MVKube Overview

Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source container orchestration platform that facilitates the automated deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Originally developed by Google, Kubernetes has emerged as a cornerstone in modern cloud-native computing, providing a robust and flexible solution for container orchestration. Kubernetes comprises a control plane and a set of physical or virtual worker machines called nodes constituting a robust cluster. Control plane components like the API server, Scheduler and Controller Manager, manage global cluster state and respond to cluster events, such as cluster failure. Node components like kubelet, kube-proxy and container runtime, host pods, maintain network rules and provide the Kubernetes environment. Each cluster has a master node and at least one worker node.

In addition to the core architecture elements, Kubernetes offers several tools that support the management and deployment tasks. For example, NGINX, AWS and GCE ingress controllers manage access between Kubernetes services and external ones. Monitoring tools like Prometheus inspect application performance in a cluster with resource metrics or full metrics pipelines, providing valuable insights to troubleshoot applications and clusters. Service mesh solutions like Istio handle inter-service communication in microservices. The Kubernetes package manager Helm and CI/CD tools - Jenkins, CircleCI, Github Actions, Azure Pipelines and AWS CodePipeline to name a few, play an important role in deployments by significantly enhancing productivity and reducing the complexity of Kubernetes applications.

These components and tools have collectively built up Kubernetes as a comprehensive infrastructure for container orchestration and management. Kubernetes is today the de facto standard for managing containerized applications.

Kubernetes in Embedded Linux Systems

Kubernetes is a pivotal technology system/platform in the embedded Linux ecosystem due to its unmatched prowess in container management and streamlined lifecycle control. Its container-centric infrastructure provides a standardized, efficient means to deploy applications across various devices and environments, crucial for embedded systems' scalability and integration needs. By abstracting complex infrastructure, Kubernetes ensures consistency and simplifies management across diverse environments. Its approach automates application scaling and management, which critically leads to reducing manual interventions.

Kubernetes' resilience, fault tolerance, and automation align seamlessly with embedded Linux requirements, ensuring reliable performance. Its extensible nature allows integration with diverse technologies, empowering developers to tailor functionalities. Overall, Kubernetes revolutionizes embedded systems by optimizing resources, enhancing scalability, and simplifying application lifecycle management, establishing its pivotal role across tech markets, including embedded Linux.

While Kubernetes offers many advantages for embedded Linux systems and applications, developers and engineers often face a great number of challenges in deploying and managing Kubernetes. Some of the more common are:

  • Resource constraints: Embedded systems often have limited resources in terms of processing power, memory, communication connections, and storage. Kubernetes, designed for large-scale deployments, may be resource-intensive, making it challenging to run efficiently on embedded devices with constrained capabilities.
  • Large footprint: Kubernetes has a considerable footprint, and its components may consume a significant amount of storage space. In embedded systems with limited storage capacity, accommodating Kubernetes alongside other applications is quite challenging, technically and operationally.
  • Long-term stability: Kubernetes' rapid development pace might not suit embedded platforms requiring stable baselines for extended periods. The frequent updates and evolving features may pose challenges for deployed long-term embedded solutions, necessitating careful consideration and adaptation strategies to ensure compatibility and stability over extended product lifecycles.

Configuration complexity: The complex architecture of Kubernetes could pose challenges for embedded system developers who are not familiar with or do not require all the features offered by Kubernetes. Adapting Kubernetes to specific hardware requirements in a constrained environment and ensuring seamless integration with specialized peripherals can be complex.

Unlock the full potential of Kubernetes with MVKube

Understanding the challenges Kubernetes brings to embedded Linux systems, MontaVista introduces MVKube - an innovative solution to achieving successful integration of Kubernetes technology and embedded Linux.

MontaVista’s MVKube provides the best of both worlds:

  • The capability to support an existing, deployed Kubernetes installation as a long-term stable branch, providing backported and quality-assured fixes to the deployed baseline, while providing support via a deeply experienced support team having worked on embedded and enterprise solutions for 20+ years.
  • The ability for customers to move ahead with the ever-evolving Kubernetes project updates and new releases by using the latest stable release, coupled with MontaVista’s commercial-grade support for mission-critical deployments.

We believe that Kubernetes is much more than a standalone platform. It is an ecosystem of core platform components and complementary tools. Deploying microservices on Kubernetes allows a wide spectrum of configuration options. Configuration settings can be integrated into the image itself, passed through mounted volumes or environment variables, stored in a ConfigMap or a secret, or dynamically retrieved from an external service.

At MontaVista, our experience spans various Kubernetes configuration needs, providing us with insights and expertise to deliver customized technical support for your project. We understand the intricacies of managing diverse configurations and ensure that your Kubernetes infrastructure remains resilient, scalable, and finely tuned to your specific requirements.

MontaVista’s MVKube can alleviate the learning curve of the above for embedded project teams and streamline the processes of implementing and managing Kubernetes in Linux-based embedded systems. MVKube provides a highly flexible and customizable solution ensuring the right support for your project requirements and your set of custom components and applications.

MontaVista customers have the option to start from MontaVista’s integrated and tested baseline of chosen Kubernetes and cluster management components using the MVKube reference stack, depicted below and illustrated together with key components from the underlying operating system, in this case MontaVista’s MVShield.

MVKube - Reference: Architecture Baseline

As a MVKube customer, you can customize the architecture baseline reference to match your needs, creating the unique and optimized Kubernetes solution for your deployment, supported by MontaVista’s expert staff and maintenance processes, allowing you to focus on your core capabilities and what makes a difference for your business.

We are eager to hear about your needs. Please get in touch for more information and details for your project at or contact request.