Survey Sees IT Teams Taking Control of K8s Clusters

A survey of 776 software development and IT professionals published this week by VMware indicates IT operations teams and platform/cloud architects are assuming responsibility for managing Kubernetes clusters as they are deployed across an extended enterprise.

The survey finds Kubernetes is now the domain of either infrastructure/IT operations teams (65%) or platform or cloud architects (50%).

Grant Shipley, senior director of product-led growth for the Kubernetes-based Tanzu platform from VMware says the survey results make it clear that Kubernetes has finally crossed the proverbial chasm as mainstream IT adoption increases. Developers are now spending less time managing Kubernetes infrastructure, he notes.

Overall, the survey also finds that 29% of respondents are now running more than 50 Kubernetes clusters. Only 12% said they are running five or fewer clusters. Nearly half (48%) expect the number of Kubernetes clusters they operate to grow by more than 50%, the survey finds.

The top reasons cited for adopting Kubernetes include increased application flexibility (62%) followed by improved cloud utilization (59%), better developer efficiency (54%), reduced costs (46%) and better operator efficiency (37%).

The top benefits cited include improved resource utilization (59%), easier application upgrades and maintenance (49%), enabling a shift to the cloud (42%), enabling hybrid cloud computing (40%), reduced public cloud costs (36%), effective use of operational team members and skills (32%) and elimination of inefficiencies of previously siloed teams (28%).

The top Kubernetes challenges cited include inadequate internal experience and expertise (51%), hiring needed expertise (37%) and the speed of change (34%). The top three criteria for choosing a Kubernetes distribution are ease to deploy, operate and maintain (51%), product capabilities and roadmaps that meet IT needs (45%), that it works in a hybrid cloud environment (41%) and the availability of commercial support or professional services (40%).

Kubernetes management challenges cited include meeting compliance and security requirements (47%), managing cluster life cycles and upgrades (41%) and integration with current infrastructure (36%). Top tools required include data security, protection and encryption (36%), cluster life cycle management (34%), platform monitoring and alerting (30%) and GitOps and platform automation (24%).

A full 97% of respondents also have concerns about Kubernetes security. Applying policies consistently across clusters and teams (46%), and controlling access to clusters (35%) are the top two concerns.

More than half of respondents said they are running Kubernetes in an on-premises IT environment (52%) while 42% said they are employing a single cloud provider. Close to half (46%) have deployed Kubernetes in multiple clouds. More than half of respondents (52%) say they plan to deploy Kubernetes clusters in multiple public clouds in the coming year, compared to 39% that chose an on-premises environment and 38% who chose a single public cloud vendor.

It has been more than six years since distributions of Kubernetes first became available. The irony is that, initially, Kubernetes adoption was driven by full-stack developers that managed both applications and infrastructure. However, full-stack developers are hard to find and retain. It’s clear IT operations teams that once found Kubernetes intimidating are now mandating its use to make consumption of IT infrastructure resources more efficient. The challenge is convincing the rest of the application developer community that frameworks that abstract away the complexity associated with building and deploying applications on Kubernetes are a lot more accessible.

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.

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