Article | May 18, 2023
Why Should Companies Care about Data Virtualization?
Data is everywhere. With each passing day, companies generate more data than ever before, and what exactly can they do with all this data? Is it just a matter of storing it? Or should they manage and integrate their data from the various sources? How can they store, manage, integrate and utilize their data to gain information that is of critical value to their business?
As they say, knowledge is power, but knowledge without action is useless. This is where the Denodo Platform comes in. The Denodo Platform gives companies the flexibility to evolve their data strategies, migrate to the cloud, or logically unify their data warehouses and data lakes, without affecting business. This powerful platform offers a variety of subscription options that can benefit companies immensely.
For example, companies often start out with individual projects using a Denodo Professional subscription, but in a short period of time they end up adding more and more data sources and move on to other Denodo subscriptions such as Denodo Enterprise or Denodo Enterprise Plus. The upgrade process is very easy to establish; in fact, it can be done in less than a day once the cloud marketplace is chosen (Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). In as little as six weeks companies can realize real business benefits from managing and utilizing their data effectively.
A Bridging Layer
Data virtualization has been around for quite some time now. Denodo’s founders, Angel Viña and Alberto Pan, have been involved in data virtualization from as far back as the 1990’s. If you’re not familiar with data virtualization, here is a quick summary.
Data virtualization is the cornerstone to a logical data architecture, whether it be a logical data warehouse, logical data fabric, data mesh, or even a data hub. All of these architectures are best served by our principals Combine (bring together all your data sources), Connect (into a logical single view) and Consume (through standard connectors to your favorite BI/data science tools or through our easy-to-use robust API’s).
Data virtualization is the bridge that joins multiple data sources to fuel analytics. It is also the logical data layer that effectively integrates data silos across disparate systems, manages unified data for centralized security, and delivers it to business users in real time.
Economic Benefits in Less Than 6 weeks with Data Virtualization?
In a short duration, how can companies benefit from choosing data virtualization as a data management solution?
To answer this question, below are some very interesting KPI’s discussed in the recently released Forrester study on the Total Economic Impact of Data Virtualization. For example, companies that have implemented data virtualization have seen an 83% increase in business user productivity.
Mainly this is due to the business-centric way a data virtualization platform is delivered. When you implement data virtualization, you provide business users with an easy to access democratized interface to their data needs.
The second KPI to note is a 67% reduction in development resources. With data virtualization, you connect to the data, you do not copy it. This means once it is set up, there is a significant reduction in the need for data integration engineers, as data remains in the source location and is not copied around the enterprise.
Finally, companies are reporting a 65% improvement in data access speeds above and beyond more traditional approaches such as extract, transform, and load (ETL) processes.
A Modern Solution for an Age-Old Problem
To understand how data virtualization can help elevate projects to an enterprise level, we can share a few use cases in which companies have leveraged data virtualization to solve their business problems across several different industries.
For example, in finance and banking we often see use cases in which data virtualization can be used as a unifying platform to help improve compliance and reporting. In retail, we see use cases including predictive analytics in supply chains as well as next and best actions from a unified view of the customer. There are many uses for data virtualization in a wider variety of situations, such as in healthcare and government agencies. Companies use the Denodo Platform to help data scientists understand key trends and activities, both sociologically as well as economically.
In a nutshell, if data exists in more than one source, then the Denodo Platform acts as the unifying platform that connects, combines and allows users to consume the data in a timely, cost-effective manner.
Virtual Desktop Tools
Article | August 12, 2022
Learn setting up a Docker and Kubernetes environment with the right considerations and choose the best-suited software from ten leading tools, softwares and platforms for your business needs.
The blog discusses how Kubernetes and Docker can boost software development and deployment productivity. In addition, it covers the benefits of the role of Kubernetes in orchestrating containerized applications and best practices for implementing these technologies to improve efficiency and streamline workflows. Docker and Kubernetes are both essential containerization ecosystem utilities. Kubernetes, an excellent DevOps solution, manages and automates containers' deployment and scaling, along with operating across clusters of hosts, whereas Docker is used for creating and operating containers. The blog covers tips to consider while choosing tools/platforms. It further enlists ten platforms providing Kubernetes and Docker, featuring their offerings.
