Microsoft AKS + D2iQ: Better Together
Microsoft AKS + D2iQ: Better Together
D2iQ adds value to AKS by providing all the components needed for a production-ready Kubernetes environment in a complete, fully integrated, fully automated, fully tested, easy to deploy, easy to manage, and cost-effective turnkey solution.
DKP provides a complete and fully integrated set of components that is production-ready. AKS users can quickly and easily deploy DKP on top of AKS to elevate AKS to a production-ready platform.
Microsoft itself, on the other hand, only enables
customers to add supplementary AKS capabilities as individual
add-ons or extensions.
Microsoft support only covers a limited number of Microsoft AKS add-ons. For example, although Microsoft allows you to install additional open-source and third-party components on your AKS cluster, the open-source and third-party components are not covered by the AKS support policy.
Microsoft’s AKS support policy specifies that unsupported add-ons include best-in-class services such as Helm, Prometheus, Grafana, Istio, Apache Spark, Couchbase, OpenFaas, Envoy, and Consul. AKS support policies also do not include technical support for these and other third-party open-source projects that aren't provided as part of the Kubernetes control plane or deployed with AKS clusters.
Microsoft also does not provide technical support for questions about how to use Kubernetes. As examples, Microsoft’s AKS support policy specifies that “Microsoft Support does not provide advice on how to create custom ingress controllers, use application workloads, or apply third-party or open-source software packages or tools.” AKS support policies also exclude automatically applying security patches by default, leaving this responsibility to the customer.
Feature Comparison: AKS Only vs. AKS + DKP
The comparison table below shows the features and capabilities not included in AKS, all of which can be obtained by deploying DKP on top of AKS.
1 Proprietary Azure RBAC and Azure Active Directory
2 Azure Monitor at extra cost
3 Azure Monitor at extra cost
D2iQ Adds Critical Kubernetes Services with Greater Ease and Lower Cost
Adding DKP to AKS eliminates the complexity, labor, and cost of the DIY and Microsoft services approaches by providing all the additional services required for enterprise-grade functionality in an easy to deploy and manage solution. A typical enterprise needs to run more than a dozen ancillary services to bring an AKS cluster to production readiness. DKP deploys in minutes and enables AKS customers to quickly achieve Day-2 operational competency with a reliable, secure, and consistent approach to the management and governance of Kubernetes clusters.
A Future-Proof Platform Ensures Smart Cloud-Native Success
Based on pure CNCF-conformant open-source Kubernetes, DKP enables you to easily extend your platform and enjoy the benefits of continual open-source innovation with no restrictions. DKP gives you complete visibility and the ability to manage all your Kubernetes clusters across all environments from a centralized management panel, including multi-cloud, on-premise, edge, and air-gapped environments. As a pure open-source Kubernetes platform, DKP also gives you portability and immunity from lock-in to proprietary solutions, with the lowest cost of ownership.
A DIY or Microsoft Add-On Approach
Although Microsoft enables enterprise AKS customers to obtain the additional capabilities on their own or through various AKS add-ons and extensions, each of these approaches requires customers to select and integrate the required services as individual add-ons, which means additional labor, complexity, cost, and varying degrees of support.
The value that D2iQ brings to AKS customers is to provide all the components needed for a production-ready Kubernetes environment in a complete, fully integrated, fully automated, fully tested, and cost-effective turnkey solution that is easy to deploy and manage. In addition, DKP extends the scope of AKS by providing multi-cluster and multi-cloud management capabilities from a single control panel. DKP on AKS is fully supported by D2iQ, which works closely with customers to ensure successful deployments.
Key Features and Benefits
Multi-cluster, Multi-cloud Lifecycle Management
DKP enhances AKS by enabling all platform applications, including multi-cloud and multi-cluster, to be deployed and managed easily through a central management plane. This enables you to break down operational silos, eliminate duplicate efforts, and standardize on a highly resilient and secure stack on any infrastructure–cloud, bare metal, edge, or air-gapped.
DKP gives AKS customers security controls to enable the hardening of clusters that meet or exceed NSA/CISA Kubernetes security hardening guidelines or any organization's security posture requirements. Each DKP component is scanned for vulnerabilities before release. DKP also simplifies full air-gapped deployments via self-contained images and purpose-built automation.
Declarative APIs Provide Instant Platform Engineering
Declarative APIs and GitOps workflows are integral platform management capabilities that enable DKP to provide instant platform engineering, an internal development platform (IDP) that provides a “golden path” to enable DevOps teams to focus on higher-value mission-critical applications rather than worrying about cluster and infrastructure security issues.
DevOps vs. Platform Engineering
Platform engineering removes the onus of Kubernetes platform building and maintenance from DevOps teams. DKP, which was built for platform engineering teams, enables DevOps teams to focus on higher-value mission-critical applications rather than worrying about cluster and infrastructure security issues. AKS, on the other hand, was built for DevOps teams. The AKS DevOps approach encourages decentralization, while DKP is designed to be centrally managed for maximum benefit.
