CNCF Annual Report Shows Kubernetes Growth

An annual report published today by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) suggests the pool of IT professionals who have Kubernetes expertise is expanding.

The number of IT professionals participating in a Kubernetes Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by CNCF reached 98,000 enrollments in 2019, while a Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) training program reached 12,950 enrollments. At the same time, there were 5,754 Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) exam registrations and 5,247 Kubernetes Certified Service Provider (KCSP) exam registrations.

CNCF also noted the number of third-party partners offering Kubernetes training grew to 35 in 2019.

CNCF executive director Dan Kohn says going into 2020, the CNCF also plans to revamp those initiatives in the expectation of driving even higher levels of engagement.

Out of the 518 organizations that were part of the CNCF at the close of 2019, 131 are either traditional end-user organizations or startups that consume Kubernetes rather than build or manage a platform based on Kubernetes. Those organizations include Adidas, Bloomberg, CapitalOne, Discover, FreddieMac, Intuit, JP Morgan Chase, Mastercard, Morgan Stanley, NASDAQ, The New York Times, Nielsen, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Spotify, State Farm, Ticketmaster, Trivago, Under Armor, United Health Group and Walmart Labs.

Overall, the CNCF in 2019 provided support for more than 217 meetup groups in 53 countries, with more than 140,000 members attending. The CNCF also now has 95 CNCF Ambassadors around the globe educating organizations on cloud-native technologies and best practices.

In addition, the CNCF reports there were more than 12,000 attendees at the most recent KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America conference in San Diego.

The CNCF is now tracking more than 1,200 projects, products and companies. In 2019, projects such as Fluentd, CoreDNS, containerd, Envoy, Jaeger and Vitess all advanced to “graduated” status, while CloudEvents, Falco and Open Policy Agent (OPA) joined the ranks of incubating projects, bringing the total to 14.

Kohn says 2020 should be a breakout year in terms of deployments of Kubernetes and other CNCF projects. In fact, CNCF projects that don’t necessarily require Kubernetes clusters, such as the Envoy proxy server, are starting to gain traction. There may very well come a day soon when there are more Envoy nodes than Kubernetes nodes, he says.

Kohn expects Kubernetes adoption to conform with Conway’s Law, which holds that an organization’s design systems mirror its communication structure. Rather than deploying a handful of larger Kubernetes clusters, most organizations will deploy many more smaller Kubernetes clusters that are operated by specific teams within their organization. Less clear right now is to what degree those clusters will be managed as a service by a third-party service provider versus an internal IT team. Given the lack of available Kubernetes expertise, many organizations have opted to rely on managed services.

However, as the tables turn and more internal IT teams gain Kubernetes expertise, the number of organizations opting to manage Kubernetes clusters on their own should increase. Many of those teams will be driving hybrid cloud computing initiatives based on Kubernetes in 2020, predicts Kohn.

Regardless of the path toward Kubernetes pursued, it’s clear the number of application workloads running on Kubernetes clusters by 2020 will be several orders of magnitude greater by the end of the year than it is today.

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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