1. Considerations While Setting Up a Development Environment with Kubernetes and Docker
1.1 Fluid app delivery
A platform for application development must provide development teams with high velocity. Two factors contribute to high velocity: rapid application delivery and brief development cycles. Application platforms must support build processes that start with source code. The platforms must also facilitate the repetitive deployment of applications on any remote staging instance.
1.2 Polyglot support
Consistency is the defining characteristic of an application platform. On-demand, repetitive, and reproducible builds must be supported by the platform. Extending a consistent experience across all languages and frameworks elevates the platform experience. The platform must support a native build process and the ability to develop and customize this build process.
1.3 Baked-in security
Containerized environments are secured in a significantly different manner than conventional applications. A fundamental best practice is to utilize binaries compiled with all necessary dependencies. The build procedure should also include a directive to eliminate unnecessary components for the application's operation. Setting up a zero-trust architecture between platform components that orchestrate deployments significantly improves the workloads' security posture.
1.4 Adjustable abstractions
A platform with paved paths and the flexibility to accommodate the requirements of software engineering teams has a greater chance of success. Open-source platforms score highly in this regard, particularly those with modular architectures that allow the team to swap out parts as they adjust.
2.Top Tips to Consider While Choosing Tools and Platforms for Kubernetes and Docker
Configuring Kubernetes or Docker can be complex and resource-intensive. A production-ready platform will ensure having the necessary fully automated features without the need for configuration. Security is an essential aspect of production readiness. Additionally, automation is critical, as production readiness requires that the solution manage all cluster management duties. Automated backup, recovery, and restore capabilities must be considered. Also, ensure the high availability, scalability, and self-healing of the cluster's platform.
As the cloud and software evolve, a system's hosting location may affect its efficacy. The current trend is a multi-cloud strategy. Ensure that the platform can support abstracting from cloud or data center providers and building a shared infrastructure across clouds, cloud regions, and data centers, as well as assist in configuring them if required. According to a recent study, nearly one-third of organizations are already collaborating with four or more cloud service providers. (Source: Microsoft and 451 Research)
2.3 Ease of Administration
Managing a Docker or Kubernetes cluster is complex and requires various skill sets. Kubernetes generates a lot of unprocessed data, which must be interpreted to comprehend what's happening with the cluster. Early detection and intervention are crucial to disaster prevention. Identifying a platform that eliminates the issue of analyzing raw data is essential. By incorporating automated intelligent monitoring and alerts, such solutions can provide critical status, error, event, and warning data to take appropriate action.
2.4 Assistance and Training
As the organization begins to acquire Kubernetesor Docker skills, it is essential to have a vendor that can provide 24/7 support and training to ensure a seamless transition. Incorrect implementation will add a layer of complexity to infrastructure management. Leverage automation tools that offer the support needed to use Kubernetes and Docker without the management burden.
3. 10 Tools and Platforms Providing Kubernetes and Docker
3.1 Aqua Cloud Native Security Platform:
Aqua Security provides the Aqua Cloud Native Security Platform, a comprehensive security solution designed to protect cloud-native applications and microservices. Aqua offers end-to-end security for applications operating on Docker Enterprise Edition (Community Edition), protecting the DevOps pipeline and production workloads with complete visibility and control. It provides end-to-end security across the entire application lifecycle, from development to production, for both containerized and serverless workloads. In addition, it automates prevention, detection, and response across the whole application lifecycle to secure the build, cloud infrastructure, and operating workloads, regardless of where they are deployed.
3.2 Weave Gitops Enterprise
Weave GitOps Enterprise, a full-stack, developer-centric operating model for Kubernetes, creates and contributes to several open-source projects. Its products and services enable teams to design, build, and operate their Kubernetes platform at scale. Built by the creators of Flux and Flagger, Weave GitOps allows users to deploy and manage Kubernetes clusters and applications in the public or private cloud or their own data center. Weave GitOps Enterprise helps simplify Kubernetes with fully automated continuous delivery pipelines that roll out changes from development to staging and production. Weaveworks has used Kubernetes in production for over eight years and has developed that expertise into Weave GitOps Enterprise.
