If you’re like most organizations, you have been using containers more and more in your multicloud environment. And for good reason: containers are the building block for modern infrastructure. Decoupling the application from its environment allows workloads to run consistently and securely, anywhere. With this, Kubernetes has become the ultimate foundation for a cloud native future. The growth of Kubernetes has fostered an entire open source toolset designed for interoperability and longevity. Innovation is rapid, and the benefits are being used by thousands of organizations every day on their path to resilient and future-proof infrastructure.
Why Kubernetes? It is a solid, open and non-proprietary application that has a wide adoption, but still offers a great deal of flexibility and lowers costs. It orchestrates containers on multiple hosts, enables companies to scale resources and applications in real-time, and allows them to save money by optimizing infrastructural resources with more efficient use of hardware.
There’s just one catch — many organizations embracing Kubernetes end up with too many isolated and individually managed Kubernetes deployments. This creates a great deal of inefficiency and complexity, places a greater burden on IT staff, and makes it much more difficult for security and compliance officers to control. Organizations should expect and embrace a wide adoption of Kubernetes, but must be ready to address the concerns surrounding management, security and control of siloed deployments — especially when they become too much for the originating teams to handle. Without a consolidated and consistent way to manage — and perhaps even automate — non-disruptive upgrades, version control, high availability, compliance, control, oversight and the whole host of administrative and management functions, organizations will find their new approach for speed and agility to be an added burden.
What are the magic ingredients to look for in a Kubernetes service? While sadly there is no single perfect algorithm for your enterprise Kubernetes deployments, here are six key criteria that you should evaluate before making your Kubernetes service decisions.
- Open and Hybrid Multicloud: Different public and private clouds have distinct strengths and weaknesses. In order to ensure that you can always put your apps where you want them, when you need them — thus alleviating lock-in concerns — look for an agnostic open hybrid and multicloud solution that enables you to modernize your existing applications and build new ones. It should deliver reliable services for the deployment, management, and monitoring of enterprise-grade Kubernetes clusters across all major cloud providers.
- Centralized Command and Control: Look for an intuitive, multicloud dashboard and powerful APIs that manage your K8s cluster lifecycles, regardless of operating environment. It should enable your developers and operators to gain the flexibility required to operate effectively across public cloud(s), private cloud(s) and on-premise environments alike. Consider the importance of centralized RBAC and access management, and the ability to interrogate activity with detailed audit log functionality — helping to improve management decision making and compliance operations. You should be able to view and debug application logs in real-time from the intuitive dashboard. It should support your ability to schedule workloads on master nodes to take advantage of available resources and to increase efficiencies in smaller environments. Consistent and centralized command and control will help to accelerate crucial application development.
- End-to-End Deployments: Look for a service that manages Kubernetes deployments from end to end with an inbuilt cloud-agnostic, enterprise-grade CNCF certified Kubernetes distribution. It should deploy pure upstream Kubernetes, without any proprietary customizations, and support the most recent stable versions, so that you can quickly and seamlessly integrate other tools into your ecosystem.
- Highly Available Kubernetes Clusters: Your K8s service should allow and enable you to provision highly available Kubernetes clusters, across availability zones as required and with just a few clicks, with centralized user access, control, and logging. Deployed clusters should support self-healing, non-disruptive upgrades and scale up and down as demands dictate; with integrated intelligent auto-scaling to reduce costs and downtime to your enterprise operations. Additionally, the environment should be integrated with industry-leading cloud native tools, including Prometheus, Calico, Istio and KNative.
- Governance and Compliance Adherence: Ensure your Kubernetes service incorporates a unified dashboard enabling central management and policies (governance) with centralized auditing. The ability to control apps and data and determine landing zones in the datacenter, geo-location or selected colocation provider, means developers can construct data flow pipelines limiting the ability to breach compliance or regulatory requirements. You want centralized monitoring and alerting so that your enterprise operations teams can improve (lower) the meantime to respond and time to recovery.
- Other Key Capabilities: Look for options to be able to add GPU instances, preemptible and spot instances, as well as the ability to schedule workloads on master nodes to take advantage of available resources. The ability to perform rolling workload updates to ensure maximum uptime is critical, as is the ability to seamlessly deploy applications from public or private container registries, and control access to cluster nodes through automatically synced SSH key management.
There are numerous reasons that Kubernetes has become the defacto standard for enterprise-class containers, clusters and DevOps environments. You want to make sure that the Kubernetes service you select will help your organization accelerate the adoption of cloud native infrastructure, fully enabling your multicloud strategy while adhering to industry best practices.
It should give you better control over your cloud spend, optimize existing resources, as well as be a collaborative environment for your developers and operators alike. It should increase your efficiency by centralizing the control, while still supporting individual departmental deployments — providing a practical approach to ensuring security and compliance by enforcing the use of only approved release versions.
The right Kubernetes service will do all of these for you, and help you optimize your cloud native future while minimizing or even eradicating the challenges associated with managing multiple K8s clusters across your enterprise.
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