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Look back at the top Kubernetes news of 2021

Kubernetes had many ups and downs over the course of 2021. Read 10 of the top Kubernetes news stories to ensure you're up to date heading into the new year.

2021 brought many new developments for Kubernetes, from autoscaling and security to new tools and software, and IT admins had to adapt quickly to tackle all the new developments. In addition, vendors were hard at work to make Kubernetes more user-friendly and easier for organizations to approach and implement -- a welcome progression for the ever-changing, complex platform.

Unpack the past year of news stories, in no particular order, on the continued growth -- and minor setbacks -- for Kubernetes to gear up for more changes in the coming year.

1. Red Hat acquired StackRox

The year started with a focus on Kubernetes security, as Red Hat purchased StackRox in January to integrate into its OpenShift platform. The Kubernetes security software works with cluster deployments automatically and consistently, which improves IT security practices. Many longtime StackRox users expressed concern about the risk to the established source code in the move to an open source model, but others were hopeful that the switch would make the service more secure.

2. Kyverno stepped up to the plate

Kyverno is a sandbox project donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in 2020 and emerged as yet another service to help Kubernetes users handle the removal of Pod Security Policies from upstream Kubernetes. Kyverno uses YAML, the language that Kubernetes uses, making the transition to new security policies easier for Kubernetes operators.

3. IT industry leaders set security automation example at Red Hat Summit

At the 2021 Red Hat Summit, Audi, Discover Financial Services and Citigroup all spoke about how they handle, maintain and adapt for continuous Kubernetes security automation. Each company explained what they use and how: Audi found help using Kubernetes operators; Discover Financial Services began using Red Hat's Advanced Cluster Management for OpenShift; and Citigroup automated its pipeline tools to update security patches. Their insider information acted as a guide for other companies that struggle to manage SecOps functions, while also adopting security automation.

4. Multicluster Kubernetes management became a focus

Multicluster management became a top priority in 2021. Cluster API, the Kubernetes Multi-Cluster API project, Hypershift and kcp all worked to help companies better manage their multicluster Kubernetes. These projects and prototypes are responses to the widespread adoption of GitOps, cloud and edge computing and the need for multiclusters as organizations continue to grow.

5. Verrazzano introduced

Verrazzano Enterprise Container Platform was introduced in August and stands out for its Oracle WebLogic support and open source middleware Java microservices. Many users in the industry worried the Kubernetes platform would appeal only to existing Oracle WebLogic customers and scare off others due to its hefty price tag, but the platform remained a strong contender in 2021.

6. Kubernetes autoscaling grew

The Kubernetes Event-Driven Autoscaling (KEDA) project grew in maturity and was given the OK from the CNCF when it proved it could expand adoption for end users. KEDA installs as a Kubernetes operator and works to add or remove cluster resources as events are omitted by a variety of external data sources. This announcement marked the maturation and expansion of Kubernetes deployments in the industry.

7. Cloud Foundry stumbled over Kubernetes integration

Cloud Foundry projects KubeCF and cf-for-k8s were meant to bring together its PaaS framework with a Kubernetes container infrastructure, but over the past year, the two had yet to unify. This caused disappointment among users as integration complications created potential long-term, negative repercussions for Cloud Foundry.

8. Rancher Longhorn version 1.1 updated Kubernetes storage

Rancher Longhorn introduced update 1.1 in January, which helped edge computing environments grow with new features that support Kubernetes storage and consistent data management. 2021 saw major growth for edge computing, and Rancher Longhorn's update fell right in line with that prediction as it was constructed specifically for edge and cloud computing environments. The update also included ReadWriteMany, a feature that enables multiple containers to share storage volumes within a Kubernetes cluster.

9. VMware Tanzu Application Platform vs. RedHat OpenShift compared

In September, Tanzu Application Platform launched its newest Kubernetes-based PaaS that provided users with application deployment and infrastructure management tools for Kubernetes. The platform helped smooth out developers' experiences with Kubernetes and rivals OpenShift -- although IT organizations can use the two together as well.

10. AWS launched GitOps add-on

During AWS re:Invent 2021, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) announced a GitOps add-on to enable easier Kubernetes cluster management. The add-on supports open source Flux GitOps, which helps configure EKS clusters and avoid errors during the installation process -- all while helping with security and observability integrations.

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