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One of the earliest features of our hybrid cloud container management platform, Pipeline, was to standardize the running of applications on Kubernetes with a framework we called Spotguides. Spotguides allowed us to build domain specific knowledge into apps, avoid writing boilerplate code, and go from commit to a production ready deployment in minutes. All of this while meeting enterprise-grade requirements such as federated monitoring, centralized log collection, security scans, cluster lifecycle management and lots more.
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NOTE: This is an updated version of a blog post we wrote nearly a year ago. It’s been extremely popular, however, due to the improvements and new features we’ve added to Bank-Vaults, it’s become outdated and in needs of a fresh coat of paint. A key part of the Banzai Cloud Pipeline platform, has always been our strong focus on security. We incorporated Vault into our architecture early on in the design process, and we have developed a number of support components to be easily used with Kubernetes.
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At Banzai Cloud we do a lot more than work on Pipeline, our container management platform, and PKE, our lightweight CNCF certified Kubernetes distribution. In fact, we’re currently developing a variety of services that run on Kubernetes. These range from operators (Istio, Vault, Kafka, Logging, HPA to name a few), webhooks, K8s and cloud controllers to more general applications that we develop and test each day. During the development phase for these projects, we usually need to experiment and rapidly iterate applications, but, when using Kubernetes, this isn’t as easy as running each application inside a container.
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One of the Pipeline platform’s key open-source component is Bank-Vaults - the Vault swiss-army knife for Kubernetes. Feature requirements are a big part of the Pipeline platform, but a community has also built up around Bank-Vaults, and now it has its own use cases and requirements. We’ve received a lot of these external contributions and feature requests since our last blog update, which was about Bank-Vaults 0.4.7 in February. We’d like to walk you through some of these festures as 0.
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If you are a frequent reader of this blog or familiar with our products, you may already be aware that the control plane of our multi- and hybrid-cloud container management platform, Pipeline, is available not just as a free/developer service but can be run in any number of preferred envionments, whether cloud or on-prem. The control-plane’s only requirement is Kubernetes, its installation wholely automated by the banzai CLI tool alongside our own CNCF certified Kubernetes distribution, PKE.
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In one of our previous posts about creating Helm Charts for Kubernetes, we outlined what we consider the best practices for creating Helm charts. We’ve been using Helm in production and investing our time in creating Helm charts (available on the Banzai Cloud Charts GitHub repository) since Banzai Cloud’s inception. Creating Helm Charts is one thing; storing and serving them is another. We’d like to reduce the burden this places on the user, so today marks the launch of our Helm Chart repository service, which you can use to store and serve public Helm Charts for free.
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At Banzai Cloud we try to provide our users with a unified, cloud and on-premise-agnostic authentication and authorization mechanism. Note that our Pipeline platform supports cloud provider-managed Kubernetes and, as of recently, our own Kubernetes distribution - the Pipeline Kubernetes Engine, PKE. We also recently introduced an open source project, JWT-to-RBAC (you can read more about that project, here), designed to solve authentication and authorization challenges within the Pipeline platform in a cloud provider-agnostic way.
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One of the Banzai Cloud Pipeline platform’s key open-source projects is Bank-Vaults - the Vault swiss-army knife (and more) for Kubernetes. Feature requirements are part of the Pipeline platform, and the relatively large community around Bank-Vaults also has its own use cases and requirements. We’ve received lots of external contributions (thank you!), and we continue to find time to work on our community-driven features. While there have been many besides, these are the most sought-after features of the last few weeks.
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Suppose you’re working on a project which is running on Kubernetes - like we usually do - and you would like to test out this project on each and every pull request or commit. You can write many unit and integration tests, but at the end of the day, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. A real test would be to start up the application on the same platform where it will end up being deployed in production (in this case Kubernetes) and exercise it with some real workloads (aka end-to-end tests).
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Update: This article has been published a long time ago; since then we have added lots of new features, made changes and fixed many bugs in the vault-secrets-webhook. There is a newer, and remastered version of the article available: Inject secrets directly into Pods from Vault revisited. A strong focus on security has always been a key part of the Banzai Cloud Pipeline platform. We incorporated Vault into our architecture early in the design process, and developed a number of supporting components so it be used easily on Kubernetes.
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