Comparing Anthos to On-Premises Solutions
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Anthos is an enterprise-grade solution from Google aimed at nothing less than modernizing and unifying your entire server infrastructure, wherever it currently exists. Anthos encompasses a very broad spectrum of components, yet it’s still very new, so there isn’t a lot of good documentation and training material available for it yet. This can all make Anthos seem very daunting to learn, but this course aims to show you that the very purpose of Anthos is to simplify your infrastructure complexities for you.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what Anthos is and does
  • Identify how Anthos fits in with other existing hybrid and multi-cloud solutions
  • Investigate options to modernize existing infrastructure configurations to use Anthos
  • Learn about the key components that make up Anthos, and how to configure them
  • Build and test a modern microservice application for Anthos on GCP
  • Create a CI/CD pipeline for deploying to Anthos

Intended Audience

  • Developers interested in learning about the latest in modern cloud-based development strategies


  • Familiarity with Kubernetes and GKE
  • Have a Google Cloud Platform account
  • Have the Google Cloud SDK installed and initialized
  • Have Git installed

It is also highly recommended that you have Docker Desktop and Visual Studio Code pre-installed as well.


Comparing Anthos to On-premise Solutions. In the previous lecture, we learned how Anthos compares to solutions from other major cloud providers and gained a better understanding of the current state of Multi-cloud and Hybrid Cloud computing. In this lecture, we're going to focus on how Anthos compares to, and integrates with current popular on-premise server solutions.

To start with, let's compare Anthos to a standard bare metal server. Managing bare metal servers can be challenging because there are no built-in mechanisms available for you to update, secure, monitor and scale your application across multiple instances. It can be difficult just to replicate your exact server environment across multiple bare metal servers if they don't have identical hardware and operating system configurations. Migrate for Anthos, gives us the option to turn bare metal server applications into virtual machines, which we can then migrate to containers. This is a great option if we're looking to modernize our infrastructure, but sometimes there are applications that are for whatever reason, impractical to move off bare metal. Anthos clusters on bare metal aims to solve this by putting your bare metal server applications under the control plane of Anthos. This way your bare metal applications can be monitored and managed basically the same way as a Kubernetes cluster. Many companies may have already graduated from bare metal to virtual machines for running their on-premise infrastructure. If this is the case for you, a migration path to Anthos would be quite straightforward.

We can deploy Anthos clusters on-premise using a hypervisor like VMware vSphere, or use Migrate for Anthos to turn your existing virtual machines into containers. If your operations are already working with vSphere, Anthos isn't your only option for modernizing your infrastructure though. VMware has their own new product called Tanzu, that shares a lot of similar features to Anthos. Tanzu is also built around Kubernetes. It can build and orchestrate containers and can manage containers hosted across multiple cloud providers with a single control plane, with support for all major public cloud providers.

Tanzu also has integrated monitoring and logging and can manage virtual machine environments using Kubernetes configuration with a tight integration with vSphere. If you're already using VMware and you would prefer to keep your control plane on-premise, Tanzu could be for you. If you would rather leave the management of that control plane to someone else for ease of security or are already using other GCP products, Anthos might be the better option. Anthos is also aiming to reach enterprise users with large data center operations, which gives it some overlap with tools like OpenStack. 

OpenStack is an open source project for managing your own private or public cloud with components that can be configured to emulate many of the same features offered by the major public cloud providers. OpenStack allows users to operate their own infrastructure as a service, by handling virtual machines and bare metal servers across a data center with a single management interface. OpenStack requires a hypervisor like VMware to manage its virtual machines.

OpenStack can also leverage containers to an extent with its Magnum API, but does not provide a unified routing layer or a logging and monitoring solution across your containerized deployments like Anthos does. OpenStack can run on all major cloud providers and offers consistency and uniformity when migrating between different environments. OpenStack is great at running an entire data center, but less good at managing distributed systems across multiple locations. As it does not provide a unified control plane to servers that exist outside of its own environment.

This is where another Red Hat product called OpenShift comes in, where OpenStack creates infrastructure as a service OpenShift creates a platform as a service and bears some stronger similarities to Anthos. OpenShift handles container based systems management, primarily using Docker and is deeply integrated with Kubernetes. OpenShift is a distributed system, capable of managing Hybrid Cloud or Multi-cloud deployments. And it can run on top of any other major cloud providers or layer on top of OpenStack. There is a small catch here, as all infrastructure must be provisioned with Red Hat Enterprise Linux when using OpenShift. Which may be a selling point for some users, but a deal breaker for others.

Anthos is based heavily on Ubuntu, but you're free to use other distributions with Anthos if you choose, while you're locked into Red Hat, when using OpenShift. The good news is if you're using OpenStack or OpenShift, both can easily integrate with Anthos and meet you where you are. Anthos on bare metal supports running with OpenStack so you can continue to use OpenStack as you are, but gain the management and oversight benefits of connecting it to the Anthos control plane. Anthos can also attach Kubernetes clusters running on OpenShift.

OpenStack and OpenShift together, give you many of the same capabilities as Anthos but you can host them entirely in-house without a Google managed service involved. This can be appealing to those who want to maintain full control of their entire infrastructure but represents an extra burden on your systems administrators to configure, manage and secure the entire stack top to bottom. Anthos is a managed service where this is a large part of what you're paying for, to have just these sorts of things handled for you.

At this point in the course, we should have a good understanding of the available Hybrid Cloud and Multi-cloud solutions currently available. The key thing to recognize is how they are not mutually exclusive and are all really interrelated and interconnected to each other. There are many paths available to move between or combine them depending on your needs. In the next lecture group, we're going to look more closely at developing for Anthos, and learn more about the key components we'll need to work with most when writing applications on Anthos.

About the Author

Arthur spent seven years managing the IT infrastructure for a large entertainment complex in Arizona where he oversaw all network and server equipment and updated many on-premise systems to cloud-based solutions with Google Cloud Platform. Arthur is also a PHP and Python developer who specializes in database and API integrations. He has written several WordPress plugins, created an SDK for the Infusionsoft API, and built a custom digital signage management system powered by Raspberry Pis. Most recently, Arthur has been building Discord bots and attempting to teach a Python AI program how to compose music.