How to Easily Manage & Protect Your Multi-Cluster OpenShift Environment

By Trilio Content Team | November 14, 2022

Whether you’re new to Kubernetes or it’s a critical part of your infrastructure, eventually, you’ll need to scale. After all, those GitOps scripts can manage your enterprise environment now, but only on a per-workload basis. What happens when you scale to hundreds of clusters—or thousands? How do you manage them? And what about compliance and security?

Thankfully, there are new ways of managing your infrastructure, like Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management (ACM) for Kubernetes. And they make it easier to operate efficiently, boost resiliency, and grow.

Read on to find out the challenges of scaling K8s environments, how solutions like ACM can help, and ways to protect your environment, no matter how complex it becomes?

Top Challenges of Multi-Cluster Environments

Before we explore solutions like Red Hat ACM, let’s dive deeper into multi-cluster Kubernetes environments. Why do enterprises need them? What issues do they solve—and create?

Firstly, no matter where you are on your Kubernetes journey, you’re likely to grow. Your Kubernetes applications will become an increasingly critical part of your production environment. In fact, analysts predict that 70% of organizations will run cloud-native apps in production by 2024.

As this occurs, your Kubernetes environment will scale in both size and complexity. Suddenly, a single cluster or even a few clusters won’t be able to meet your needs.

This is the stage where many enterprises begin using multiple Kubernetes clusters, which offer you the flexibility to scale. You might use a multi-cluster environment to:

  • Separate your clusters by criticality, for example, by development and production.
  • Provide highly available services across multiple clouds and regions.
  • Comply with local regulations on data governance, like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Be more DevOps friendly, due to the use of smaller clusters with a more defined application stack.

But despite the benefits, there are some big challenges. One of those is management.

Now that you have hundreds or thousands of clusters and workloads, traditional management methods, such as administering a cluster or applications through UI or Kubectl, don’t work anymore. And GitOps can help, but it’s not ideal.

Another challenge is security. Each cluster comes with its own security requirements and certificates, as well as access points. Without a way to manage all of your Kubernetes clusters at once, you’re at risk of serious security breaches.

Instead, you need a way to codify and manage each cluster and application lifecycle, no matter how many instances you create. In other words, policy-based application lifecycle management is a must.

Tools to Help You Easily Manage Multi-Cluster Environments

To solve these challenges, the Kubernetes community started a collection of projects, including cluster APIKyverno, and OpenTelemetry. These projects allowed vendors like Red Hat to create new management platforms that help you easily manage hundreds of clusters and applications.

The vendors focus on:

  • Access control for multi-tenancy
  • Cluster lifecycle management
  • Application lifecycle management
  • Observability
  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)

Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes

One of these management platforms is Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes.

Based on industry-standard toolings, such as Prometheus, Argo CD, and GitOps, Red Hat ACM provides fleet management of Kubernetes clusters and their applications running on OpenShift. Through the use of defined policies and processes, ACM’s governance lifecycle lets you manage security and compliance through a single pane of glass.

So you can set policies per cluster, no matter where they’re located and what requirements they have.

Multi-Cluster Data Protection for Your OpenShift Applications

Now that you can manage your OpenShift environment at scale, there’s just one last thing. How do you make sure your clusters are protected and resilient?

TrilioVault for Kubernetes (TVK) has your back. By defining a set of policies in Red Hat ACM, TVK lets you back up your apps across clusters and clouds. These policies currently protect namespace-based applications, including:

  • Discovering applications by Namespace.
  • Automatically installing TVK onto your clusters.
  • Configuring a backup target for your cluster.

This functionality is already available via GitHub, so OpenShift users can deploy it today. But it’s just the beginning.

Coming Soon: Automatic Protection & Recovery at Scale for ACM Managed Clusters

As more organizations adopt a multi-cluster Kubernetes environment, data protection at scale becomes even more important. That’s why we’re hard at work to make sure all of your clusters are automatically protected and recoverable.

In the coming months, TVK will provide additional policies for those managing their OpenShift clusters through ACM, including:

  • The ability to protect other application types, including Labels, Helm releases, and Operators.
  • The extension of Continuous Restore is a groundbreaking new feature that offers near-instantaneous recovery and enhances RTO and RPO.
  • Disaster recovery at scale to minimize data loss and downtime.

So stick around for more announcements on how to make your multi-cluster OpenShift environment easy to manage and ready for the unexpected.

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