GCP Marketplace beats AWS, Azure to Kubernetes app store


Google Cloud Platform has made the first foray into a new frontier of Kubernetes ease of use with a cloud app store that includes apps preconfigured to run smoothly on the notoriously persnickety container orchestration platform.

As Kubernetes becomes the de facto container orchestration standard for enterprise DevOps shops, helping customers tame the notoriously complex management of the platform has become de rigueur for software vendors and public cloud service providers. Google stepped further into that territory with GCP Marketplace, a Kubernetes app store with application packages that can automatically be deployed onto container clusters with one click and then billed through Google Cloud Platform as a service.

A search of the AWS Marketplace for “Kubernetes” turned up Kubernetes infrastructure packages by Rancher, Bitnami and CoreOS, but not prepackaged apps from vendors such as Nginx and Elastic ready to be deployed on Kubernetes clusters, which is what GCP Marketplace offers. Another search of the Azure Marketplace returned similar results.

Just because Google is first to market with this Kubernetes app store doesn’t mean that what the company has done is magic.

“These marketplaces are based on Kubernetes template technologies such as Helm charts, so they’re widely available to everyone,” said Gary Chen, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass. “I’m sure if [AWS and Azure] don’t have it, they are already working on something like this.”

Google executives said Helm charts factored into some of the app packages it created with partners, but in some cases it created GCP Marketplace offerings by way of its work with independent software vendors.

“Our approach gives vendors flexibility to use Helm or other packaging mechanisms, given that there isn’t a clear standard today,” the company said through a spokesperson.

GCP Marketplace Kubernetes apps
A screenshot of Kubernetes apps in the revamped GCP Marketplace.

Initially, GCP Marketplace apps offer click-to-deploy support onto Kubernetes clusters that run in Google Kubernetes Engine, and GKE does telemetry monitoring and logging on those apps in addition to offering billing support.

But there’s nothing that precludes these packages to eventually run on premises or even in other public cloud providers’ infrastructures, said Jennifer Lin, product director for Google Cloud.

“It’s always within the realm of possibility, but not something we’re announcing today,” she said.

There is precedent for GCP products with third-party cloud management capabilities — the Google Stackdriver cloud monitoring tool, for example, can be used with AWS and Azure resources.

Initial app partners include the usual suspects among open source cloud-native infrastructure and middleware projects such as GitLab, Couchbase, CloudBees, Cassandra, InfluxDB, Elasticsearch, Prometheus, Nginx, RabbitMQ and Apache Spark. Commonly used web apps such as WordPress and a container security utility from Aqua Security Software will also be available in the initial release of GCP Marketplace.

Mainstream enterprise customers will look for more traditional apps such as MySQL, SQL Server and Oracle databases, as well as back-office and productivity apps. Lin said Google plans more mainstream app support, but she declined to specify which apps are on the GCP Marketplace roadmap.

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