How Can Kubernetes Help Your Business?
The main benefit for your customers highlighted in the Kubernetes literature is making portability between various cloud providers easier, thereby reducing the effects of vendor lock-in, which can cause additional costs if customers migrate.
In addition to this aspect put forward by the community, this post will explore:
- Why is Kubernetes central to the transformation plan for Ops teams?
- How can this investment have a long-term ROI?
In addition to the purely technical implementation, it is clear this transformation of practices on the Operations side requires change management and support to help your teams adapt processes and how they design, build and deploy them. They may also need help and guidance with organization to gain maximum benefit. Some of our clients’ ongoing transformation projects are aimed at breaking down silos, capitalizing on DevOps principles, and applying them to their organization, teams and the needs of their customers, etc. Some also involve implementing a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) supported by the Ops and development teams.
As with any change, you need to be aware of the learning curve and the resulting need to provide dedicated support for the change specific to your company, your employees, and how far along you are with setup, monitoring, and security.
Like when considering various cloud migration strategies, you need to assess the interests of all parties involved to achieve global ROIs for the IT department. The ROIs you will see in this post are not purely financial. In addition to streamlining costs and the benefits Kubernetes can bring to day-to-day work of the infrastructure teams, you should also assess the human, organizational, and time parameters involved.
Using a Scalable, Robust, and Powerful Delivery Platform to Support Developments
Our clients’ main difficulty is ensuring an appropriate and sustainable time to market to achieve the service level their customers need, whether B2B or B2C.
Reducing project delivery time and frequency through a delivery platform that combines scalability, robustness, and capability is a major challenge for our clients.
Our clients work on implementing agile organizations adapted to their environment and their required business needs to achieve this. General digital transformation plans support these organizations and can apply to multiple entities and business lines.
Companies are using agile iterations and ceremonies to support/confirm/help change their customers’ needs to maximize added value, avoid tunnel effects and reduce technical debt by employing market best practices. To support this approach, containerization can reduce time to market, which is heavily influenced by deployment processes, production and maintenance requirements, and all the manual actions and approvals involved in hosting.
So, Kubernetes appears to be a long-term solution to meeting the challenges of industrialization of the IT department while preserving the business’ agility. Business value is assessed on time saved between the need arising, its specification and delivery, and the capabilities to test a new business model while reducing the downtime and latency associated with the infrastructure.
Delivering faster and more frequently requires reliable, automated processes within a platform capable of supporting this load while retaining control over implementation, training, and maintenance costs.
Overview of Benefits for Parties Involved
As developers, Operations, and DevOps employees or representatives of the profession, implementing a containerization and orchestration strategy has many benefits. You may need to devise a gradual and scalable transformation plan to support the initiative.
Developers are the first link in the chain and enjoy the following benefits in particular:
Standardization of the build and deployment processes:
- The artifact is always the same, an image
- Its destination is always the same, a registry
Some key issues to consider:
- The need to develop skills in the technologies
- Best practices support to be implemented within the development teams (smallest possible images/choice of base image/use latest available versions/hardening, etc.).
The main benefit is standardization of the build and deployment processes: An artifact (image) to be stored in a registry and deployed in an orchestrator.
This allows teams to focus on creating added value (code quality, technical debt, automation, infrastructure as code, etc.).
Improving the time to market is the main aim of the strategies implemented by our clients. In addition to this benefit, however, Kubernetes also opens up access to environments that are much faster to provision to meet business needs that require greater agility (demo, POC, Sandbox, etc.).
For Operations (Ops):
Implementing a containerization strategy brings multiple benefits here too:
- A single platform to manage (instead of managing applications and their production behavior individually and specific environment management)
- One platform to manage and maintain, regardless of the various applications. Security, monitoring, and scalability aspects are centralized in one place. Cost optimization is an important area to consider, as is implementing a FinOps initiative at the start of the project.
With the support of an industrialization process (tools, monitoring, etc.), Operations can focus on added value for the teams by implementing services adapted to customers’ needs for security, availability, autonomy, and scalability.
The Pets vs. Cattle concept introduced by Bill Baker, and well known in the DevOps world, also applies here. Management is standardized and automated, requiring little human intervention, hence the name “chain management.”
Toward a General Industrialization Strategy
Teams or individuals in companies who want to enjoy the benefits discussed in this post are adopting this approach. These initiatives can be combined with containerization for development teams, automated deployment for DevOps, and orchestration for Ops within a pilot project or a POC.
The challenge for IT departments is to capitalize on their teams’ initiatives with varying degrees of maturity and sometimes conflicting feedback.
How can employee initiatives associated with a well-defined context (a team, application, or POC) support a global enterprise-scale approach to industrialization?
Of all the possible choices, you should capitalize on feedback and sector use cases within your company to implement a reliable strategy that goes beyond simply upgrading the technology and environments. As mentioned earlier, support is essential when transforming your organization to implement effective, long-term processes and quickly see the benefits of the desired ROIs. Successive redesigns and upgrades, changing technological environments and approaches, and budget changes are common ground for companies.
To make your transformation plan a success, you need a clear strategy and a specific understanding of the ROIs you want to achieve.
Fast-Track the Development of Native Cloud Applications and Application Modernization
In an application modernization strategy, teams can capitalize on all the benefits of an orchestration platform to deploy existing applications more easily while supporting the scaling of native cloud applications.
Source: Microsoft documentation
In addition to upgrading technical stacks, Kubernetes and containerization can attract talent, which can, in turn, provide valuable feedback to companies. You need to offset this attraction against the need to train teams and support them in the long term through practice.
Taking Advantage of a Managed Kubernetes Service
One distinct advantage of a managed Kubernetes service is server management delegation. The cloud provider takes over much of the technical management of the Kubernetes cluster. The user continues to be responsible for worker management and pays for the service.
When combined with a cloud strategy tailored to the client’s environment, it offers many benefits for your customers:
- Ease of operations: a technical platform
- Ease of migrating existing applications, when compared to migrating to a non-managed Kubernetes service, which can involve restrictions in terms of the platform design
- Easy horizontal scaling for microservice architectures, which can have an extended environment and involve deployment through policies.
In short, implementing a managed Kubernetes service can allow your Ops teams to focus on creating value by delegating various actions to the service management team.