Road To Digital Transformation through Orchestration & Containers!

While the business benefits of Digital Transformation through massive adoption of next generation technology are clearly understood, Technology capabilities are still evolving to further strengthen the business goals and agility in time to market. What is very clear that containerization is becoming the industry norm in IT architecture. Containers offer benefits of immutable infrastructure with predictable, repeatable, and faster development and deployments. By having the said capabilities, IT Landscape is adopting a massive transformation. It is not only the Infrastructure but applications are also adopting the containerization to develop, packaged, delivered, managed to better application delivery and experience.

Kubernetes is a powerful container management tool that automates the deployment and management of containers. Kubernetes (k8’s) is the next big wave in cloud computing or I would say it is already there where enterprises have already starting planning and exaction journeys in container world. it’s easy to see why as businesses migrate their infrastructure and architecture to reflect a cloud-native, data-driven era.

Kubernetes the hot buzz in IT trends is on everyone’s mind and every enterprise want to have Kubernetes into their IT Landscape without having a thought whether K8 really makes sense for them to have or will it create more complications to their needs.

What Kubernetes Does

Kubernetes is an open source tool for orchestrating containers. It automates tasks like starting and stopping containers, and balancing load between different instances of the same container. In simple words Kubernetes make it possible to run complex containerized applications on a large scale by minimizing the amount of management that human engineers have to perform manually.

*Note the bold words such as complex, large scale in above paragraph. Enterprises really need to have an assessment strategy in place to understand when to move to kubernetes and when to not. Also, to have more deep dive understanding of Kubernetes Architecture, please refer to my previous blog on Kubernetes Architecture

Outlined in this post are some of the top reasons why you should use Kubernetes and when you should/shouldn’t use it.

Why Kubernetes?

It is important for enterprises to understand the what are the advantages which K8 can bring to your IT Landscape and on which specific use cases the technology change is applicable. I have some of the top value adds which enterprises accentuate during their digital transformation journey’s by adopting Kubernetes for Orchestration.

- Faster time to market

- IT Cost optimization

- Scalability and availability

- Multi cloud adoption

- Cloud migrations

- Faster Time to Market: Kubernetes enable orchestration capabilities to containers which further encourage enterprises to adopt Microservices architecture for their applications. By adopting Micro services architecture, extraction of large built up application logics into a smaller subsets and then distributing among small development teams to manage and bring more advancement and features onto application without disrupting the other services. Kubernetes allows you to manage large feet of applications across several containers where one just need to define to-be state and kubernetes manages the same automatically.

- IT Cost Optimization: Kubernetes can assist enterprises to cut their infrastructure cost quite drastically if your IT Infrastructure Landscape is operating at a massive scale. Kubernetes styles a container-based architecture feasible by packaging your applications optimally using your cloud and infrastructure investments. Without kubernetes, system administrators always over provision their infrastructure to cater all future needs in present which results into waste of resources and over heads the operational managing cost. With Kubernetes system administrators can now intelligently schedule, scale, manage containers seamlessly by ensuring the available resources are available in the pool and involves zero administration efforts in scaling, and provisioning resources. This encourages enterprises to have more productive tasks.

- Scalability and Availability: In this competitive world where a success of an application is not only dependent on the features but on also the scalability and availability of an application. If an application cannot scale well, it will be highly non-performant at best scale, and totally unavailable, at the worst case.

As an Orchestration capabilities of Kubernetes, it is a critical management system which can auto-scale and boost your application availability and performance. Kubernetes can scale back the application, thus optimizing the infrastructure utilization. The Kubernetes auto-scaling is not limited to just infrastructure metrics; any type of metric — resource utilization metrics — even custom metrics can be used to trigger the scaling process.

