Liquid Metal is Here: Supported, Multi-Cluster Kubernetes on micro-VMs and Bare Metal

May 17, 2022

Liquid Metal simplifies scaling Kubernetes clusters across multiple environments. Provision Kubernetes clusters dynamically across both lightweight VMs and bare metal with GitOps.

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Liquid Metal: multi-cluster Kubernetes on bare metal with microVMs

This blog post is authored by David Stauffer, Product Manager and Richard Case, Tech lead.

Liquid Metal is a GitOps enabled, distributed Cluster-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform that simplifies scaling Kubernetes clusters across multiple environments. Originally built to help Telcos deliver 5G services at the edge, any organization can now provision Kubernetes clusters dynamically across both lightweight VMs and bare metal. Consider it the best of both worlds.

To operate at scale, many organizations now need the ability to provision Kubernetes clusters dynamically across numerous platforms and environments, including bare metal hardware, virtualized infrastructure and their chosen public clouds. But virtualizing multiple Kubernetes clusters has traditionally necessitated heavyweight (read: expensive) virtualization approaches. As an alternative, Liquid Metal enables you to use the lightweight microVMs delivered by Firecracker (and soon Cloud Hypervisor). The obvious benefit here is a reduction in cost, however the financial advantages are just the start. For any organization running clusters at scale, there are numerous advantages.

Built for Telcos, Available to Everyone

Liquid Metal was originally developed by Weaveworks in collaboration with our customer Deutsche Telekom, to help move containerized operations to the edge of the network. As the software matured, however, it became clear that there are three key scenarios in which Liquid Metal will deliver business value, none of which are industry-specific.

Available as a feature within the Weave GitOps, Liquid Metal can be deployed in answer to all three scenarios, as follows:

1- Fully Virtualized Clusters

For organizations that need to dynamically manage multiple Kubernetes clusters on virtualized infrastructure, Liquid Metal makes it possible to do this with microVMs, reducing costs dramatically.

Liquid_Metal_is_here-_supported_multi-cluster_Kubernetes_on_micro-VMs_and_bare_metal.png

2- Mixed Mode

This is a reference to scenarios in which organizations need the benefits of virtualization as well as hardware acceleration. This was Deutsche Telekom’s use case. As a telco faced with the rollout of 5G services, the company needed to shift operations to the edge of its network, where the clusters can gain access to hardware accelerators in the new 5G antennae. But with a typical server providing only five physical hosts, and three needed for the control planes alone, Kubernetes had appeared impractical.

Deploying Liquid Metal in Mixed Mode solved the problem by providing the necessary bare metal access for the worker nodes while running redundant control planes on MicroVMs, making the most of the limited computing resource available.

Liquid_Metal_is_here-_supported_multi-cluster_Kubernetes_on_micro-VMs_and_bare_metal-2.png

​3- Amazon EKS-Anywhere

Amazon EKS-Anywhere allows organizations to extend the footprint of their AWS-based infrastructure onto their own premises, resulting in a seamless hybrid cloud. A key constraint, however, has been the cost involved, due to the need for an expensive virtualization layer. Not anymore. For these organizations, Liquid Metal provides lightweight and fast virtualization via Firecracker, that is fully integrated with the EKS-A tooling, for a seamless experience. In other words, EKS-Anywhere without the licensing costs without the licensing costs for virtualization software.

Liquid Metal and GitOps

Weaveworks is best known as the leading supplier of GitOps software and services. Liquid Metal is a separate technology that is accessed as a feature within Weave GitOps Enterprise. It is designed for those organizations with one of the specific needs described above, i.e. managing multiple clusters on VMs, operating clusters in ‘Mixed Mode’ to take advantage of both virtualization and hardware acceleration, or adopting EKS-Anywhere without the need for an expensive virtualization layer on premise.

GitOps remains the most effective and risk-free way to manage Kubernetes at scale, – and that also applies to Kubernetes clusters running on Liquid Metal. Although the two technologies were created to solve different problems, they complement one another perfectly.


Liquid Metal is available now with enterprise-grade support, as part of Weave GitOps. To discuss putting Liquid Metal to work in your organization

Contact us Today

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The world’s largest telcos are now embracing GitOps. Deutsche Telekom explains why

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Liquid Metal: multi-cluster Kubernetes on bare metal with microVMs

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