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The time for Kubernetes has arrived

By Robert Graham, Technical Lead at Obsidian Systems

Johannesburg, 04 Mar 2021
Read time 3min 20sec
Robert Graham, Technical Lead at Obsidian Systems.
Robert Graham, Technical Lead at Obsidian Systems.

The Kubernetes open source container orchestration system has shown significant growth in recent years. More recently, this has been driven by the COVID-19 pandemic that has accelerated the business need for multi-cloud environments. It is here, in the space where workloads are moving to the cloud, where Kubernetes ensure accessibility and can support a distributed workforce.

Use cases for Kubernetes have matured from pilot projects into full-blown customer-facing applications. Companies are now leveraging Kubernetes to modernise legacy applications, designing microservices-based applications (for example, apps performing specific calculations during month-ends), and other innovative projects.

However, some technical users may feel that Kubernetes might be too bloated given their specific use cases This is where something like Rancher’s K3s, a lightweight Kubernetes distribution, contains everything an organisation needs to get up and running. Even though K3s is built for running production workloads in resource-constrained environments like the Internet of things at the edge of computing, it works well in any compute infrastructure.

Beyond the hype

For their part, Kubernetes give developers the opportunity to quickly create something and see if it will work. They do not have to wait for infrastructure to be rolled out or go through complicated bureaucratic processes. And if their proof of concept works, the Kubernetes can integrate into existing processes with the developers moving on to the next project.

Essentially, this standard for container orchestration gives enterprises unlimited reach into the cloud. And more than that, Kubernetes can run on-premises or with any cloud provider. Applications can therefore be deployed at DevOps speed, scaled as needed, and move beyond the monolithic approach of the past.

Research shows that container adoption in production grew to 87% in 2020, with many organisations either running them on virtual machines or using public cloud infrastructure. This indicates a growth of hybrid environments where clients can still perform certain functions on-premises and gradually migrate to the cloud. This will become increasingly important as more businesses embrace multiple cloud provides and start leveraging their respective strengths.

In 2019, 71% of organisations ran Kubernetes on-premises. This virtually got flipped around last year with 67% of businesses now running Kubernetes in the cloud. Clearly, there is a maturation in thought and a larger scale interest in containers as a key component to the growing hybrid-cloud world. The combination of cloud and hosted Kubernetes simplify complex enterprise IT architecture management as well as application scalability.

Modern approach

Almost half of organisations surveyed stated that they are using containers for modernising legacy applications. This is done by taking the application and breaking it up into the different functions it can perform. For instance, the Web front-end might be moved to a container while the database back-end will be left as is.

Companies are now realising that containerisation is the path to modernisation. The release period between feature testing and production, a process that could easily have taken six months, can now be done in two-week sprints because of Kubernetes. The impact on productivity is immense. But more importantly, companies can go to market with new solutions much faster than before gaining a vital competitive advantage in the process.

The future of computing is at the edge with these devices powering the next wave of digital transformation. Today, Kubernetes is where Linux was 25 years ago – a cycle of people trying it out, moving the solution to the enterprise, and then realising that they need help to effectively leverage the technology. The difference today is that Kubernetes is transitioning much faster between these cycles and becoming an integral part of the technology environment.

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Rubicomm Gloria Malan gloria@rubicomm.co.za
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