The Simple, Solid & Certified Kubernetes Distribution

Kontena Pharos

Kontena Pharos v2.4.10 | Dec 2nd, 2019 | Release Notes | Get Started

It's Complete.

Kontena Pharos is a certified Kubernetes distribution with all batteries included. It is powered by the latest upstream version of Kubernetes kernel and include tools for cluster lifecycle management. Kontena Pharos is everything you love about Kubernetes. Taken to the next level.

It's Secure.

Kontena Pharos deployments are ultra secure. The security is hardened following the NIST recommendations and ensuring each new release will pass CIS security benchmark. In case of CVE, Kontena Pharos deployments may be upgraded zero-downtime once the fix becomes available.

It's Amazing.

Kontena Pharos is not a proprietary managed Kubernetes solution that works on single cloud provider infrastructure. It works on any infrastructure, at any scale. It works smoothly on private data centers, public cloud, hybrid across private/public or at the edge, no problem.

Why Kontena Pharos?

The simple, solid, certified Kubernetes distribution made for you, just the way you like it.

We do the Kubernetes for you, so you don't have to

We believe building and maintaining a proprietary DIY Kubernetes distributions is not where the race is won. Just like with Linux, building it once might be fun (and good for learning) but not for real use. Kontena Pharos is a complete, ultra secure, maintained and certified Kubernetes distribution that works on-premises, on any cloud and beyond - just the way you like it. Use Kontena Pharos to focus on the stuff that matters: those things that run on top of it!

Get up and running in minutes with amazing tooling

Kontena Pharos is always up-to-date and built from the latest upstream Kubernetes, including a standardized set of essential features. It is easy to install and maintain with the dedicated CLI tool. The standard deployment may be extended with ready made add-ons for most common use cases.

Want to run OpenFaaS, Kubeless, Knative, Istio, Linkerd or Kubeflow? No worries! Since Kontena Pharos is a certified Kubernetes distribution, they all work on top of it just like that! To make things even more easy, it comes with Helm - the package manager for Kubernetes built-in.

Amazing for on-premises, no lock-in

The Kontena Pharos is made available with open core licensing model. The core contains all essential features and is 100% open source under Apache 2 license. You can use it for free, for any purpose. For businesses, we offer versions with more functionality, fully managed solutions, support and consulting.

Kontena Pharos Features

Kubernetes Kernel

  • V1.14.3

Supported Cluster Upgrade Strategies

  • Rolling (zero-downtime)
  • Instant

Supported Infrastructure

  • Private datacenter
  • Public cloud
  • Hybrid
  • Edge

Supported Machine Types

  • Bare metal
  • VM

Supported Machine Architectures

  • Intel (x86-64)
  • ARM (ARM64)

Supported Host Operating Systems

  • CentOS
  • Debian
  • Redhat
  • Ubuntu

Supported Cluster Data Store Options

  • In-cluster elastic etcd with TLS
  • External etcd with TLS

Supported Control Plane Availability Options

  • Single master
  • Multi-master

Supported Workload Isolation Options

  • Worker nodes only
  • All nodes

Supported Container Runtimes

  • Docker
  • CRI-O

Supported CNI Plugins

  • Weave
  • Calico
  • Custom

Supported Storage Providers

  • Public Cloud
  • AWS
  • GCP
  • Azure
  • Custom
  • Private Cloud / On-Premises
  • Kontena Storage (rook/ceph)
  • OpenStack
  • VMWare VSphere
  • Custom

Built-In Security Conformance

  • CIS security benchmark
  • NIST SP 800-190

Built-In Security Features

  • RBAC
  • Pod security policies
  • Network policies
  • Cluster firewall (firewalld)
  • Host OS security updates
  • Cert-manager
  • Air gapped setup supported

Built-In Networking Features

  • Public Cloud
  • Ingress-nginx
  • AWS
  • GCP
  • Azure
  • Custom
  • Private Cloud / On-Premises
  • Ingress-nginx
  • Kontena Network Loadbalancer (metallb)
  • Kontena Universal Loadbalancer (akrobateo)
  • Custom
  • Hybrid / Edge
  • Intelligent Network Mesh
  • Multi-cluster Networking

Built-In Applications Management Features

  • Helm

Built-In Metrics

  • Metrics Server
  • Kontena Stats

Built-In Backup & Disaster Recovery Features

  • Kontena Backup (ark)

Source Code

  • Available on Github

Managed Kontena Pharos

Focus on the stuff that matters: let Kontena take care of setting up, running and maintaining Kubernetes for you on the infrastructure of your choice.

