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Cloud Native Ecosystem / Kubernetes

Kubernetes Helps Teams Modernize Faster … Even On Premises

Kubernetes is a great way to optimize your existing hardware resources and get your teams building in a way that is directly transferable to the cloud.
Apr 25th, 2022 7:00am by
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Image by Jason Goh from Pixabay.

Moving to the cloud isn’t a simple undertaking. Sure, it’s easy to draw up an architecture slide or two, dust your hands, and claim, “That’s how we move to the cloud!”

That’s when the real work starts. It takes months of effort to make sure that systems continue to work effectively as you migrate.

Your existing investments add to the challenge.

Hardware Isn’t Cheap

Mark Nunnikhoven
Mark is a Distinguished Cloud Strategist at Lacework. Mark works with teams to modernize their security practices and to help them get the most out of the cloud. With a strong focus on automation, he helps bridge the gap between DevOps and traditional security through coaching, writing, speaking and engaging with the cloud community.

If you’ve been working solely in the cloud for the past couple of years, you’ve probably — thankfully — forgotten how expensive and time-consuming owning hardware can be.

Servers are still purchased on a three-to-five-year life cycle. Network switching equipment on a five-to-seven-year life cycle.

These assets cost tens of thousands of dollars. No CFO in their right mind is going to let you abandon them when they are working just fine. Regardless of the efficiencies (yes, efficiencies, not savings) you’ll gain in the cloud, they won’t justify writing off that much equipment.

Migrating to the cloud isn’t a one-day affair. It’s a process that should be structured and takes time.

Modernize Your Workflow

This raises the question, “How can you modernize the way your team works, while during the extended migration?”

Enter Kubernetes or k8s.

… or at least, enter a lot of discussions about other possible solutions and then eventually realize that Kubernetes is the way to go.

Why Kubernetes?

There are two reasons you should use this infrastructure layer, and make no mistake, it is a major piece of infrastructure.

The first is if you have a large and varied containerized environment. In this case, you need the orchestration and optimization that k8s provides.

The second is that Kubernetes is a great way to optimize your existing hardware resources and get your teams building in a way that is directly transferable to the cloud.

Despite the availability of other virtualization and abstraction options, k8s has quickly become the defector choice — and with good reason.

Build Once, Deploy Anywhere

Unlike the Java claims of old, building a solution on k8s means that it’s going to run on any Kubernetes installation.

This is the major advantage for k8s and why it helps to modernize your workflow.

Build for k8s now and run on-premises, taking advantage of those assets you already own. As you grow and start to migrate to the cloud, you don’t need to rebuild your solution, just deploy to a different Kubernetes cluster.

Once you’re all-in on the cloud, nothing changes. You’ve managed to modernize workflow despite the constraints of your existing investments.

If you’re starting in the cloud, this approach still has benefits. You can expand as needed by scaling k8s up and out. Or you can go multicloud, running k8s with another cloud service provider (CSP).

The Down Side

Now that we understand how k8s can help modernize our development workflow despite other constraints, there has to be a downside, right?

Yes. Kubernetes isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.

If you are going to take advantage of the power that Kubernetes offers, you need to understand the cost. That cost is complexity.

There’s a reason that we list Kubernetes as an environment up in the top header (👆under Platforms).

Infrastructure Layer

As soon as you deploy Kubernetes, even if you’re using a managed service from a CSP, it becomes critical infrastructure for your environment.

Critical infrastructure is just that, critical.

If you’re having issues with your k8s environment, then every application and solution you’re running in that environment could have issues too.

Knowing this, you need not only tools to monitor the health and security of your k8s environment, but the staff with the operational knowledge to maximize its benefits.

The Biggest Challenge

The weight of a Kubernetes deployment creates the biggest challenge. While it does help modernize your development work, that weight also creates an obstacle to implementing a DevOps philosophy.

Taking on such a large operational challenge requires dedicated resources.

Now, your development teams can try to ignore that layer and simply build to k8s. That’s a step in the wrong direction.

When using Kubernetes in your environment, you should make sure that development teams are working closely with operations. A strong relationship between your site reliability engineering (SRE) teams and developers will lead to better solutions.

This hasn’t changed from the basics of a DevOps philosophy, but the gravity of k8s tends to let teams lean more toward that “somebody else’s issue”-type mindset.

Avoid that at all costs!

What’s Next?

Kubernetes is an important tool. Not only can it help you orchestrate and operate a containerized environment at scale, but it can address the very real challenges presented during migration.

This critical infrastructure layer allows you to maximize existing assets while modernizing development workflows today, creating a seamless path to running that same solution in the cloud when the time comes.

That’s a massive boost to your team’s productivity and a major reason why k8s is so popular.

If you’re running Kubernetes today, make sure you have the tools in place to properly monitor its health and security posture.

Just as important, makes sure that your development and SRE teams continue to collaborate. Working together, they can deliver far more resilient solutions.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma.
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