How Rocket Scientists deploy Kubernetes

Ursa Major is literally a company of rocket scientists. We make advanced rocket propulsion systems, and have a one-of-a-kind facility where we design, build, and test engines in one location, drastically increasing the speed of design iterations and improvements.

On our software engineering team, we wanted to start using Kubernetes as a deployment platform for both in-house and cloud deployments, so we would have a single deployment toolchain to understand. Because we’re in aerospace, we have to comply with ITAR and a variety of security requirements; we needed a vendor that understood that we have out-of-the-box security requirements, and Sidero Labs and Talos fit the bill.

I’m the DevOps resource on my team; my experience with managing Kubernetes on heterogeneous hardware is that it can be pretty fussy to set up, and fragile during OS updates. We were looking for a vendor to remove that fragility, help us get the on-premise cluster set up and also provide us with ongoing support options.

Our IT team already uses VSphere, so it was natural for us to look at VMWare’s Kubernetes offerings – but we found that Omni and Talos Linux was much simpler to set up, delivered more security out of the box, and, because Talos Linux is designed as an OS for Kubernetes, it was rock solid during updates.

Additionally, the larger vendors have price points for support and licensing that were simply out of our budget. With Sidero, we received full support with a design review of our proposed Kubernetes layout, and ongoing professional support and services for our on-premise cluster at a much more cost-effective price point.

We elected to run Omni on our own infrastructure, even though we liked the SaaS offering, as it simplified our security audit requirements. The team from Sidero Labs made that pretty easy for us, even though we were the first on-premises deployment. We integrated Omni with our on-premises GitHub for authentication – which is great as it unifies authentication of Kubernetes and provisioning clusters and machines through Omni into our enterprise systems.

Sidero’s support team has been incredibly professional, helping us diagnose and fix issues from other vendors in our deployment stack, as well as proactively reaching out to make sure we’re always happy and our cluster is behaving well. Omni has made it simple for us to deploy new clusters, scale up or down, and lets us focus on our applications – not on Kubernetes. Omni makes Kubernetes just work for us. Talos and Omni are such an excellent experience that we have deployed more on-premise clusters and everything has just worked.

Gwendolyn (Gwyn) James