IT executives do not believe their business can have both a flexible and usable Kubernetes environment

A Dimensional Research survey shares Kubernetes best practices and key insights about the rapidly growing and evolving use of Kubernetes within businesses.

Kubernetes environment

The findings of the survey highlight the need for continued innovation in the way Kubernetes and its related ecosystem are used and managed in real production environments in order to further bridge the gap between Information Technology Operations (ITOps) and Development Operations (DevOps) teams across organizations.

The state of Kubernetes

As enterprises grapple with providing the balance between flexibility and speed for development teams as well as usability and manageability for ITOps, the most strategic and successful companies will pursue new modern Kubernetes management platforms that:

  • Support the full spectrum of multi-cluster environments in any location and of all sizes (including hundreds to thousands of diverse clusters)
  • Provide native support for edge and bare metal deployments
  • Will include service mesh functionality with north-bound and south-bound integration.

In 2021, Kubernetes continues to emerge as the leading container orchestration platform across data center and cloud environments. 77% of technology leaders have used Kubernetes for two years or longer, but only 40% have been leveraging them for production environments over the course of at least two years.

Despite rapid enterprise adoption, 66% of survey respondents do not believe they can have both flexibility and usability in a Kubernetes environment. This is reflective of the complicated balancing act for organizations, which want to empower developers with flexibility for their application development efforts and at the same time, provide IT with controls including compliance and mitigating security risks. This effectively limits the adoption potential of Kubernetes.

Many organizations report challenges with their Kubernetes environment

98% of survey respondents representing many organizations report challenges with their Kubernetes environment. The top challenges are around implementing consistent management and controls for enterprise environments, and managing multi-cluster and heterogeneous multi-cloud environments. They are followed by challenges to integrate required services, manage security and meet compliance requirements due to configuration drift.

77% agree that diverse Kubernetes stacks across different environments (such as data centers, public clouds or edge and bare metal environments) is “vital,” but “makes management much harder.”

A debate about best practices for cluster deployments

There continues to be debate about best practices for cluster deployments. 54% of respondents prefer running a larger number of small clusters, while almost all the remaining respondents prefer running a small amount of large clusters (38%).

“Paradoxically, when we looked at the reasoning for these selections, both sets of respondents cited reducing complexity as a reason for their preference,” noted Diane Hagglund, principal at Dimensional Research.

“This is indicative of a lack of clear consensus about best practices in terms of Kubernetes management, despite the acknowledgment that this is the challenge on both sides and opens the doors to opportunities for innovation from a technology and implementation perspective.”

“Kubernetes in production has exploded over the past two years, and I expect this dramatic growth to continue,” said Jason Bloomberg, president of industry analyst firm Intellyx.

“However, such growth currently faces significant challenges. The rapid adoption across diverse tools and hybrid environments coupled with business drivers for speed and scalability have created speed-killing friction between IT operations and the application development and DevOps teams.

“Enterprises urgently require a modern approach to managing the full lifecycle of new and existing Kubernetes deployments across varied environments as they scale to meet the business needs of the future.”

“If it is said that software is eating the world, Kubernetes is clearly set to eat software, becoming the fundamental building block for application development,” said Spectro Cloud CEO Tenry Fu.

“As developers around the world demand the freedom and flexibility to quickly code apps and freely deploy wherever it makes sense across any or many environments, IT teams still have the responsibility to ensure compliance, security and other enterprise-grade controls. This balance continues to be one of today’s main challenges.”

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