3.3 Mirantis Kubernetes Engine
Mirantis provides the Mirantis Kubernetes Engine, a platform designed to help organizations deploy, manage, and scale their Kubernetes clusters. It includes features such as container orchestration, automated deployment, monitoring, and high availability, all designed to help organizations build and run their applications at scale. Mirantis Kubernetes Engine also includes a set of tools for managing the lifecycle of Kubernetes clusters, including cluster deployment, upgrades, and patching. It also has security scanning and policy enforcement features, as well as integration with other enterprise IT systems such as Active Directory and LDAP.
3.4 Portworx by Pure Storage
Portworx's deep integration into Docker gives Portworx container data services benefits directly through the Docker Swarm scheduler. Swarm service creation brings the management capability of Portworx to the Docker persistent storage layer to avoid complex tasks such as increasing the storage pool without container downtime and problems like stuck EBS drives. Portworx is also a multi-cloud-ready Kubernetes storage and administration platform designed to simplify and streamline data management in Kubernetes. The platform abstracts the complexity of data storage in Kubernetes. Additionally, it serves as a software-defined layer that aggregates Kubernetes nodes' data storage into a virtual reservoir.
Platform9 provides a powerful IDE for developers for simplified in-context views of pods, logs, events, and more. Both development and operations teams can access the information they need in an instant, secured through SSO and Kubernetes RBAC. The industry’s first SaaS-managed approach combined with a best-in-class support and customer success organization with a 99.9% consistent CSAT rating delivers production-ready K8s to organizations of any size. It provides services to deploy a cluster instantly, achieve GitOps faster, and take care of every aspect of cluster management, including remote monitoring, self-healing, automatic troubleshooting, and proactive issue resolution, around the clock.
3.6 Kubernetes Network Security
Sysdig provides Kubernetes Network Security, a solution that offers cloud security from source to run. The product provides network security for Kubernetes environments by monitoring and blocking suspicious traffic in real time. It helps organizations protect their Kubernetes clusters against advanced threats and attacks. The product and Sysdig Secure offer Kubernetes Network Monitoring to investigate suspicious traffic and connection attempts, Kubernetes-Native Microsegmentation to enable microsegmentation without breaking the application, and Automated Network Policies to save time by automating Kubernetes network policies.
3.7 Kubernetes Operations Platform for Edge
Rafay delivers a production-ready Kubernetes Operations Platform for Edge, streamlining ongoing operations for edge applications. It provides centralized multi-cluster management to deploy, manage, and upgrade all Kubernetes clusters from a single console across all edge nodes. In addition, it offers comprehensive lifecycle management, with which users can quickly and easily provision Kubernetes clusters at the edge, where cluster updates and upgrades are seamless with no downtime. Furthermore, the KMC for Edge quickly integrates with enterprise-class SSO solutions such as Okta, Ping One, and Azure AD, among others. Other features include standardized clusters and workflows, integration and automation, and centralized logging and monitoring.
3.8 Opcito Technologies
Opcito provides simplified container management with efficient provisioning, deployment, scaling, and networking. Its application containerization expertise helps containerize existing and new applications and dependencies. Opcito is well-versed in leading container orchestration platforms like Docker Swarm and Kubernetes. While it helps choose the container platform that best suits specific application needs, it also helps with the end-to-end management of containers so clients can release applications faster and focus on innovation and business. The container management and orchestration services include: building secured microservices, Enterprise-scale Container Management and Orchestration, Orchestration, and Container Monitoring.
3.9 D2iQ Kubernetes Platform (DKP)
D2iQ (DKP) enables enterprises to take advantage of all the benefits of cloud-native Kubernetes while laying the groundwork for intelligent cloud-native innovation by simplifying Kubernetes deployment and maintenance. It simplifies and automates the most difficult parts of an enterprise Kubernetes deployment across all infrastructures. DKP helps enterprises easily overcome operational barriers and set them up in minutes and hours rather than weeks and months. In addition, DKP simplifies Kubernetes management through automation using GitOps workflow, observability, application catalog, real-time cost management, and more.
