The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) recently released its 2022 Cloud Native Survey Report, highlighting the continued growth and adoption of Kubernetes and cloud native technologies. The survey gathered responses from over 1,800 community members across the globe, providing valuable insights into the current state and future direction of the cloud native ecosystem. Some of the key findings from the report include:
Record Kubernetes adoption – 91% of respondents reported using Kubernetes in production, up from 78% in 2021. This marks a new high for Kubernetes adoption according to the CNCF survey. The increased reliance on Kubernetes for container orchestration indicates it is becoming the de facto standard for running containerized workloads in production environments.
Surge in container adoption – 98% of respondents are running containerized applications in production, up from 92% in 2021. Containers continue to gain momentum as the preferred approach for deploying and managing microservices, applications, and other workloads in the cloud.
Multi-cloud strategies prevail – 80% of respondents are using multiple public and/or private clouds. This demonstrates how organizations are seeking to avoid vendor lock-in and optimize workload placement by leveraging multiple cloud platforms. Kubernetes provides a consistent platform for managing containers across on-prem and multi-cloud environments.
Security remains a top concern – 60% of respondents cited security as one of their top challenges with cloud native technologies, followed by hiring and training (52%), and monitoring/observability (50%). As adoption grows, securing cloud native infrastructure is clearly top of mind.
Advancement of cloud native technologies – Serverless functions, service mesh, and GitOps workflows saw increased usage and maturity over the past year. Usage of serverless jumped from 28% to 41% of respondents. These technologies are helping teams implement cloud native best practices around automation and infrastructure-as-code.
The CNCF survey provides compelling evidence that Kubernetes is cementing itself as the orchestration engine of choice for deploying and managing containers and cloud native applications. As more organizations realize the benefits around agility, portability and developer productivity, Kubernetes adoption is expected to continue growing rapidly.
Driving factors behind Kubernetes momentum
There are several key factors driving the tremendous momentum behind Kubernetes:
– Portability across environments – Kubernetes provides a consistent API and management layer that runs on top of all major cloud providers and on-prem infrastructure. This cloud-agnostic approach has strong appeal as organizations seek to avoid vendor lock-in.
– Ease of deployment – Kubernetes stands out for its ease of deployment, with enterprises able to get starter clusters up and running very quickly. For many, this “easy on-ramp” has helped accelerate their path to production usage.
– Thriving ecosystem – Kubernetes benefits from a thriving open source ecosystem. There is a diverse set of tools and extensions available for managing Kubernetes clusters and deploying applications on top of Kubernetes.
– Standardization – The open source model and cloud native patterns adopted by Kubernetes have led it to emerge as the de facto standard. This gives teams confidence that skills and tools will remain relevant.
– Community momentum – Kubernetes has outstanding community support boasting over 100,000 commits from 17,000 unique contributors. This helps with rapid innovation and giving users influence over the project’s direction.
As Kubernetes adoption grows, a virtuous cycle kicks into motion. The thriving ecosystem attracts more contributions, which helps improve the technology, leading to higher adoption rates and so on. Kubernetes has captured this momentum early and it will be difficult for competing platforms to challenge its position. The widespread use of Kubernetes paves the way for greater adoption of cloud native technologies.
Overcoming Kubernetes learning curve for new adopters
While interest in Kubernetes is high, new adopters frequently cite the steep learning curve as an obstacle. Here are some recommendations on how teams can effectively climb the Kubernetes learning curve:
– Start small – Begin by containerizing a few simple apps, then manually deploy and manage them on Kubernetes. Don’t try to revamp your entire infrastructure right away.
– Learn Kubernetes primitives – Focus initial learning on core resources like pods, deployments, services, configmaps, and persistent volumes. Master these building blocks first.
– Lean on the community – Kubernetes has an abundance of blogs, training courses, and forums to leverage. Don’t try to figure everything out alone.
– Use managed services – Cloud providers offer managed Kubernetes services that offload operational tasks. This simplifies cluster administration for new teams.
– Automate management – Leverage GitOps workflows and infrastructure-as-code practices to automate management of Kubernetes configurations and deployments.
– Hire specialists – Bringing in contractors or consultants with Kubernetes experience can help cross the chasm, especially for large-scale implementations.
– Standardize with patterns – Frameworks like the Twelve-Factor App methodology provide proven patterns for deploying apps on Kubernetes.
– Control access – Limit access to Kubernetes resources to reduce blast radius as teams build experience. Expand permissions as capabilities mature.
While Kubernetes expertise is still scarce, the learning curve does flatten out over time as organizations build knowledge, patterns and best practices. Taking an incremental approach and leveraging available resources helps minimize through growing pains.
Business benefits driving Kubernetes and cloud native adoption
Kubernetes adoption is being fueled by strong business drivers including:
– Improved developer productivity – Kubernetes simplifies application deployment and management for developers. They can focus on writing code vs infrastructure management.
– Application portability – Kubernetes provides a consistent platform for running containerized apps across diverse environments. This portability prevents vendor lock-in.
– Operational efficiency – Automation capabilities reduce manual tasks while Kubernetes’ APIs and declarative model enable infrastructure-as-code.
– Optimized resource utilization – Kubernetes enables improved utilization of compute resources via features like horizontal auto-scaling and bin-packing of containers.
– Faster time-to-market – Kubernetes’ self-service model and deployment automation accelerates deployment of applications from development into production.
