Survey Sees Kubernetes Challenges Taking a Toll

While adoption of Kubernetes continues to accelerate, a survey of 300 IT professionals in the U.S. published this week finds more organizations than ever are finding it a challenge to master what is known as one of the most complex platforms ever to be embraced by IT teams.

According to the survey, which was conducted by the market research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of D2iQ, a provider of tools and platforms that deploy on Kubernetes clusters, 89% of respondents work in organizations running Kubernetes in either a production or pre-production environment. More than three-quarters (77%) said their organizations feel that Kubernetes is a central part of their pandemic-accelerated digital transformation strategy.

The most challenging aspects of adopting Kubernetes identified by respondents are security (47%), difficulty scaling up effectively (37%) and lack of IT resources (34%).

There also is widespread agreement that add-ons for Kubernetes pile on significant levels of additional complexity—78% of developers and 56% of IT decision-makers shared that perspective.

Well over a third of developers and architects (38%) admitted Kubernetes is a source of burnout. More than half (51%) said building cloud-native applications makes them want to find a new job. On the plus side, 98% of organizations are currently investing or planning to invest in Kubernetes training. Most organizations (96%) reported they can find Kubernetes expertise readily enough, but 24% said it could take a while to find the right candidate.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly had an impact, with 91% of respondents reporting their cloud-native journeys have been disrupted because of budget cuts to development, freezing or slowing down hiring, budget cuts to technology acquisition and project delays.

Corbin Pacheco, senior director of product and technical marketing at D2iQ, says managing Kubernetes clusters at scale once they are provisioned is taking a toll among IT professionals. In addition to the need for more training, tools that simplify the management of the entire Kubernetes environment are clearly needed, he says.

Deploying and managing Kubernetes is not for the faint of heart. Most organizations don’t have a lot of site reliability engineering talent on hand, so the challenge becomes finding a way for mere IT mortals to successfully build and deploy cloud-native applications across an extended enterprise that increasingly includes Kubernetes clusters deployed at the network edge.

It’s not clear to what degree complexity is slowing down the adoption of Kubernetes clusters. There’s naturally a lot of interest in building microservices-based applications that are both more resilient and easier to update. However, the price for achieving that goal is adopting a Kubernetes platform, which is more complex than any IT platform in recent memory. Of course, the more complicated an IT environment is, the more likely there will be mistakes that lead to misconfigurations.

In the meantime, IT teams should take comfort in the fact that it’s still early days as far as Kubernetes adoption is concerned. As the tools for managing Kubernetes evolve, the level of friction and frustration experienced should continue to decline.

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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