Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes and other cloud native technologies to increase agility,
accelerate software delivery, and support digital transformation. Since it was open sourced in
2014, Kubernetes has become the orchestration platform of choice for containers, simplifying the
work of both developers and operators. Developers find Kubernetes to be a practical framework
for application development and management, while operators appreciate how Kubernetes
increases resource utilization and helps overcome the limitations of ticket-based management.
With this study, we wanted to understand how enterprises are using Kubernetes today, and to
identify challenges they face in making the best use of the technology. We also examined some
of the benefits that Kubernetes delivers for key stakeholders.
It’s Still Early
Given all the attention that Kubernetes has received, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the technology is still very young. Although the technology is
maturing and use cases are expanding at a rapid pace, Kubernetes is just 5 years old.
Enterprises Are Just Beginning to Adopt Kubernetes
It’s early days for enterprise Kubernetes adoption. More than half of respondents (57%) are operating fewer than 10 Kubernetes clusters, and 60% are running less than half of their containerized workloads on Kubernetes. Early adopters of container technologies relied on other container orchestration tools (or no orchestration at all), and these environments remain in place. However, expect to see them supplanted by Kubernetes in the coming years. Kubernetes has all the momentum on its side.
But Production Deployment is Strong
Early adopters are recognizing real benefits, and 59% of respondents are running Kubernetes in production. Of those, one-third (33%) are operating 26 clusters or more. One-fifth (20%) are running more than 50 clusters.
People Come First
One of the things that has contributed to Kubernetes’ success is that it delivers clear benefits for multiple stakeholders. Some technologies benefit operations teams, and some benefit development teams, but not many benefit both. Kubernetes is a technology that everyone can get behind.
Kubernetes Has Benefits for Multiple Stakeholders
Of survey respondents, 95% reported seeing clear benefits from adopting Kubernetes. The top two benefits selected were improved resource utilization, chosen by 56% of those surveyed, and shortened software development cycles, chosen by 53%.
Resource efficiency is an important KPI for operations teams, while faster development obviously helps developers, making Kubernetes a solution that operations and development teams can agree on. And delivering new software features more quickly, while controlling IT spending, is the holy grail of the digital age.
So these benefits extend to the company as a whole. Other significant benefits include enabled moving to the cloud (42%) and
reduced public cloud costs (33%). One of the strengths of Kubernetes is that you can run clusters both on-premises and in the cloud, and move containerized workloads easily between them. Kubernetes running in the public cloud utilizes resources both efficiently and elastically, helping to control costs.
Bumps on the Road to Success
Once a Kubernetes distribution is selected, enterprises encounter more complexities than they bargained for—both during and after deployment. Lack of Experience and Expertise Lack of experience and expertise creates challenges for Kubernetes
deployment and management, just as it does for selecting a distribution. And this gap was named as the top challenge for both Kubernetes deployment and management, chosen by 70% and 67% of respondents, respectively. Given these statistics, it’s not surprising that ease-of-use tops the list of selection criteria for Kubernetes (64%). Other top selection criteria included
product capabilities and roadmap (57%), avoiding lock-in (45%), and services and support (38%). Given the lack of experience and expertise, it’s critical that Kubernetes be packaged in a way that simplifies enterprise adoption. This means integrating more easily with existing infrastructure and processes, and operating in concert with existing services and tools.
Kubernetes is Worth It
We started by noting that it’s early in the life of Kubernetes. Despite potential disagreements among groups and the need to gain experience and expertise, it’s clear that enterprises are moving forward with Kubernetes. And they are putting so much energy into the pursuit of this technology in order to accelerate software development. Infrastructure Access is Critical to
Developer Success There is a clear shift across all industries from a preoccupation with infrastructure to a laser focus on application development. It’s imperative that companies increase developer productivity, shorten the path to production, and accelerate the cadence of new features and services.
There appears to be a significant disconnect between what company executives view as the impediments to developer productivity and the way frontline developers see the world. 46% of executives think the biggest impediment to developers is integrating new technology into existing systems. Meanwhile, developers themselves cite waiting for central IT to provide access to infrastructure as a top impediment (29%), while only 6% of executives recognize infrastructure access as an impediment.