– Infrastructure cost savings – Kubernetes helps teams maximize workload density by optimizing resource usage. This can significantly reduce infrastructure costs.
– Multi-cloud capabilities – Kubernetes provides a consistent management plane across public clouds, private clouds, and edge environments.
– Improved resilience – Services can be automatically rescheduled onto healthy infrastructure in cases of outages or disruptions.
– Higher uptime – Health checking, auto healing, and other self-healing capabilities minimize application downtime and keep services running reliably.
These tangible benefits explain why Kubernetes adoption is soaring. Platform teams are now prioritizing efforts to build internal expertise and leverage Kubernetes for running both new and legacy applications.
Emergence of Kubernetes-as-a-Service offerings
One of the biggest developments over the past year is the maturing ecosystem of managed Kubernetes offerings from major cloud providers. These fully-managed services include:
– Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS)
– Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
– Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)
– IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service
– Oracle Cloud Kubernetes Engine (OKE)
– RedHat OpenShift
These managed Kubernetes services make it easier for organizations to deploy production-grade Kubernetes clusters without having to acquire in-house expertise. The providers handle difficult tasks like ongoing cluster management, control plane maintenance, upgrades, and resiliency.
Teams can use Kubernetes-as-a-Service to quickly provision clusters to start developing and testing applications on Kubernetes. These managed offerings also support advanced integrations with other cloud services including monitoring, security, databases, load balancing, and more.
While Kubernetes knowledge is still required, these managed services lower the bar for organizations to deploy Kubernetes across multiple environments. They reduce the learning curve and allow teams to focus less on cluster administration and more on application innovation. Many see these managed options as the fastest path to begin leveraging Kubernetes.
Overcoming operational challenges with cloud native technologies
While Kubernetes solves many problems around packaging and deployment, running Kubernetes clusters and cloud native environments in production introduces new operational challenges including:
– Increased complexity – Kubernetes adds many new components and moving parts to monitor and manage. This complexity can overwhelm unprepared teams.
– Lack of visibility – Traditional monitoring approaches strain under rapid change and ephemeral infrastructure. Lack of visibility causes slow remediation.
– Security risks – Dynamic environments expand the attack surface. Runtime threats within containers and Kubernetes APIs require new defenses.
– Demand for greater scale – Applications must scale up and down automatically based on usage. Computing resources should be tuned to match workload needs.
– Skill shortages – Few teams have deep experience running Kubernetes in production at scale. Demand for Kubernetes expertise exceeds supply.
– Noise and alerts – Dynamic environments generate spikes in event data. This makes it difficult to triage and identify truly critical alerts.
Thankfully cloud native technologies have emerged to address these operational challenges:
– Service mesh – Tools like Istio provide cross-cutting concerns like security, observability, and traffic control for microservices. Mesh helps control complexity.
– Observability tools – OpenTelemetry and other CNCF projects capture metrics, logs, and traces to provide full stack observability into Kubernetes workloads.
– GitOps workflows – Infrastructure-as-code practices like GitOps automate deployment and management for consistency and reliability.
– Policy enforcement – Admission controllers enforce security, compliance, and governance policies across the Kubernetes control plane.
– Auto-scaling tools – Cluster and pod auto-scalers dynamically adjust resources up and down to match usage needs, improving efficiency.
– Managed offerings – Fully-managed Kubernetes removes the heavy lifting around managing production-grade clusters.
Adoption of these complementary technologies is key to overcoming the operational hurdles of cloud native environments. As Kubernetes usage accelerates, so does adoption of these solutions for monitoring, automation, and management.
Outlook for Kubernetes and CNCF projects in 2023/2024
Based on the current trajectory, Kubernetes and cloud native technologies are poised for continued growth and mainstream adoption in 2023/2024:
– Kubernetes domination – Kubernetes will extend its dominance as the default platform for container orchestration, microservices and cloud native applications.
– Multi-cloud explosion – Usage of multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud strategies will continue increasing rapidly, amplifying the need for Kubernetes’ consistency and portability.
– Security prioritization – Security, compliance and risk management will become top priorities for Kubernetes users. We’ll see wider adoption of technologies like OPA, Kyverno, SPIFFE, and TUF.
– Scaling challenges – Managing scale and complexity will be the top challenge as usage expands into thousands of nodes running tens of thousands of containers and microservices.
– Democratization of expertise – Managed Kubernetes offerings, patterns/frameworks and community resources will help democratize Kubernetes knowledge beyond just specialized experts.
– Rise of GitOps – GitOps patterns will emerge as the standard for managing Kubernetes configurations and performing declarative deployments.
– Convergence of CNCF projects – We’ll see increased convergence of Kubernetes with other CNCF technologies like Containerd, gRPC, OpenTelemetry, Prometheus, and Vitess. Multi-project integrations will become commonplace.
– Extensibility improvements – Custom resource definitions and Kubernetes extensions will unlock further extensibility, facilitating integration with hardware, cloud services, and other applications.
– Climate impact awareness – Kubernetes efficiency gains will be quantified in terms of compute savings that lower carbon footprints. Green Kubernetes options will gain prominence.
The Kubernetes ecosystem is primed for rapid growth and maturation over the next two years. As adoption spreads, Kubernetes will cement itself as the orchestration engine for multi-cloud operations. The transformational impact of cloud native technologies on application development and delivery will come into full focus.