Container orchestration platforms are designed to make it easier for companies to take advantage of their cloud deployments in the name of efficiency and progress. But, a skills gap has formed that has led to a burgeoning opportunity for container experts.
Each of the three leading container orchestration platforms have staked out a place in the ecosystem.
Docker Swarm is seen as the easiest to use, especially for companies already familiar with Docker for container management.
Mesos has a strong following among companies pushing extremely large-scale container deployments, and it also includes strong vendor support.
However, Kubernetes has emerged as the most popular among the three, despite what appears to be a steep learning curve.
“Using Kubernetes requires that users master new concepts and learn a new CLI [command line interface] that while quite rich is different than the Docker CLI,” explained Rancher Labs in a report comparing the two platforms. “Kubernetes does provide advanced features however that for seasoned administrators can actually make the environment easier to manage.”
It’s the advanced feature set and potential for more flexibility that is driving strong Kubernetes adoption.
“It’s really been good timing with enterprise adoption of cloud,” said Jay Lyman, principal analyst for cloud management and containers at 451 Research. “But, the skills gap is definitely there.”
Lyman said his firm’s research has shown “a skills gaps in terms of DevOps and containers for the enterprise.” He noted 57 percent of organizations said they lacked internal cloud skills, with 27 percent of enterprises seeing a significant need for Kubernetes training over the next two years.
Lyman explained this is nothing new, noting OpenStack experts typically garner higher salaries than “just general cloud experts because the cloud expertise is so needed out there.”
“Organizations are looking to not just hire, but retain good tech talent,” Lyman said. “That’s a significant challenge and priority for enterprise organizations.”
In a recent survey conducted by SDxCentral, 55 percent of respondents that are not currently using container technology said a “lack of maturity” was the main reason for their reluctance. Twenty-seven percent noted a “lack of management and deployment tools” were holding them back, while 24 percent said they “don’t know how to scale containers yet.”
“It’s one thing to adopt containers,” Lyman said. “But, most are not looking into the 10,000 containers that Google is looking to do. Enterprises are not quite ready to dive into that cold pool.”
This caution has opened the market to vendors with support platforms for Kubernetes deployments. Recent examples have included Tigera’s focus on Kubernetes container networking; Codefresh’s “quick-start integration” of Kubernetes into Google’s Container Engine (GKE); and Heptio’s open source Ark and Sonobuoy projects.
Lyman said 451 Research surveys have shown most enterprises are interested in training their existing staff, with about half also looking to tap into outside vendors and consultants. Enterprises are also feeling pressure from organizational digital transformation projects that require new skills. This includes experience with cloud infrastructure and DevOps tools.
“Most can’t hire an army of IT people and really couldn’t afford them if they could find them,” Lyman said.
“It’s definitely a mixed market out there,” Lyman said in regard to container orchestration options. He cited the hosted options like those from Rancher Labs as viable near-term choice but also noted the larger cloud players like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Google are moving into the space.
“There are options out there for companies looking to use Kubernetes,” Lyman added. “It’s just a matter of finding a partner that you can be comfortable with to help gain confidence in using Kubernetes.”