Applications

Say Kubernetes One More Time, I Dare You

December 20, 2019

Say Kubernetes One More Time, I Dare You

Introduction

OK, so the title is hardly original, apologies. But it does highlight the buzz for Kubernetes still out there not showing any signs of going away anytime soon.

Let’s start with a description of what Kubernetes is:

Kubernetes is a portable, extensible, open-source platform for managing containerized workloads and services, that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation. It has a large, rapidly growing ecosystem. Kubernetes services, support, and tools are widely available.¹

Let me add my disclaimer here. I’ve never used Kubernetes or personally had a use case for it. I have an idea of what it is and its origins (do I need a Borg meme as well?) but not much more.

A bit of background on myself: I’m predominantly an IT operations person, working for a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) designing and deploying VMware based infrastructures. The organizations I work with are typically 100 – 1000 seats in size across many vertical markets. I would be naive to think none of those organizations aren’t thinking about using containerization and orchestration technology, but genuinely none of them currently are.

Is It Really a Thing?

In the past 24 months, I’ve attended many trade shows and events, usually focused around VMware technology, and it’s always asked, “Who is using containers?” The percentage of hands going up is always less than 10%. Is it just the audience type or is this a true representation of container adoption?

Flip it around and when I go to an AWS or Azure user group event, it’s the focus and topic of conversation: containers and Kubernetes. So, who are the people at these user groups? Predominantly the developers! Different audiences, different answers.

I work with one of the biggest Tier-1 Microsoft CSP distributors in the U.K. Their statistics on Azure consumption by type of resource are enlightening. 49% of billable Azure resources are virtual machines, 30-odd% is object storage consumption. There was a small slice of the pie at 7% for misc. services, including AKS (Azure Kubernetes Service). This figure aligns with my first observation at trade events, where less than 10% of people in the room were using containers. I don’t know if those virtual machines are running container workloads.

Is There a Right Way?

This brings us to the question and part of the reason I wrote this article: is there a right way to deploy containers and Kubernetes? Every public cloud has its own interpretation—Azure Kubernetes Service, Amazon EKS, Google Kubernetes Engine, you get the idea. Each one has its own little nuances capable of breaking the inherent idea behind containers: portability. Moving from one cloud to another, the application stack isn’t necessarily going to work right away.

Anyways, the interesting piece for me, because of my VMware background, is Project Pacific. Essentially, VMware has gone all-in embracing Kubernetes by making it part of the vSphere control plane. IT Ops can manage a Kubernetes application container in the same way they can a virtual machine, and developers can consume Kubernetes in the same way they can elsewhere. It’s a win/win situation. In another step by VMware to become the management plane for all people, think public cloud, on-premises infrastructure, and the software designed data center, Kubernetes moves ever closer to my wheelhouse.

No matter where you move the workload, if VMware is part of the management and control plane, then user experience should be the same, allowing for true workload mobility.

Now more than ever seems like the right time to look at Kubernetes, containerization, and everything it brings.

¹ Kubernetes Description – https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/overview/what-is-kubernetes/


Ian is a Technology Solutions Specialist for virtualization specialist SITS Group in northeast England. He has 11 years’ experience in the IT industry, with a focus on virtualization technologies for the last 8 years.