The introduction of Kubernetes (K8s) has leveled the field for the enterprise, giving them the tooling and capabilities previously enjoyed by startups, to massively grow their business. Kubernetes is already extensively used by the majority of new companies born in the cloud. But the adoption of K8s by the enterprise hasn’t been as widespread.
To start with, K8s is complex and involves a steep learning curve. The true benefits of implementing K8s reveal themselves once additional technology has been mastered including cache management and load balancing; it also requires the use of a new set of monitoring and health-checking tools. The introduction K8s requires major changes to the delivery pipeline and, as a result, changes the established procedures and regulation controls. And any cost savings are not assured — it is very easy to over-allocate resources.
So What Can Kubernetes Do for Us?
K8s has the potential to do for the enterprise what it does for Internet startups: reduce time to market, improve Service Level Agreements (SLA) and improve the bottom line. Today, every enterprise is a software business. Enterprise CIOs are tasked with delivering applications with high quality and customer experience that rival those of all the usual giants. The need for speed and agility of innovation is driving the way companies are building, running and securing their modern applications — this in turn is transforming the software architecture into microservices. In turn, these microservices depend on containerized application and orchestration to hasten deployment of improvements and new capabilities essential to maintaining highly available, secure customer experiences. Kubernetes can do this by introducing automation in a number of key areas such as, deployment of application services, configuration of application networks and distribution of services across infrastructure, to name but a few.
Kubernetes is not just a passing fancy — the signs are that it is here for the long run. According to one recent survey of IT professionals, it found that well over half were running Kubernetes in a production environment, with one-third operating 26 more clusters or more and one-fifth running more than 50 clusters. Whilst this information doesn’t take into account the continued use of public cloud services, it certainly indicates that Kubernetes is gaining traction within local data center environments. And salary doesn’t appear to be the lead driver for IT professionals when considering a new job — more often than not, the opportunity for professional growth and learning are more powerful motivating forces. The introduction of technology such as K8s, not only increases productivity amongst IT staff but also provides the space to work on interesting projects that lead to greater job satisfaction and retention. As the enterprise continues to invest in k8s, the competition will only grow for employees skilled in K8s — growing your own talent is an increasingly attractive approach, therefore.
What Should We Prepare for?
Just like any other major IT investment, there will be an element of risk in implementing K8s. But also be prepared to weigh up the cost of losing market bearing if you simply do nothing. Make good your preparations and understand that there are things that you can do to allay any risks if you embrace this new technology. Any K8s implementation requires making a significant technical effort and investment in integration with other technologies. K8s relies on other projects, a lot of them open source, to manage services like registry, security, telemetry, networking and automation. You need to be able to recognize all of this and factor it into your implementation plans accordingly. Try using one of the available tested (and integrated) “enterprise-ready” products.
It can be the case that IT miscalculates how complex it is to run highly available and secure applications on top of Kubernetes. K8s demands a particular level of expertise to maintain it in production with your software running on top. Things like service health checks, infrastructure monitoring, application instrumentation, deployment strategies, networking, VM security, container security and many others, all need requisite planning. Don’t attempt the DIY route unless you have the requisite level of in-house expertise. K8s is not a single executable, running on a single server — it is a conglomerate of different applications and network layers, closely integrated to produce the final solution,
Kubernetes certainly looks like it is here to stay. Don’t slow down the digital transformation for your business and take a look at what K8s could do for you.
Feature image via Pixabay.