Kubernetes Isn’t Done Yet

AI. The metaverse. It’s easy for companies to rush to whatever the industry has declared the “next big thing.” In fact, new tech tends to dominate the conversation, especially around cloud computing, often pulling focus away from the everyday challenges that developers face. 

Take Kubernetes implementation. Some in the industry have declared Kubernetes “done.” But adoption isn’t slowing down. In fact, the number of resources running on K8s continues to increase, with more of that use embedded in other technologies like serverless.

Given these high adoption rates, it’s safe to assume that developers have bought into the basic premise—and promise—of Kubernetes. But what’s become evident over time is that K8s isn’t a one-trick pony: Yes, it’s vital for cloud-native app development, but it has so many other applications that developers may not have tapped into yet, from pod scaling to monitoring to network management.

The problem today is that these more advanced applications of Kubernetes are less obvious and intuitive. And, as a result, companies that believe they have Kubernetes all figured out might actually be missing out on crucial opportunities to improve their development processes. 

Kubernetes is an Unsung Hero 

To some, Kubernetes is old news. Containerization—so what? But Kubernetes has more to offer than that. Knative, for example, can deliver serverless functionality using Kubernetes components, and K8 clusters can facilitate transitions to microservice systems. Similarly, Kubernetes can support CI/CD development and complex microservices architectures in a dynamic and robust way. And more broadly, when Kubernetes is set up as a means toward growth rather than a means to an end, it can deliver reliability and portability of data, vendor agnosticism, better multi-cloud compatibility, more efficient resource utilization and automation of deployment and scale. 

No, Kubernetes is not magic. It’s not a golden ticket to a smoothly-running cloud infrastructure. In fact, running a container orchestration system is notoriously difficult. Devs can get lost in the weeds as they try to maintain their orchestration, not only managing basic operations and growing scale but also trying to marry new deployments with legacy software. The complexity of managing all of these factors over time can hold devs back from making the most of Kubernetes and can put innovation at a standstill. 

In short, devs are so busy making the basics work that they don’t get the chance to take advantage of more advanced features. And on top of that, there’s a notoriously steep learning curve. Though technical and educational support is available, most materials assume a deep level of knowledge. In other words, the barrier to entry is quite high. As a result, most solutions on the market today aim to make the deployment experience easier. Yet they still tend to fall short when it comes to scaling K8s and enabling developers to tap into some of its longer-tail benefits. That’s why true orchestration engines like the Linode Kubernetes Engine or the Google Kubernetes Engine are essential—they are designed to optimize performance and increase efficiency over time, not just set up a framework and leave developers in free fall.  

Cloud Providers can Drive Kubernetes Forward

Cloud providers have a duty to prioritize lowering complexity and enhancing educational assistance through managed services, self-service management tools and orchestration engines. By doing so, they can make more advanced K8s use cases become accessible to devs, not only simplifying development and maintenance but also creating room for further innovation.

As for developers, don’t count Kubernetes out. Even if it’s already in place and working hard for your development processes, there’s likely even more you can do with it. 

Hillary Wilmoth

Hillary Wilmoth is a director of product marketing at Linode.

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