Survey Sees Kubernetes Enterprise Adoption Gains

A recent survey of 247 IT professionals working at organizations with 1,000 or more employees finds that well over half (59%) are running Kubernetes in a production environment, with one-third (33%) operating 26 more clusters or more and one-fifth (20%) running more than 50 clusters.

Conducted by Dimensional Insight on behalf of VMware, the survey also finds overall 57% are operating fewer than 10 clusters inside and out of production environments. A total of 60% are also running fewer than half their containerized workloads on Kubernetes. The rest are either using a legacy container orchestration platform or have yet to adopt one.

Craig McLuckie, vice president of research and development for VMware, says that as far as Kubernetes adoption is concerned in enterprise IT environments, it’s clearly still early. The most surprising thing about the survey results is the degree to which organizations have deployed Kubernetes in on-premises IT environments, he says. A total of 64% of respondents said they have deployed Kubernetes in an on-premises IT environment.

That may not preclude them from also using a public cloud service, but McLuckie says it does indicate Kubernetes is gaining traction within local data center environments.

The top two Kubernetes benefits cited by survey respondents were improved resource utilization (56%) and shorter software development cycles (53%). In terms of challenges, however, McLuckie says the survey also makes it apparent that lifecycle management issues are coming to the fore as Kubernetes environments increasingly scale. Kubernetes deployment (70%) and management (67%) are the top two challenges cited, respectively.

Less clear is who in the organization makes the decision to adopt Kubernetes. A total of 83 of respondents said more than one team is involved in choosing a Kubernetes distribution. Development teams are the primary decision-makers 38% of the time when Kubernetes is deployed only for development, while infrastructure teams are the primary decision-makers 23% of the time in production environments. C-level executives are involved only 18% of the time.

Nearly half of the executives surveyed (46%) said the biggest impediment to developers is integrating new technology into existing systems. Developers, meanwhile, cite waiting for central IT to provide access to infrastructure as a top impediment (29%).

More than half of developers surveyed (55%) have self-service access to Kubernetes resources. Among them, 43% said they run their own independent infrastructure, while 28% said they are still filing tickets to gain access to the resources they need.

Not surprisingly, 40% of survey respondents cite a lack of internal alignment as a problem when selecting a Kubernetes distribution. In terms of Kubernetes distribution selection, ease-of-use tops the list of selection criteria (64%), followed by product capabilities and roadmap (57%), avoiding lock-in (45%) and services and support (38%).

McLuckie notes IT culture also plays a significant factor. Many organizations need to adopt Kubernetes and the applications that run on it within the context of all the monolithic applications they run today. In many cases, it makes more sense for those organizations to manage Kubernetes using the IT tools they already employ to manage those environments, especially in environments that rely on virtual machines to provide a layer of isolation between workloads.

In fact, McLuckie notes that as Kubernetes clusters increasingly scale, the more important battle-tested tools for managing those clusters will become.

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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