Container orchestration with Kubernetes: what businesses should know
First the containers came. Then container orchestration platform followed. Finally, Kubernetes, the open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications, is now dominating the container scene. And businesses have a lot to gain for it, in terms of efficiency and agility.
The rise of Kubernetes
Kubernetes, an open-source software project that started at Google, has exploded in popularity and is now used by at least 54% of the Fortune 500. A 451 Research survey of enterprises using containers found that 71% of respondents were using Kubernetes. It's become the industry standard for deploying containers in production. Surveys conducted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2018 indicate that well over 80% of organizations utilize a container orchestration tool if they’re in production. Kubernetes is gaining so much attention these days. Let’s have a look at the reasons for its growing popularity.
Why Kubernetes is so popular
A combination of technical leadership and an awesome community are the main reasons. But if we wanted to unpack those, this would be our short list:
- Acceptance by the developers. It has solved their big problem, seamlessly taking any application from its development environment to production environment, so that they can focus on building the applications and then deploy them to any environment.
- Simplification. Kubernetes allows you to more easily handle tough and complex tasks of container orchestration (for example deployment, scaling, self-healing, security key management, rolling upgrades and service discovery).
- Standardization. Container orchestration with Kubernetes is facilitated by standardized API and data models. It can work in any cloud. You know that you can reuse any tool that implements this interface in different deployments or distributions.
- Huge and dynamic community. Kubernetes, as it’s open to any cloud, has had since the beginning a variety of both corporate backers and individual contributors. Using it doesn’t require tying yourself to any one vendor’s container stack of technology, and people like that feeling of freedom.
- Modularity. Once you understand the basic Kubernetes concepts you can modify its behavior or extend it by implementing agents that talk with the standardized API. And, to talk with Kubernetes you basically need just a REST client.
And it works pretty well, so they say.
Kubernetes for businesses, which opportunities
If you’re not a DevOps or a Solution Architect or a Developer...you might ask: so what? What are the business implications of all of this?
Container orchestration and application portability bring to organizations some relevant benefits.
- Team productivity. Deprived of all complexities related to the application transfer process from a development environment to a production environment, developers can focus on the strategic, functional, UX aspects of the applications, and then deploy them on the best infrastructure.
- IT efficiency and performance. Being able to move applications to the most efficient or best-performing infrastructure translates into lower costs or better effectiveness.
- Agility. Container orchestration is a big support for business agility. A growing business, or more generally a business that evolves, needs to adapt its applications portfolio to the competitive environment. Container orchestration help businesses set up an IT infrastructure/architecture that allows them to bridge business and IT.
More than Kubernetes
Taking a step back, the rise in interest to containers has brought higher demands for their management. This need for better control attracted a number of software options as solutions for container orchestration (eg. Docker Swarm). Some of them were built on top of Kubernetes (eg. Red Hat Openshift, Pivotal Cloud Foundry). Looking at reviews, the leading ones are all capable of running many of the same services, but may require slightly different approaches to certain details. For example, it seems that Openshift has better interfaces, while Docker Swarm has an easy and fast setup and Kubernetes is broader and more flexible. What we learn from such vendors dynamics is that enterprise IT needs to be more and more scalable, to survive in the digital transformation era.