Spektra, by Diamanti, a multi-cluster management solution for DevOps and production teams, provides centralized multi-cluster management, a single control plane to deliver everything needed to provision and manage the lifecycle of multiple clusters. Spektra is built to cater to business needs, from air-gapped on-prem deployments to hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures. It also enables stretching resources across different clusters within the tenant. Furthermore, it allows you to move workloads and their associated data from one cluster to another directly from its dashboard. Spektra integrates with lightweight directory access protocols (LDAP) and Active Directory (AD) to enable user authentication and streamline resource access. In addition, it offers application migration, data mobility, and reporting.
It is evident that Kubernetes and Docker can significantly boost software development and deployment productivity. By adopting appropriate containerization platforms and leveraging Kubernetes for orchestration, organizations can streamline workflows, improve efficiency, and enhance the reliability of their applications. Furthermore, following the tips to choose the tools or platform carefully can further improve productivity.
Virtual Desktop Tools, Virtual Desktop Strategies
Article | June 8, 2023
The modern application world is advancing at an unprecedented rate. However, the new possibilities these transformations make available don’t come without complexities. IT teams often find themselves under pressure to keep up with the speed of innovation. That’s why VMware provides a production-ready container platform for customers that aligns to upstream Kubernetes, VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated (formerly known as VMware Enterprise PKS).
By working with VMware, customers can move at the speed their businesses demand without the headache of trying to run their operations alone. Our offerings help customers stay current with the open source community's innovations while having access to the support they need to move forward confidently.
Many changes have been made to Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated edition over the past year that are designed to help customers keep up with Kubernetes advancements, move faster, and enhance security.
The latest version, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.13, bumped to Kubernetes version 1.22 and removed beta APIs in favor of stable APIs that have since evolved from the betas.
Over time, some APIs will evolve. Beta APIs typically evolve more often than stable APIs and should therefore be checked before updates occur. The APIs listed below will not be served with v1.22 as they have been replaced by more stable API versions:
Beta versions of the ValidatingWebhookConfiguration and MutatingWebhookConfiguration API (the admissionregistration.k8s.io/v1beta1 API versions)
The beta CustomResourceDefinition API (apiextensions.k8s.io/v1beta1)
The beta APIService API (apiregistration.k8s.io/v1beta1)
The beta TokenReview API (authentication.k8s.io/v1beta1)
Beta API versions of SubjectAccessReview, LocalSubjectAccessReview, SelfSubjectAccessReview (API versions from authorization.k8s.io/v1beta1)
The beta CertificateSigningRequest API (certificates.k8s.io/v1beta1)
The beta Lease API (coordination.k8s.io/v1beta1)
All beta Ingress APIs (the extensions/v1beta1 and networking.k8s.io/v1beta1 API versions)
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated helps customers eliminate lengthy deployment and management processes with on-demand provisioning, scaling, patching, and updating of Kubernetes clusters.
To stay in alignment with the Kubernetes community, Containerd will be used as the default container runtime, although Docker can still be selected using the command-line interface (CLI) if needed.
Several updates have been made in regards to networking as well including support of Antrea and NSX-T enhancements.
With Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated version 1.10 and later, customers can leverage Antrea on install or upgrade to use Kubernetes network policies. This enables enterprises to get the best of both worlds: access to the latest innovation from Antrea and world-class support from VMware.
NSX-T was integrated with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated to simplify container networking and increase security. This has been enhanced so customers can now choose the policy API as an option on a fresh installation of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated. This means that users will have access to new features available only through NSX-T policy API. This feature is currently in beta.
In addition, more NSX-T and NSX Container Plug-in (NCP) configuration is possible through the network profiles. This operator command provides the benefit of being able to set configurations through the CLI, and this is persistent across lifecycle events.
We’ve made storage operations in our customers’ container native environments easier, too. Customers were seeking a simpler and more secure way to manage Container Storage Interface (CSI), and we introduced automatic installation of the vSphere CSI driver as a BOSH process beginning with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.11.
Also, as VCP will be deprecated, customers are advised to use the CSI driver. VCP-to-CSI migration is a part of Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.12 and is designed to help customers move forward faster.
