Google's New 'Autopilot' for Kubernetes

Google's New 'Autopilot' for Kubernetes

We will learn Google’s New ‘Autopilot’ for Kubernetes. Kubernetes guru Kelsey Hightower on GKE's Autopilot, a service hyper-focused on running Kubernetes workloads on top of a secure and fully automated operating system.

Like most Kubernetes releases and services, the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) still requires a fair bit of manual assembly and tinkering to optimize for your needs. But recently, Google introduced GKE Autopilot, an easier take on managed Kubernetes. Its job: Enable you to focus on your software, while Autopilot manages the infrastructure. What does that really mean? Kelsey Hightower, one of Kubernetes’ best-known leading figures and a Google Cloud principal developer advocate, explained to The New Stack what’s up with Autopilot.

According to Google, with Autopilot’s launch, GKE users can choose from two different modes of operation — each with its own level of control over GKE clusters and the relative responsibilities related to GKE. On the one side, you have GKE Standard, which is how Kubernetes has worked on the Google Cloud since the start. On the other, you have Autopilot.

“Autopilot represents many of the best practices advanced users land on when security and uptime are top priorities. That comes with tradeoffs,” Hightower explained. “Applications that require elevated privileges are blocked by default. This ensures GCP can offer SLAs at the application and cluster level.”

In short, Autopilot is GKE with additional guard rails, not training wheels. “Autopilot is a more managed Kubernetes and not a PaaS,” he said. The service comes with support for the same configuration objects as regular GKE — including deployments, jobs, config maps and secrets. This means most users can keep their existing workflows and high-level abstractions, such as Helm.

With Autopilot all node management operations are eliminated. This maximizes your cluster efficiency and helps to provide a stronger security posture.

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