Proprietary Add-Ons vs. Pure Open Source Components
The add-on options Microsoft AKS provides are proprietary, which restricts choice, functionality, and upgradeability. DKP provides best-of-breed open-source components that are fully integrated, tested, and validated, which gives you a better open source path for extending your environment and benefiting from open-source ecosystem innovation.
The DKP central management plane enables AKS admins to visualize, monitor, and manage clusters across distributed multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments from a single point of command. Observability also includes user visualizations for business units and developers.
Real-Time Cost Management
Surveys show 30% to 40% of organizations’ cloud spend is wasted, the leading cause being a lack of visibility into cloud usage. DKP enables you to eliminate waste through integrated cost management that enables you to visualize, monitor, and manage resources and costs across multiple clusters, workloads, teams, and infrastructures in real time.
Intelligent Troubleshooting with DKP Insights
DKP Insights is your intelligent copilot that gives you Kubernetes troubleshooting superpowers. It analyzes clusters and ensures that best practices are being followed. When issues occur, it performs automatic root cause analysis and recommends steps to resolve them. It can even spot problematic trends long before they impact production. This prevents costly downtime and speeds up time to resolution.
Centralized User-Friendly Experience
DKP provides observability, integrated cost control, and centralized fleet management through a user-friendly management plane, providing multi-cloud lifecycle management across all environments, including the three leading cloud service providers. Microsoft’s management console is more complex, difficult to navigate, and limited in the range of environments that can be centrally managed.
Quickly and easily deploy applications and complex data services from a centralized service catalog to specific or multiple clusters, with governance. This simplifies and accelerates the provisioning of fast data pipelines such as Apache Spark, Apache Cassandra, and Apache Kafka in all environments, including at the edge.
Multi-tenant and Workspace-level Logging
DKP gives AKS users the ability to manage logs by tenant or workspace at a granular level, including multi-tenant logging and role-based access control (RBAC) in conjunction with native Azure Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions.
DKP supports service mesh integration for AKS clusters via the Istio project to enable users to build advanced networking capabilities, load balancing, and security for single and multi-cluster environments.
Everything Needed to Elevate AKS to a Production-Ready, Enterprise-Level Platform
Simplified Cluster Lifecycle Management
Cluster lifecycle management involves provisioning, upgrading, scaling, and sometimes decommissioning a cluster. A fully functional production Kubernetes cluster requires setting up custom domains and custom certificates, integrating with identity management systems to onboard different teams, setting up the right access control, and much more. Having to repeat these operations on individual clusters in a multi-cluster environment results in significant overhead and redundant efforts. The combination of cloud-managed Kubernetes and DKP gives operators a single place to provision, manage, and commission their clusters, which no other tool can provide.
The Right Balance of Production-Level Components
Turning an AKS cluster into a production-level environment requires more than a dozen ancillary services. D2iQ is well-versed in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) landscape and has curated a best-of-breed collection of pure open-source components needed to build a successful enterprise-grade Kubernetes production platform. These components, which are automatically installed with DKP, are regularly integrated, tested, scanned, and scaled to meet the demands of some of the most demanding customers globally. D2iQ enables the deployment of the required production-level add-ons to the cloud provider’s solution via the DKP management plane.
GitOps + Declarative APIs = Kubernetes Done Right
D2iQ embraces a GitOps model and declarative approach through integrated FluxCD and Cluster API (CAPI) and is stateless by design. Traceability of application deployments to production is fully audible from the git repository, improving the organization’s security posture while improving the developer’s agility and speed. The power of Kubernetes management via integrated GitOps workflow and top-to-bottom declarative APIs is transferred to AKS by deploying AKS with DKP.
Enabling Multi-cluster, Multi-cloud Management
Managing a single-cluster Kubernetes environment is a daunting task, and extending it to a multi-cluster or multi-cloud environment without proper tooling is exponentially more difficult, not to mention the required skills and experience. DKP adds this capability to AKS by providing a centralized control plane from which you can enforce Kubernetes best practices for all your clusters. It also provides a single pane of glass to observe such practices in place and provide alerts for any divergence from the defined best practices.
Platform + People = Kubernetes Success
D2iQ works closely with customers to ensure success, with engagement models geared towards the customer’s level of maturity. For organizations just beginning their Kubernetes journey, the focus is on forming a strategy for the adoption of cloud native technology. For organizations that are further along, health checks, instructor-led courses, and custom offerings help the customer reach the next level of maturity. When a higher level of competency is reached, internal Centers of Excellence (COE) are often the best next step. Customers are able to take advantage of the best practices and expertise of a company that has been pioneering in the cloud-native space for more than a decade.
Quicker Time to Value and Lower Cost
Easing Kubernetes management for DevOps teams is key to achieving agility. DKP deploys in minutes and hours to get you to production, rather than weeks and months. Integrated open-source curated components, platform automation, and operational insights simplify Kubernetes cluster management, reducing the time and cost of consulting engagements, upgrades, and ongoing support costs. D2iQ expert training and support teams work closely with customers to eliminate Kubernetes skills gaps and ensure success.
Tjebbe de Winter
Managing Director at Cyso