- Multi Cloud Adoption: most of the large enterprises plan their IT Landscape with not only one single cloud provider but with a multi cloud vendor as Hybrid-Cloud strategy. Enterprises today are already running multi-cloud environments and will continue to do so in the future. With Kubernetes, things become much simpler to run and manage application on public cloud service or any combination of public and private cloud. This empowers enterprises to have a right strategy of managing the workloads and understand the right workload for their set of applications. This enables enterprises to avoid vendor lock-in and getting the right features, best fit and leveraging their migration strategy and realizes more ROI from IT Investments.

- Cloud Migration Strategy: from the best practices, it is always recommended to have the right cloud migration strategy. Cloud Migration strategy recommends to have six R strategy in place. Such as:

o Re-Hosting

o Re-Platform

o Re-Architecting

o Re-tire

o Re-Purchase

o Re-tain

Kubernetes support is available across all environments, on-premises and cloud like AWS, AZURE and GCP. Kubernetes provides a seamless path to port applications from On-premises to cloud.

When Kubernetes?

What’s great about Kubernetes is that it’s built to be used anywhere so you can deploy to public/private/hybrid clouds, enabling you to reach users where they’re at, with greater availability and security.

- Application uses microservice architecture: If enterprise has an application which is already on microservice architecture or you have a plan to Re-Architect your application on Microservices architecture. Kubernetes becomes must to have in your strategy to support micro services architecture

- DevOps Adoption: enterprises willingness to adopt DevOps model where slow development and large deployment cycle times are still in place. Kubernetes enables developer to package their application into container model and kubernetes handles rest. This will enable your teams to have more time in building up the code and features, rather than worrying about the deployments and roll-backs.

- Infrastructure scale: Kubernetes uses an efficient resource management model at the container, pod, and cluster level, helping enterprises in lower cloud infrastructure costs by ensuring your clusters always have available resources for running applications. Enterprises with the However, kubernetes is designed to spread across massive environment.

When you Shouldn’t use Kubernetes?

It is very much important for enterprises to understand when they should not use Kubernetes into their IT Landscape.

- Simple, OEM lightweight applications: if the application uses a monolithic architecture, one should not plan of using kubernetes for the application. Before, enterprise should asses the application Re-engineering options and ROI of doing the same to move to container based architecture. Containers are largely used to distinct your application into individual smaller services/components to support micro services based architecture.

- Low Infrastructure Scale: Enterprise has less infrastructure to support, manage, operate kubernetes is not designed and meant for such enterprises.

Stating this does not mean that Kubernetes will not work. Indeed, enterprise can still run and take advantage of all kubernetes capabilities. But since part of the point of Kubernetes is to provide high availability by spreading containerized applications across very large clusters, you miss out on some of its value if you have only a handful of servers.

- Windows Agnostic environment: Enterprises where their applications and technology landscape is hosted onto windows operating system and has much dependencies. Kubernetes is again not a right choice as kubernetes is primarily on Linux technology landscape. Kubernetes can be used to manage ontainerized applications hosted on Windows servers that run as so-called worker nodes within a Kubernetes server cluster, the main servers (in other words, the “master” nodes) that host Kubernetes’ core services have to be Linux.

So, if you’re a Windows-centric shop, Kubernetes is not a good tool for you. You’re better off using an alternative container orchestrator, like Docker Swarm, that is more Windows-friendly.

- Cultural Change: Kubernetes would not have meant for enterprises where a cultural shift in adoption of next generation technology is not encouraged. Kubernetes means a steep learning curve, meaning where enterprises will be spending huge time in educating teams and addressing the challenges of a new solution. If the willingness of teams is not there, then probably kubernetes is not a right choice.

Conclusion

Overall, Kubernetes enhances a positive impact for all large enterprises in your developing DevOps teams and business whole. Before being expended by the hype of Kubernetes, enterprises should perform a thorough assessment and bring all efforts, use cases and business case it will take for an enterprise in this journey. Most important to drive out the ROI it will take to adopt Kubernetes into their IT Landscape and value it can bring to your applications.

Principal Solution Architect with over 14 years of extensive IT Architecture who share the enthusiasm for exploiting technology to create business value.