Kubernetes has quickly become one of the must-have platforms for enterprises to squeeze the most from their container and cloud operations. However, that rapid ascension has created significant challenges for the often risk-averse world in which large-scale organizations operate.
In a recent blog post, Kamesh Pemmaraju, vice president of product management at ZeroStack, laid out a half-dozen “pain points” for cloud deployments the company was seeing in terms of deploying and managing Kubernetes. Many of these points centered on the ability to scale the use of containers across an organization.
Pemmaraju specifically cited the ability for enterprises to deploy Kubernetes-orchestrated clusters across a diverse infrastructure base. This includes companies running cloud operations across private cloud, public cloud, and bare metal deployments.
“In this situation, automating infrastructure deployment, setting up, configuring, and upgrading Kubernetes to work consistently is not going to be easy,” Pemmaraju explained.
This challenge is also spread across the ability for a specific Kubernetes cluster to address the needs of a geographical- and workload-diverse organization.
Steve Garrison, vice president of marketing and business development at ZeroStack, said this challenge is compounded by the use of different underlying infrastructure often deployed across geographic locations.
“If you have people all over the world, you have teams looking to streamline operations. But underneath you have teams sitting on different hardware that also creates bottlenecks because processes might not be exactly the same,” Garrison said.
Garrison noted that the abstraction of applications from underlying infrastructure is one of the goals of containers, but that can be a multi-year process for larger organizations. This can become a divisive internal issue for some companies.
“At a high level, containers and Kubernetes are like a lot of new technology in that when it enters the enterprise there are always a whole bunch of people that get excited and a whole bunch that get scared,” said Garrison. “Process is always a challenge for developers but is really what is required to run something in a production environment within an enterprise.”
Policy and Disaster Recovery
Pemmaraju also noted that a container orchestrator like Kubernetes is just one of many steps an organization needs to take when operating in a cloud-native environment.
“For example, IT operations teams still need to set up firewalls, load balancers, databases, and DNS services just to name a few,” Pemmaraju said, adding in the need to deal with maintenance, planning, storage, and networking. “Kubernetes is not concerned with or addresses any of these challenges.”
The ZeroStack team also touched on security, policy, and disaster recovery challenges. While seemingly mundane for organizations with solid procedures in place, migrating those plans to a new environment with new players can be difficult.
“We are seeing Kubernetes move from a science project to being in front of security and compliance people within an enterprise,” Garrison said. “That’s a significant move and challenge.”
The Kubernetes community recognizes many of these challenges and has attempted to bridge some of the concerns.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which houses the Kubernetes Project, last year launched a Kubernetes Certified Service Providers program calling out companies deemed certification-worthy of helping enterprises adopt Kubernetes as a container orchestrator. The CNCF also launched a Software Conformance Certification program designed to ensure compliant APIs can provide consistent Kubernetes services and interoperable support across vendor platforms.
Garrison noted that the industry has moved aggressively to meet deployment needs for most forward-looking organizations. However, more conservative operations will still need some prodding.
“There are enough best practices out there to help the more conservative companies that have historically been the ones to always buy the older version of Windows,” Garrison said. “It’s this market that once convinced will be the real drivers for broad adoption.”