Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux desktop operating system, has expanded the range of platforms that its IoT-oriented Kubernetes distribution MicroK8s can run on.
As well as 42 versions of Linux, the company has provided native installers to enable Windows and macOS users to deploy it too.
Kubernetes was originally a Google project before being open sourced. It automates many of the processes involved in managing containerised applications and has rapidly become a core technology for those wishing to deploy scalable microservices-based applications in the cloud.
MicroK8s is a single-node, containerised Kubernetes distribution which developers can used to test code against. It's also suitable for edge computing and IoT devices such as the ARM-based Raspberry Pi or connected cars, and nodes can also be aggregated into local clusters.
As a lightweight Kubernetes distribution designed for laptop rather than server use, it comes with the expected bare-bones services such as the api-server, controller-manager, scheduler, kubelet, kubectl, cni and kube-proxy but also adds services such as Istio and Linkerd service meshes, the Knative serverless platform, Fluentd, Prometheus, Jaeger, Grafana and Metrics for monitoring and the Kubeflow machine learning platform.
The idea behind MicroK8s is to make deployment simple for individual developers and small teams using laptops, so it's light on battery and memory use. It also has Nvidia GPU support to appeal to developers of machine learning applications and is an upstream release, meaning it gets updated every three months or so, in line with the standard version of Kubernetes and is compatible with all the cloud-hosted version of the container orchestration platform.
Windows and Mac users can install MicroK8s using Multipass, which creates a Linux virtual machine (VM). On Windows this is done via Microsoft Hyper-V or Oracle's VirtualBox, while on the Mac the same duties are performed by Homebrew, all dependencies being handled by the installer. For Linux users, MicroK8s is available as a Snap package.
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