Open Source Project vcluster Now Runs Upstream Kubernetes Natively

Joseph Eckert
Jan 6, 2022
3 Minute Read

Loft Labs, a venture-backed startup working on developer tooling and platform technology for Kubernetes, today announced that the popular open source vcluster project now supports upstream Kubernetes.

Although engineers have already been able to deploy virtual clusters using vcluster on top of vanilla Kubernetes clusters, the virtual clusters themselves have always been using the opinionated K3s distribution internally rather than upstream Kubernetes. With today’s release, vcluster users will now be able to deploy Kubernetes-powered virtual clusters to improve and optimize utilization of computing resources without the need to use K3s within the virtualization layer.

“We expanded vcluster support to vanilla Kubernetes in response to feedback from our user community,” said Lukas Gentele, co-founder and CEO, Loft Labs. “Many companies working with vcluster want to start leveraging the benefits of virtual clusters in production. Making these virtual clusters run with Kubernetes rather than K3s is a big step towards production-readiness for vcluster.”

With the availability of upstream Kubernetes in vcluster, users can now also use any new Kubernetes feature immediately after its release and will not have to wait for K3s to ship their adapted Kubernetes version.

First launched in April 2021, vcluster is used to create lightweight Kubernetes clusters that run inside the namespaces of underlying Kubernetes clusters. Using virtual clusters solves the majority of multi-tenancy issues of Kubernetes because they offer:

  • Better isolation than simple namespace-based multi-tenancy;
  • Reduced cloud computing cost because virtual clusters are much more lightweight and resource-efficient than spinning up separate single-tenant clusters;
  • Logical separation and encapsulation of application workloads from the underlying cluster’s shared infrastructure workloads (such as shared ingress controller or network plug-ins).

At the same time, virtual cluster users can expect that their virtual cluster behaves just like any regular Kubernetes cluster because vcluster is a certified Kubernetes distribution, which means that it passes all conformance tests that CNCF requires. Virtual clusters are often used as development environments when engineers are building, testing and debugging cloud-native software, but they are also frequently used as ephemeral environments for executing continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. Also, an increasing number of companies are starting to explore virtual clusters in production, where virtualizing Kubernetes can be a great way to: surpass the scalability limits of regular Kubernetes clusters; isolate heterogeneous workloads in shared clusters; and streamline and simplify cluster operations when working with large-scale multi-tenant clusters.

Loft Labs builds on top of vcluster and provides an enterprise-grade Kubernetes platform called Loft which is used by large organizations to create a self-service platform for their engineering teams. When an enterprise runs Loft, their engineers can provision virtual clusters on-demand whenever they need them, either using the Loft UI (user interface), the Loft CLI (command-line interface) or even using the Kubernetes command-line tool kubectl via the custom resources provided as part of Loft.

vcluster is freely available on GitHub and on www.vcluster.com.

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