Implementing new technologies provides users with new capabilities, but it can also lead to new security vulnerabilities if not done correctly. VMware’s goal is to help customers move forward with ease and the confidence of knowing that enhancements don’t compromise core security needs.
This year, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated continued to see improvements that help meet today’s high security standards. Meeting the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmarks standards is vital for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated.
In recent Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated releases, a few Kubernetes-related settings have been adjusted to ensure compliance with CIS requirements:
Kube-apiserver with --kubelet-certificate-authority settings (v1.12)
Kube-apiserver with --authorization-mode argument includes Node (v1.12)
Kube-apiserver with proper --audit-log-maxage argument (v1.13)
Kube-apiserver with proper --audit-log-maxbackup argument (v1.13)
Kube-apiserver with proper --audit-log-maxsize argument (v1.13)
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated secures all communication between its control plane components and the Kubernetes clusters it manages, using TLS validated by certificates. The certificate rotations have been simplified in recent releases. Customers can now list and simply update certificates on a cluster-by-cluster basis through the “tkgi rotate-certificates” command. The multistep, manual process was replaced with a single CLI command to rotate NSX-T certificates (available since Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.10) and cluster-by-cluster certificates (available since Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated 1.12).
Hardening of images
Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated keeps OS images, container base images, and software library versions updated to remediate the CVEs reported by customers and in the industry. It also continues to use the latest Ubuntu Xenial Stemcell latest versions for node virtual machines. With recent releases and patch versions, the version of dockerd, containerd, runc, telegraf, nfs-utils had been bumped to the latest stable and secure versions as well.
By using Harbor as a private registry management service, customers could also leverage the built-in vulnerability scan features to discover the application images CVEs.
VMware is dedicated to supporting customers with production readiness by enhancing the user experience. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated Edition has stayed up to date with the Kubernetes community and provides customers with the support and resources they need to innovate rapidly.
Virtual Desktop Tools
Article | June 24, 2022
Although remote working or working from home became popular during the COVID era, did you know that the technology that gives the best user experience (UX) for remote work was developed more than three decades ago?
Citrix was founded in 1989 as one of the first software businesses to provide the ability to execute any program on any device over any connection. In 2006, VMware coined the term "virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)" to designate their virtualization products.
Many organizations created remote work arrangements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the phenomenon will continue even in 2022. Organizations have used a variety of methods to facilitate remote work over the years. For businesses, VDI has been one of the most effective, allowing businesses to centralize their IT resources and give users remote access to a consolidated pool of computing capacity.
Reasons Why Businesses Should Use VDI for their Remote Employees?
Companies can find it difficult to scale their operations and grow while operating remotely. VDI, on the other hand, can assist in enhancing these efforts by eliminating some of the downsides of remote work.
As long as employees have sufficient internet connectivity, virtual desktops can accompany them across the world. They can use a tablet, phone, laptop, client side, or Mac to access the virtual desktop.
Reduced Support Costs
Since VDI setups can often be handled by a smaller IT workforce than traditional PC settings, support expenses automatically go down.
Data security is raised since data never leaves the datacenter. There's no need to be concerned about every hard disk in every computer containing sensitive data. Nothing is stored on the end machine while using the VDI workspace. It also safeguards intellectual property while dealing with contractors, partners, or a worldwide workforce.
Comply with Regulations
With virtual desktops, organizational data never leaves the data center. Remote employees that have regulatory duties to preserve client/patient data like function because there is no risk of data leaking out from a lost or stolen laptop or retired PC.
Enhanced User Experience
With a solid user experience (UX), employees can work from anywhere. They can connect to all of their business applications and tools from anywhere they want to call your workplace, exactly like sitting at their office desk, and even answer the phone if they really want to.
One of COVID-19's lessons has been to be prepared for almost anything. IT leaders were probably not planning their investments with a pandemic in mind.
Irrespective of how the pandemic plays out in the future, the rise of remote work is here to stay. If VDI at scale is to become a permanent feature of business IT strategies, now is the moment to assess where, when, and how your organization can implement the appropriate solutions. Moreover, businesses that use VDI could find that the added flexibility extends their computing refresh cycles.