The Rude Wake Up Call That Comes When Adopting Kubernetes
We all know about the explosion in popularity of Kubernetes, but many organizations are rudely waking up to the challenges they face when adopting Kubernetes in their cloud native application stack.
Kubernetes, while powerful and scalable, is fairly complex to provision and maintain. Additionally, this complexity grows as you scale to different applications and teams. Most enterprise IT teams don’t have the skills required to manage Kubernetes. And frankly, there is a lot of undifferentiated heavy lifting involved that they don’t want to expend their resources on.
In a survey Nirmata completed at the Kubecon + CloudNativeCon 2018 conference attendees, more than half (53%) of respondents cited lack of expertise as the top challenge in adopting Kubernetes, followed by management and operational complexity and security as the other key challenges. Moreover, enterprises are finding it hard to hire and retain individuals with Kubernetes expertise, slowing down their cloud native adoption. This has created a unique opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs) to step in and fill that gap.
Managed infrastructure providers, which provide private cloud services, have the opportunity to offer Kubernetes-as-a-service to their customers. By embracing Kubernetes, MSPs can tap into its rapid growth as well as “move up the stack” to provide application lifecycle management services. Development teams also need to set up an end-to-end continuous delivery toolchain, which can be provided by the MSPs. Over the next decade, applications packaged in containers will drive significant growth in infrastructure usage, which MSPs can capitalize on.
How Cloud MSPs Can Deliver a Comprehensive Kubernetes Offering
Many MSPs today use vCloud Director (vCD) for the ease with which it enables them to offer virtualized infrastructure services to their customers. Earlier this year, VMware launched Container Service Extension (CSE). CSE allows enables Kubernetes clusters in vCD, by creating customized VM templates (Kubernetes templates) and enabling tenant users to deploy fully functional Kubernetes clusters as self-contained vApps. Recently, Nirmata released a vCD extension that enables deployment and management of clusters created using CSE directly from the vCD user interface as well as provides additional management capabilities. This combined offering delivers the features necessary in a Kubernetes as a service offering.
Below are some of the core capabilities Nirmata Kubernetes extension can enable:
Enable Self-Service Deployment
A self-service offering reduces costs for service providers by saving both time and resources spent managing multiple tenants’ needs. Tenants can spin up Kubernetes clusters on-demand and tear them down when they are no longer needed, all from an already familiar vCD web client.
Provide Granular Access Control
Several applications could be running in a cluster and as a result access control becomes necessary to prevent any unauthorized access. Tenant administrators can manage cluster access using existing authentication and authorization techniques.
Ensure Complete Visibility
Cluster owners need visibility into the health of the clusters and application owners need to if their applications are healthy. Providing visibility into the health as well as detailed information for failures can ensure application uptime SLAs are met.
Simplify Add-On Management
Add-on services such as monitoring, logging, backup, etc. are required by application owners. Each tenant may have their preferences when it comes to these services. Service providers can now offer a catalog of add-on services that tenants can consume in their clusters without having to build expertise.
Integrated Backup and Disaster Recovery
As customers run mission-critical applications on Kubernetes, they require capabilities that can help them quickly recover from any infrastructure failures. Service providers can provide disaster recovery with integrated backups for the clusters as well as applications.
With VMware vCloud Director and Nirmata, MSP providing managed cloud services can partner with their customers in their cloud-native journey by offering managed “Kubernetes-as-a-service,” accelerating their journey, helping them save significant adoption costs, and allowing them to focus on adding business value. By providing these advanced capabilities, MSPs can address the Kubernetes skills gap that enterprises are faced with and become a trusted partner for application teams by taking on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of managing and operating Kubernetes clusters and workloads.