2024 Will See Increased Kubernetes Interoperability Challenges

A survey found 75% of stakeholders are either regularly or occasionally encountering interoperability issues with Kubernetes in production, with 69% running Kubernetes in more than one IT environment.

Conducted by Dimensional Research on behalf of Spectro Cloud, a provider of a platform for managing Kubernetes clusters, the survey polled 333 IT operations and application development stakeholders directly responsible for Kubernetes in production environments at organizations with more than 250 employees. The survey also found 41% of respondents are running Kubernetes in three or more environments.

Overall, Kubernetes is deployed most often in a virtualized data center (65%), followed by bare metal server environments (25%). Almost a third (31%) are also using Kubernetes in edge computing environments. A full 93% are planning to use Kubernetes on edge computing infrastructures, with 21% expecting “strong growth” at the edge in the next year.

Ant Newman, senior marketing content manager for Spectro Cloud, said the report makes it clear that K8s will be at the core of a large number of edge computing initiatives in 2024.

In the cloud, Kubernetes can be found most often running on Amazon Web Services (56%), Microsoft Azure (52%) and Google Cloud (30%) services, the survey found.

The survey suggested that despite a common foundation, the stack of software deployed on top of those clusters creates interoperability issues. Nearly three-quarters (72%) reported having more than five distinct software elements in their Kubernetes infrastructure stack, with organizations running more than 20 clusters in production far more likely to have five or more distributions of Kubernetes (39%) running more than 15 distinct software elements (35%).

Not surprisingly, nearly all respondents (98%) said they faced challenges running K8s in production environments, with nearly half (48%) noting that putting guardrails in place is challenging. Nearly all respondents (98%) agreed there is plenty of room to improve operational efficiency, with 56% citing automation as an opportunity. Only 46% cited simplifying the Kubernetes environment. Security and compliance (40%), followed by performance and scalability (35%) and cost or pricing model (34%), are the top guardrail challenges, the survey found.

Despite these issues, 80% of respondents said they will continue to grow the number of Kubernetes clusters they deploy. A full 86% said they also expect to grow the number of new containerized applications built for K8s, with 78% also expecting to grow the number of development teams deploying Kubernetes applications. Nearly two-thirds (62%) reported that they are already actively using (17%) or have a pilot process in place (45%) for application development tools for Kubernetes environments.

A total of 82% also said it’s hard for operations teams to tailor clusters to the unique preferences of each development team. More than half (51%) reported that their application developers are often unproductive while waiting for Kubernetes clusters to spin up. Only a quarter are using a DevOps pipeline to provision Kubernetes clusters.

Overall, the survey suggested there is much work still to be done in terms of improving the overall Kubernetes developer experience, said Newman.

More than three-quarters (77%) also expected to increase the number of existing applications that will be migrated to Kubernetes clusters, with 85% migrating applications that today run in virtual machines. A total of 86% are looking to unify containerized and VM workloads into a single infrastructure platform.

Surprisingly, only 40% cited a lack of skills as a challenge when deploying K8s clusters.

Kubernetes adoption is clearly on the rise, but the survey makes it clear there is still much work to be done when it comes to making one of the most complex platforms ever to find its way into the enterprise simpler to deploy and manage.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

Mike Vizard has 1634 posts and counting. See all posts by Mike Vizard