Managed Kubernetes on your infra

Enjoy fully managed Kubernetes on the infrastructure of your choice; bare metal, VMWare, OpenStack and public clouds are supported.

Built-to-last, always up-to-date

The solution is built to meet your requirements. We'll take care of setting up, running and maintaining the platform for you.

Predictable costs, no lock-in

The solution is provided with simple pricing. If you feel you're not getting value from the managed solution, we're happy to hand over the keys.

How does the managed Kontena Pharos solution work?

1. We set up the Kubernetes cluster for you

We will design and set up Kontena Pharos according to your individual business needs including choice of infrastructure, types of workloads, scale and monitoring systems.

2. We run and maintain your Kubernetes cluster

We will run and maintain the system for you 24/7 with enterprise grade SLA. In addition to generic support for using Kubernetes, your SLA covers uptime, on demand scaling and platform updates.

3. On request, we will hand over the keys

If you feel you're not getting value from the managed solution, we are happy to transfer the control over to you. We offer training for administering Kubernetes to ensure a smooth handover.

Any questions or ready to get started?

Get Started Contact Us

Kontena Pharos FAQ

What is Kontena Pharos?

Kontena Pharos is a simple, solid and certified Kubernetes distribution that just works. It is composed of the latest upstream Kubernetes with all the essential components delivering a robust foundation that works at any scale. It is open source under Apache 2 license and free for any purpose: personal or commercial.

What is unique about Kontena Pharos?

Unlike most of the existing solutions that simplify installation of Kubernetes on public cloud, Kontena Pharos works on any infrastructure: public cloud, private cloud, on-premises, bare metal or hybrid. It also features robust tools for updating and maintaining the system after installation. In addition, it is commercially supported with support that also covers the use of Kubernetes itself. And finally, unlike many competing solutions out there, it just works!

How does Kontena Pharos differ from other Kubernetes distributions?

Please see the comparison in the Kontena Pharos docs.

How does Kontena Pharos relate to Kontena Classic?

Kontena has been developing its own container platform solution (including its own orchestrator) a.k.a. Kontena Classic for running containers and micro services since 2015. The motivation for this solution has always been to empower developers to architect and run containerized applications with minimal effort on any infrastructure. This solution has been very popular and we feel we have nailed down the developer happiness factor.

At the same time, Kubernetes and the ecosystem around it has been growing to biblical proportions. Despite all of its issues, Kubernetes has been declared as the "winner" of container orchestration. While technically Kontena Classic is almost on par with available features and provides superior usability, the ecosystem is strongly behind Kubernetes.

Kontena Pharos is the combination of developer experience you will find from Kontena Classic and Kubernetes with its endless customization options and vibrant ecosystem. Kontena's motivation is still the same: empower developers to architect and run containerized applications with minimal effort on any infrastructure. With Kontena Pharos, we are now also able to deliver this experience to people in the Kubernetes ecosystem.

Should I upgrade my existing Kubernetes deployment to Kontena Pharos?

If you are not 100% happy with your current deployment and feel Kontena Pharos can provide functionality or peace of mind that is not available to you with your current setup, we suggest you give it a try!

Will Kontena Pharos offer a web based management UI?

Many of you might be familiar with the Kontena Cloud web UI for managing container workloads. Over time, we plan to deliver this same experience also to Kontena Pharos users. For the time being, you can use the standard Kubernetes web UI that is easily available via the Kontena Pharos add-on.

What will happen to Kontena Classic? How do you prioritize development?

Kontena Classic is "feature complete". it has all the features and functionality we originally envisioned. It works for the purpose it was designed. We will keep updating and maintaining Kontena Classic but don't expect new features such as support for multiple container engines, namespaces or RBAC (just giving some examples) to be added to Kontena Classic. To be honest, most people don't even need these features. Depending on your use case, there might be no real benefit for switching to Kontena Pharos (or Kubernetes in general).

As mentioned in the Kontena Pharos announcement blog post, we see Kontena Pharos as the spiritual successor to Kontena Classic. Kontena Pharos will continue from where Kontena Classic ends. The core features you'll get are mostly coming from the Kubernetes open source project or the ecosystem around it. While we are part of the Linux Foundation and CNCF that oversees the Kubernetes project, we are not in the driver’s seat. Nobody is. All the core features you will get are the result of the Kubernetes open source project which is a 100% community effort.

How can I find out more?

Please contact us at for more information or if you have any questions not covered in the FAQ.