large ecosystem that's built up around Kubernetes. A new addition to this ecosystem is Appvia, a London-based software consultancy with a product called Kore. The gap it is seeking to fill is making it easy to be cloud-agnostic in a secure way. The company has built systems for customers including the Bank of England and the Home Office and co-founder and CEO Jon Shanks, said the thinking behind Kore is informed by the experience of using Agile in large projects such as these.
"We looked at trying to get consistency through some form of product engineering. DevOps is great, but it doesn't necessarily stop a person reinventing the wheel, or succumbing to project pressures and creating very customised solutions in isolation."
With all the various cloud, data centre and hybrid options out there, the only common element in a typical cloud-native stack is Kubernetes, he went on. So, the team looked to make the process of deploying and managing Kubernetes clusters consistently and at scale easier for all members of the DevOps team, reducing the need for specialist skills.
Kore works across managed Kubernetes services on AWS and GCP, with Azure support to be added shortly, said Shanks. The idea is that EKS and GKE services are managed from a single control pane, able to pick the right tool for the job wherever it happens to reside.
"We just reuse the managed service offerings within those clouds, but we just make it very simple to consume it, and we make it more developer based, we're trying to commoditise it."
Most recently Appvia has been working on creating secure default templates for cluster provisioning. With so many configuration options to choose from when working across environments, it can be easy for a multifunctional DevOps team to leave vulnerabilities, Shanks explained.
"When you start making things a bit more commoditised you're dumbing down the service to a degree. What you're saying is you don't really need to know a huge amount of information to be able to consume this thing, and the minute you do that, you introduce risk because you're essentially removing any expertise or knowledge."
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