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Announcing our April 2023 (v1.24) Release

A few weeks back in early April 2023, we upgraded our Preview environment to v1.24 of the Rafay Kubernetes Operations Platform. Our sincere thanks to our customers and partners that have been actively testing the new functionality. We have received timely feedback that we have been able to incorporate into our product documentation and into the platform as well.

Today, we upgraded our Production environment to this release. As always, our customers will have seamless access to the new functionality with no interruptions to their applications or clusters. In this blog, I will describe some of the new features that are part of this release.

April Release v1.24

Major Enhancements

You can review the release notes that describes all the enhancements and new functionality in this release. Let us review a few of the interesting items.

Cluster Templates for GKE

We have brought the cluster templates feature to Google GKE. With this, the platform now supports cluster templates for the "Top 3 Clouds" (i.e. AWS, Azure and GCP).

Our customers using Amazon EKS and Azure AKS have turned out to be heavy users of cluster templates because it allows platform teams to provide a self service experience for their developers and still be able to enforce guard rails. Our customers tell us that they primarily use this feature to power use cases such as:

  • Developers and QA teams that need access to ephemeral clusters during a release cycle.
  • Machine Learning and Data scientists that need immediate access to a functional Kubernetes environment for their experiments.

Cluster Templates for GKE

Blueprint Sync Performance

Cluster blueprints is perhaps one of the most heavily used features in the Rafay Kubernetes Operations Platform. Customers use cluster blueprints to ensure standardization of clusters.

We see customers assembling at >20-30 software addons as part of a cluster blueprint. These are version controlled because new releases of addons are made available frequently with enhancements or resolution to security vulnerabilities. This means customers are updating the cluster blueprint versions on their fleet of clusters fairly frequently.

We have been investing a lot of effort to make these blueprint sync updates "quick and efficient". Don't be surprised if blueprint sync workflows are 2-3x faster than before.

Cluster Blueprint Performance

Optimizations for Amazon EKS

Many years ago when we first added support for lifecycle management of Amazon EKS, there were no "managed node groups". Since then, AWS has continuously enhanced "managed node groups". At this time, there is really no technical reason for anyone to use "self managed node groups" anymore.

Starting this release, unless the user explicitly specifies "self managed", the platform will default to "managed node groups". Note that we will continue supporting self managed node groups for the foreseeable future as an option for customers that need more time to transition.

Managed Node Group as Default

Cilium CNI for Upstream Kubernetes

The disruptive and transformative potential of eBPF is obvious and apparent to everybody now. The Cilium project seems to be the de facto leader in this category and we believe it will transform both security and networking.

We see the Cilium project maturing quickly and believe that customers can start using it as a primary CNI. Customers can now use Cilium as the CNI for Rafay MKS (upstream Kubernetes clusters for bare metal and virtualized environments).

Cilium CNI for Rafay MKS

What's Coming Next?

All our customers know that we are on a monthly release cadence. In a few days, we will upgrade our Preview Environment with new functionality for the next release (v1.25).

We encourage you to review our near term roadmap if you are interested in a quick peek at the things we are working on.