6 Kubernetes distributions leading the container revolution

Kubernetes distributions

Kubernetes and containers are changing how applications are built, deployed, and managed. These distros are leading the charge.

Kubernetes has become the project developers turn to for container orchestration at scale. The open source container orchestration system out of Google is well-regarded, well-supported, and continues to evolve.

Kubernetes is also sprawling, complex, and difficult to set up and configure. Kubernetes distributions that incorporate Kubernetes along with container tools, in the same sense that different vendors offer distributions of the Linux kernel and its userland.

6 Kubernetes distributions leading the container revolution

Canonical Kubernetes

Canonical, maker of Ubuntu Linux, provides its own Kubernetes distribution. One of the big selling points for Canonical Kubernetes is the widely respected, well-understood, and commonly deployed Ubuntu Linux operating system underneath.


Docker is containers. And since 2014, Docker has had its own clustering and orchestration system, Docker Swarm, which until recently was a competitor to Kubernetes.

VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid

VMware's Tanzu Application Platform is used to create modern, cloud-native applications on Kubernetes across multiple infrastructures. The Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) is where Kubernetes figures in.

Mirantis Kubernetes Engine

MKE lets you manage both Docker and Docker Swarm containers. That's convenient because Swarm is the container-orchestration technology originally developed for Docker, and it's less inherently complex than Kubernetes.

Rancher Kubernetes Engine

Rancher also comes with its own Kubernetes distribution, Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE). RKE is meant to remove the drudgery from the process of setting up a Kubernetes cluster and customizing Kubernetes for a specific environment.

Red Hat OpenShift

OpenShift was built to provide abstraction and automation for all the components in a PaaS. This abstraction and automation also extend to Kubernetes, which still imposes a fair amount of administrative burden. OpenShift can alleviate that burden as part of the larger mission of deploying a PaaS.