Kubernetes: the key to capitalising on containers in the enterprise

Thomas Di Giacomo, president of engineering and innovation at  SUSE, considers the enterprise benefits of container orchestration and management with Kubernetes

It may have only been around for five years but Kubernetes has already cemented its position as the go-to container management system – with its global fan base growing quickly each year. CIOs across every industry are recognising Kubernetes as a top tier container management system and, consequently, its job market is rapidly expanding. In fact, a recent national job search on LinkedIn revealed 16,774 open Kubernetes positions. These numbers are only set to rise as hiring demand follows the rapid expansion of Kubernetes use in the enterprise.

Kubernetes offers numerous advantages, particularly when supporting DevOps. It ensures quick, easy management and logical organisation by arranging application containers into “packages”, as well as automating all scaling and application operations. Kubernetes is not an independent platform per se, yet it is compatible with other components and can deliver both the flexibility of Infrastructure-as-a-Service and the easy navigation of Platform-as-a-Service. As a result, businesses employing Kubernetes can ensure that movement between different infrastructure providers is seamless and straightforward. With all these benefits, it’s no surprise that its popularity is soaring.

Today organisations are recognising – and capitalising on – the advantages of employing containers. But those businesses using container technology other than Kubernetes are missing out on three key benefits.

Innovation driven by the open source community

Originally an open source project run by Google in 2014, Kubernetes was quickly viewed as a credible platform given the company’s extensive experience and talent. It rapidly established a strong, supportive and innovative community with a network of thousands of contributors on GitHub. This community spanned from individuals to key members, such as Amazon Web Services, Google, SUSE and SAP.

Kubernetes is now one of the largest existing open source communities. Its popularity has led to further system development and even enterprise interest. Kubernetes’ current positioning by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) supports this interest as it is helping to prevent any future vendor-lock in issues. Recently, its strong community following could be found at the latest KubeCon conference in San Diego, where 12,000 people from across the world met to discuss and drive forward Kubernetes innovation.

This recognition has encouraged many technology providers to give Kubernetes a central role in their planning foundations. As a result, they are able to take an active role in this expanding community – further building on its origins of collaboration and innovation.

Agility across all deployments and applications

 The majority of businesses today rely on a hybrid IT model, combining both cloud and on-premises data centres. Consequently, they need to be able to run IT infrastructure seamlessly and to transfer workloads and data easily between different platforms.

Kubernetes’ flexibility is a major draw. It can easily slot into this hybrid landscape, given that it can be deployed across both cloud and on-premises, as well as being run as a service. It does not rely on one particular infrastructure which means that DevOps teams can use Kubernetes to build applications and easily implement them, regardless of which data environment is involved.

As it is specifically designed to be compatible with a wide range of technology workloads and ongoing developments, Kubernetes will run smoothly with any application working with containers. For instance, Kubernetes can operate with a legacy application that has been migrated into containers just as well as it can operate with cloud-native microservices.

Revolutionising DevOps development

 Given the accelerated pace of digital development today, organisations need to be able to actively adapt to both internal and external changes. Companies must adopt a flexible software and IT infrastructure if they are to build or retain their competitive advantage. The use of agile containers makes this possible. Today DevOps is paving the way for new, agile application development, and containers are playing a vital role in helping businesses to achieve, or even exceed, their IT goals.

With Kubernetes, developers can group their applications into containers knowing that their application will function efficiently in both development and production situations. Beyond revolutionising innovation in development, Kubernetes has also helped to improve the DevOps process itself. The technology allows developers to spend less time on tasks such as scaling, updating workflows and scripting specific deployment. Through automation, Kubernetes independently manages and operates these tasks, with optimised results when combined with other application platforms such as Cloud Foundry.

Kubernetes can also support modern businesses with another necessity for today’s competitive landscape: agile scaling. For example, when Spotify decided that its team was too small to handle the activity of its 200 million monthly users effectively, it turned to Kubernetes. By providing a flexible infrastructure, Kubernetes allowed Spotify to autoscale so that the team could turn their focus from manual capacity provisioning to delivering features instead. They benefitted from lower costs and increased operations speed, while also employing the best tools which could be integrated alongside existing programmes easily.

In today’s revolutionary technology landscape, Kubernetes is essential for organisations looking to boost innovation now and in future. It plays a vital role in helping businesses to enhance their application delivery with containerised and cloud-native workloads. Making the simple transition to Kubernetes is the best next step an enterprise can take to set themselves up for a more agile, innovative and successful future.