Kubernetes Off-The-Shelf Software & Why You Need It In Your Life

Treva Williams
Feb 19, 2021
KOTS architecture

Greetings friends and welcome to part one of a series on getting familiar with the Replicated catalog. We’re going to start with KOTS – short for Kubernetes-off-the-shelf software.Since you’re here, I’m going to assume that you’re probably already at least somewhat familiar with Kubernetes,(TL;dr it’s THE open source container orchestration engine that’s way faster, cheaper, & smaller than traditional VMs), so I won’t bore you with yet another tech overview of K8s and why everyone loves it so much. Instead, let’s jump straight into KOTS and why you need to incorporate it into your cluster management workflow ASAP. 

What the h*ck is KOTS?

How kots works

Now, I know that there are a gajillion different solutions available for managing Kubernetes ranging from Amazon EKS to Red Hat OpenShift, so what makes KOTS so special? Well for one thing, KOTS – or Kubernetes off the Shelf – isn’t a Kubernetes distro itself (learn more about the differences on our post K8s infrastructure vs. K8s application delivery and management).

KOTS actually manages your application(s) running on a K8s cluster, as opposed to managing the cluster itself. ReplicatedKOTS is an open source application installer-slash updater-slash-license manager for Kubernetes clusters that helps manage the preflight, install, support, and upgrade process of third party software in Kubernetes. KOTS transitions on-prem software to the Kubernetes age by enabling vendors to easily package an upstream, fully supported Kubernetes distribution along with their application for enterprises not fully on the Kubernetes bandwagon.

In short, KOTS enables admins to remotely install, manage & update their apps running on K8s clusters from a single, convenient control panel and/or a single CLI, which is a HUGE deal.

OK this KOTS thing sounds great – how do I get started?

I’m glad you asked. The easiest way to get your hands on KOTS is to sign up for a 21-day free trial, which can be done over on the Replicated vendor website.

Replicated 21-day Free Trial

After signing up, you’ll get a confirmation email containing a verification code. Once you’ve verified your account, you’ll be led to a page in the vendor portal where you can get started with creating your first application.  

Where can I learn how to make an app?

There are several references available for learning how to make an app in KOTS, first and foremost would be the KOTS getting started guide. If you’re more of a visual learner, a video onboarding series is available especially for beginners looking to hit the ground running. For your convenience, I’ve embedded the video for you too.

If you need help with accountability, stay tuned to this space as I will be releasing semi-regular blogs outlining a learning plan. 

So what are you waiting for?

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