Recently, I joined an in-depth discussion about the state of Kubernetes in the Enterprise, courtesy of Cloud Native Now, bringing in the expertise from practitioners in the space. As Kubernetes gains in adoption and more workloads are running in production, we discussed what we have seen so far and what’s coming next. This post summarizes some of the insights about Kubernetes in the Enterprise from Mike Vizard, Chief Content Officer at Techstrong Group, Maz Tamadon, Director of Product and Solution Marketing at Kasten by Veeam, Frank J. Ohlhorst, Editor at Large, Mostafa Radwan, Principal at Road Clouds, Alex Nauda, CTO at Nobl9, and me, co-chair of the CNCF Cartografos Working Group and VP at Fairwinds.
Kubernetes maturity varies. Some organizations are super sophisticated Kubernetes users. Adobe, Wayfair, and Boeing, for example, are doing cool things. These orgs are creating and sharing open source projects, as Intuit did with Argo, which is awesome for the cloud native community. But a lot of organizations are just starting out with one or two containerized applications using Kubernetes. Many are not advancing fast enough, and cloud native maturity is all over the place. We discussed some of the most frequent questions we see in the Kubernetes community and how to address them.
Some orgs have a vision and a strategy of where to go with this, and teams are willing to fail a couple of times at first and follow the crawl, walk, and run approach. Usually, those teams end up doing well over time because they understand that adopting Kubernetes is a journey. Many of them follow the cloud native maturity model. That offers a great starting point and the pathway for enterprises to follow. Those who start with a cluster here and a cluster there often find themselves in a situation where it is necessary to make substantial changes to become successful deploying Kubernetes at scale.
Everybody has a different framework for using Kubernetes. One of the biggest reasons Kubernetes is a challenge is because of its inherent complexity. There is a lot of knowledge needed to work in a Kubernetes environment because there are so many ways to do it. A platform that standardizes how you manage, deploy, and upgrade will make it a lot easier. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) says that 91% of the enterprises use Kubernetes in production, but there are no statistics on what percentage are using it successfully or are happy with it.
A lot depends on how teams want to use Kubernetes technology and at what level. For organizations that already have significant software expertise and a software team in place, it’s possible to manage Kubernetes and maintain it in-house. If you don't have that, you may want a managed Kubernetes service. So much depends on the expertise you have and how much control you have across the entire value chain.