In recent years, IT departments have been under pressure to increase agility and reduce costs. As a result, the containerisation of applications has rapidly become a popular solution, with organisations choosing to group applications to be deployed faster and with greater versatility. For software developers, the next step was to look for ways to automate many of the processes involving these containers and make them easier to handle.
Kubernetes has quickly become the go-to solution. As an open-source container orchestration platform, it allows businesses to quickly build, deploy, manage, and scale containerised systems. The platform has evolved in recent years from a tool for scaling and managing applications to a comprehensive platform offering a wide range of cloud-native services and playing a pivotal role in revolutionising cloud-native architecture.
What’s more, Kubernetes applications have also widened for companies that require enterprise-level features. Enterprise grade platforms package Kubernetes with tools to help organisations requiring features such as integrated DevOps tools, application life cycle management, enhanced security and management tools or for those managing multi-cluster environments.
So, with Kubernetes’ market value projected to reach almost $6 billion by 2027, what features hav driven this rise in popularity, and what should businesses watch out for when using this platform?
Kubernetes can automatically scale containerised applications up or down at any time based on demand. Even for the most complex containerised applications, businesses can use what is needed to reduce costs while ensuring applications have the resources they need, making it an ideal set-up for large enterprises or smaller organisations looking to grow.
Kubernetes can also reduce the costs of managing containerised applications by automating many of the tasks involved. The platform will automatically collect and plan workload distribution to the nodes that cost less to run, which is especially useful for businesses that use a multi-cloud solution.
Kubernetes can also help IT departments avoid vendor lock-in to reduce costs. When businesses rely heavily on a single provider, they run the risk of having no choice but to remain with their services and often inflated prices for extended lengths of time. Since Kubernetes is an open-source solution, it allows businesses to migrate workloads to any destination, reducing reliance on a single cloud provider and allowing businesses to ‘shop around’ for the best prices.
The platform also offers businesses the incentive to optimise application performance. For those working in a multi-cloud or hybrid context, where they must pay for traffic between different providers, Kubernetes can manage and optimise communication between different workloads to allow developers to focus on application performance and increase efficiency.
What’s more, Kubernetes can implement effective load balancing across a containerised system. This ensures that traffic is effectively distributed across applications during peak
times to ensure they are performing at their peak and preventing a single server from crashing. For businesses working in a multi-cloud context, Kubernetes can perform this function across a variety of different platforms, including servers in the cloud, on-premise or in a data centre.
Additionally, performance can be optimised through the platform’s built-in monitoring and self-healing features. Monitoring capabilities ensure that no longer needed data is removed automatically. Self-healing features will automatically redeploy a failed container to its desired state or disable containers that do not pass redefined ‘health checks’. It is, therefore, no surprise that the platform has grown in popularity, given its ability to automate and optimise such a wide range of infrastructure management processes.
Whilst this all may sound appealing, the platform is not without its limitations. Businesses should certainly consider how and who will manage the platform when it is implemented and if it is the best solution for a business’s needs.
For example, Kubernetes can be a complex language to learn, and its implementation will be a steep learning curve for businesses without the proper expertise. It’s crucial, therefore, to ensure they have the correct team to hand with knowledge on various topics, including distributed applications, cloud computing, and distributed logging.
The platform also requires a certain level of infrastructure to run, making migrating existing applications difficult without long-term thinking and a vision from the beginning. Moving non-containerised applications to containers can be expensive and time-consuming without proper planning. A detailed and deliberate approach should be outlined beforehand to ensure your business is able to benefit from the features outlined earlier.
The benefits Kubernetes offers businesses are undeniable. By automating and managing application deployment and efficiency, Kubernetes allows IT operations teams to focus on applications rather than infrastructure management. By virtue, this can result in increased productivity and reduced time to market.
However, CIOs should consider if their business’s infrastructure is suitable and ready to implement this technology. Therefore, only with the proper planning and structures in place, will businesses be able to embrace the wide range of benefits that Kubernetes offers. As the platform is likely to evolve and grow, we can look forward to new capabilities, which may include more automation and intelligence and greater support for multi-cloud environments.