Google Anthos – What exactly is it?


Google recently announced the GA of it Anthos offering.

From the blog:

Today, we are excited to announce that Anthos support for multi-cloud is generally available. Now, you can consolidate all your operations across on-premises, Google Cloud, and other clouds starting with AWS (support for Microsoft Azure is currently in preview). 

So what exactly is Anthos?

Anthos is a multi cloud platform which essentially enables you to run managed Kubernetes on-prem, in GCP, and other public clouds. You can then run other Google Cloud services, such as Cloud Run, on your own hardware or in other clouds in addition to GCP

Fig: Anthos Architecture

Diagram showing Anthos components

Anthos is an umbrella term for things in the combined ecosystem of Kubernetes, Istio, Anthos Config Management, Traffic Director, and so on.

Anthos [GKE] on {GCP, AWS, Azure, On-prem} is intended to be a consistent version of this deployed thing in each place.

The primary computing environment for Anthos relies on Anthos GKE on Google Cloud and Anthos GKE on-prem. These offerings bundle upstream Kubernetes releases and provide management capabilities for creating, scaling, and upgrading conformant Kubernetes clusters.

A Single GKE Managed Control Plane

Anthos allows you to manage Kubernetes installations in the environments where you intend to deploy your applications from GCP. These applications can have resources mixed from both on-prem and Google services (now you can also have pods on AWS) – all managed from the same control plane

You can also add in your on-prem services in the mix, but for that you’ll need a WMWare hypervisor on your servers.

Managed Istio

Anthos Service Mesh can be installed on GKE or GKE on-prem. Anthos Service Mesh includes a distribution of Istio, which is an open-source implementation of the service mesh infrastructure layer. Anthos Service Mesh uses sidecar proxies to enhance network security, reliability, and visibility. With Anthos Service Mesh, these functions are abstracted away from the application’s primary container and implemented in a common out-of-process proxy delivered as a separate container in the same Pod.

Why this is useful?

– Legal compliance: Some workloads can be run only on-prem due to regulations

– Cloud offloading of K8s workloads – you can workloads onprem off-peak and mixed loads cloud+onprem on peak times.

– Google Cloud Marketplace : You can deploy solutions from GCP Marketplace on Anthos (that is, on your hardware, now also on other clouds).

Onprem + Multi cloud workloads: Multi-cloud is hard. Not just having to know well how stuff works on each cloud, but also having to deal with rough interactions between clouds (even with k8s).

In plain English, the main components of Anthos are:

– Anthos GKE: managed Kubernetes across GCP, AWS, on-prem via VMware vSphere

– Anthos service mesh: Istio + SRE practices (Cloud Operations)

– Cloud Run: Knative serverless

– Anthos Config Mgmt: policy & security automation

– Marketplace: 3rd party applications for Anthos

Have questions? Visit the Google blog at the link below.

Asif Ali

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