Ditch the management overhead and get production-ready, out-of-the-box
Under pressure to deliver applications faster and ensure 24/7 runtime, organizations are increasingly turning to
DevOps methodologies to deliver applications quicker and in an automated fashion. But what tools should you have
in your DevOps toolkit?
It starts with the cloud. DevOps and cloud are joined at the hip. Cloud enables the very automation that DevOps
depends on, with a standardized platform for testing, deployment, and production. Similarly, everyone wants to
have cloud-like services, even in their own data center. They want auto scalability, reliability, the ability to
provision on-demand, etc. In short, they need infrastructure tools that create a cloud-like infrastructure in
the data center.
This is where tools like Kubernetes and Docker play well, delivering much of this desired functionality
Docker, for example, is the best way to distribute software in a DevOps enabled environment. Providing a thin
layer of isolation and utilizing resources better than virtual machines do. Immutable and independent from the
underlying infrastructure, Docker runs the same way on a developer machine as it does in a production
Yet, it’s Kubernetes that is fast emerging as the most popular container orchestration engine and seems to be
winning the container war. Why? The answer seems to come down to community building. The Kubernetes open source
community is vast and includes Google, Red Hat, Canonical, CoreOS, and Microsoft, to name a few. This has given
the open source project the legs it needed to grow and mature faster than any other product on the market. And
of course, being open source, it’s independent from corporate planning or constraints.
As the market continues to mature, organizations that add these technologies to their DevOps toolkit will reap
the rewards – transforming their IT operations, augmenting collaboration between ops and development, and
increasing the overall agility of the business as a whole.
But there are some hurdles along the way.
Kubernetes Challenges and Misconceptions
As much as it is beloved, managing Kubernetes is a time-consuming process requiring highly-skilled staff and a
potentially large monetary commitment.
Many organizations make the critical mistake of underestimating the level of effort involved in the configuration
and additional development to adapt Kubernetes to their needs. Like Docker, it has many out-of-the-box features
that create the impression of ease-of-use. To the untrained eye, Kubernetes looks like it can be up and running
in hours or days, but this is far from true for production environments where additional functionality is needed
– security, high availability, disaster recovery, backups, and maintenance – everything you need to make
The result is that organizations that go the Kubernetes route quickly realize that they are unable to deliver it
without bringing in skilled and costly external resources.
The vendor community can help. However, many of the Kubernetes management solutions on the market today focus
solely on providing a simplified user interface (UI) to ease deployment on any infrastructure. A pretty UI and
infrastructure flexibility doesn’t solve the fundamental problem of creating a production-ready environment.
You’re still getting the same open source Kubernetes – a cluster that is ready for your experimentation but
isn’t ready to run in production.
If you can’t hire the right resources, how do you achieve production readiness?
The market is evolving fast, and you do have choices. New Kubernetes management tools are appearing each day, yet
they vary wildly. Finding the right tool with the needed flexibility to adapt in an ever-changing IT landscape
can be a problem. To help you navigate your options, we’ve broken down the four “must-haves” of a Kubernetes
What to Look for in a Kubernetes Management Platform
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind as you shop for the right Kubernetes platform, and
some potential pitfalls to look out for.
This is key. Kubernetes configuration can be complex and resourceintensive. A production-ready platform will
ensure you have the fullyautomated features you need, without the configuration hassles.
An important feature of production-readiness is security. Kubernetes itself has strong security features but look
for a provider that can connect these features to your enterprise system.
Production-readiness also means that the solution should handle all management tasks on the cluster. Automation
here is key. Automated backup, recovery, restore, etc. If it’s not automated, it falls to you to do it, which
can quickly strain your resources and budget.
Finally, Kubernetes provides high-availability, scalability, and self-healing for your applications, but make
sure your platform can provide the same features for your cluster.
As the cloud and software become more sophisticated, where you host a system may impact system performance. Today
the trend is towards a multi-cloud strategy. According to a recent study
by Microsoft and 451 Research2, nearly a third of organizations already work with four or more cloud
vendors. The great thing about Kubernetes is that it allows you to abstract from cloud or data center providers
and build a common infrastructure between clouds, cloud regions, and the data center. Your apps can run anywhere
and everywhere without the need to adapt them to the new hosting environment. However, this involves extensive
configuration of Kubernetes and its underlying infrastructure.
Make sure your Kubernetes platform can support these capabilities and help you configure them when you need them
down the road.
3. Ease of Management
Not to hammer the point home too much, but managing a Kubernetes cluster is challenging and draws on a variety of
skill sets. Part of the reason is that Kubernetes generates a mass of raw information that you must translate to
understand what’s going on with your cluster. Early detection and intervention is essential to preventing
disasters. If you can’t decipher what Kubernetes is telling you, you have a problem.
You could throw more resources at it, but instead, we recommend that you identify a Kubernetes platform that
removes the problem of analyzing raw data. By incorporating automated intelligent monitoring and alerts, such a
solution can provide key information on status, errors, events, and warnings so that your team has the insight
it needs to take action.
4. Support and Training
Finally, as your organization begins to acquire Kubernetes skills, it’s important to have a vendor that can
provide 24/7 support and training to ensure your Kubernetes journey is a smooth one.
It’s Time to Ditch the Kubernetes Management Overhead
When implemented successfully Kubernetes is a great DevOps solution for automating the deployment, scaling, and
operations of application containers. But the complexity and cost can be prohibitive. Get it wrong and you’ll
add an additional layer of complexity to your infrastructure management. Save yourself the headache and expense,
leverage automation tools that provide production-readiness (the single most important feature),
future-readiness, ease-of management, and the support you need to use Kubernetes, without the management
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