Kubernetes complexity is slowing down adoption of containers in almost half of organisations

Civo, a pure play “cloud native” service provider, has published the result of its research on the use of containers in organisations. It surveyed 1,000 cloud developers and found that half reported their organisation use containers now, and 73% of those organisations are using it in a production environment. However, the research also revealed that complexity around container orchestration is hindering adoption, with 47% reporting that this complexity is slowing down their organisation’s use of containers.

Container adoption throughout organisations large and small is accelerating fast as businesses increasingly build and use cloud native applications. In this high-growth environment, container orchestration systems, particularly Kubernetes has grown in popularity to become the de facto way to automate the deployment, scaling and management of containers.

Civo’s research revealed several benefits associated with Kubernetes. Over two-fifths (41%) cited easy scaling as a key advantage, closely followed by ease of management of containers (35%) and optimising of resources (13%). Despite these clear benefits, nearly half of respondents (47%) have never used Kubernetes.

The research also revealed a number of challenges and frustrations that respondents have encountered whilst using Kubernetes. By far and away the top challenge of using Kubernetes is the steep learning curve (57% reported this as their top challenge) and the biggest frustration is the new terms, concepts and commands that come with adopting Kubernetes. On top of this, 62% of respondents are frustrated by the time it takes to spin up a working Kubernetes cluster.

The future of Kubernetes

However, there is help in the form of K3s, a fully conformant Kubernetes distribution. K3s is designed as a single binary of less than 40MB that completely implements the Kubernetes API. Due to its low resource requirements, it's possible to run clusters using servers with just 512MB of RAM. Because it's a compact binary, K3s clusters can spin up in a fraction of the time it takes to launch a regular Kubernetes cluster. When asked by Civo, 80% of Kubernetes users are familiar with K3s and already over half (51%) would consider it for production workloads.

Mark Boost, Co-Founder and CEO at Civo, said: “Our research makes it clear what many in the industry have suspected for some time: complexity is a major obstacle in the uptake of Kubernetes. These difficulties are clearly feeding into broader concerns about a steep learning curve with Kubernetes, with some businesses potentially put off the cost of upskilling developer teams.

“At this moment of truth for Kubernetes, new options are emerging to tackle the challenges highlighted by our research. One such platform is K3s, a rapidly growing form of Kubernetes distribution offering a lightweight, simplified way for developers to rapidly start spinning up clusters. Contrary to popular the belief that K3s is just for Edge computing, K3s is particularly efficient at handling production workloads, as well as significantly enhancing the value for organisations.”

Darren Shepherd, Chief Architect at SUSE and creator of K3s, said: "I think K3s has the chance to be the most widely deployed distribution of Kubernetes.”

Boost concludes: “The rise of K3s marks a turning point in the developer ecosystem, simplifying Kubernetes for developers of all levels.”

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