Getting started

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Getting started

This section covers different options to set up and run Kubernetes.

Different Kubernetes solutions meet different requirements: ease of maintenance, security, control, available resources, and expertise required to operate and manage a cluster.

You can deploy a Kubernetes cluster on a local machine, cloud, on-prem datacenter; or choose a managed Kubernetes cluster. You can also create custom solutions across a wide range of cloud providers, or bare metal environments.

More simply, you can create a Kubernetes cluster in learning and production environments.

Learning environment

If you’re learning Kubernetes, use the Docker-based solutions: tools supported by the Kubernetes community, or tools in the ecosystem to set up a Kubernetes cluster on a local machine.

Local machine solutions table that lists the tools supported by the community and the ecosystem to deploy Kubernetes.
Community Ecosystem
Minikube CDK on LXD
kind (Kubernetes IN Docker) Docker Desktop
IBM Cloud Private-CE (Community Edition)
IBM Cloud Private-CE (Community Edition) on Linux Containers
Ubuntu on LXD

Production environment

When evaluating a solution for a production environment, consider which aspects of operating a Kubernetes cluster (or abstractions) you want to manage yourself or offload to a provider.

Some possible abstractions of a Kubernetes cluster are applicationsThe layer where various containerized applications run. , data planeThe layer that provides capacity such as CPU, memory, network, and storage so that the containers can run and connect to a network. , control planeThe container orchestration layer that exposes the API and interfaces to define, deploy, and manage the lifecycle of containers. , cluster infrastructureThe infrastructure layer provides and maintains VMs, networking, security groups and others. , and cluster operationsActivities such as upgrading the clusters, implementing security, storage, ingress, networking, logging and monitoring, and other operations involved in managing a Kubernetes cluster. .

The following diagram lists the possible abstractions of a Kubernetes cluster and whether an abstraction is self-managed or managed by a provider.

Production environment solutionsProduction environment solutions

The following production environment solutions table lists the providers and the solutions that they offer.

Local machine solutions table that lists the tools supported by the community and the ecosystem to deploy Kubernetes.Production environment solutions table lists the providers and the solutions.
Providers Managed Turnkey cloud On-prem datacenter Custom (cloud) Custom (On-premises VMs) Custom (Bare Metal)
Agile Stacks
Alibaba Cloud
Amazon Amazon EKS Amazon EC2
Banzai Cloud Pipeline Kubernetes Engine (PKE)
CenturyLink Cloud
Cisco Container Platform
Cloud Foundry Container Runtime (CFCR)
D2iQ Kommander Konvoy Konvoy Konvoy Konvoy
Digital Rebar
Docker Enterprise
Fedora (Multi Node) 
Fedora (Single Node) 
Gardener Custom Extensions
Giant Swarm
Google Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) Google Compute Engine (GCE) GKE On-Prem
IBM IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service IBM Cloud Private
Ionos Ionos Managed Kubernetes Ionos Enterprise Cloud
Kontena Pharos
Microsoft Azure Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
Mirantis Cloud Platform
Nutanix Nutanix Karbon Nutanix Karbon Nutanix AHV
OpenNebula OpenNebula Kubernetes
OpenShift OpenShift Dedicated and OpenShift Online OpenShift Container Platform OpenShift Container Platform OpenShift Container Platform
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Container Engine for Kubernetes (OKE)
Pivotal Enterprise Pivotal Container Service (PKS) Enterprise Pivotal Container Service (PKS)
Platform9 Platform9 Managed Kubernetes Platform9 Managed Kubernetes
Rancher Rancher 2.x Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) k3s
Tencent Cloud Tencent Kubernetes Engine
VMware VMware Cloud PKS VMware Enterprise PKS VMware Enterprise PKS VMware Essential PKS VMware Essential PKS