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A survey of 333 IT operations and application development stakeholders directly responsible for Kubernetes in production environments suggests Kubernetes adoption has hit a critical mass point. This means managed service providers (MSPs) will be increasingly relied on to assist with overseeing and managing these.

Most organizations see room to improve operational efficiency

Dimensional Research on behalf of Spectro Cloud, a provider of a Kubernetes clusters management platform, conducted this survey. The data shows that nearly all respondents (98 percent) said they face challenges running it in production environments. Nearly half (48 percent) noted that putting guardrails in place is a challenge. Almost all respondents (98 percent) agreed there is plenty of room to improve operational efficiency, with 56 percent citing automation as an opportunity. Only 46 percent cited simplifying the Kubernetes environment. The top guardrail challenges are security and compliance (40 percent). That is followed by performance and scalability (35 percent) and cost or pricing model (34 percent).

Despite these issues, 80 percent of respondents said they will continue to grow the number of clusters they deploy. A full 86 percent said they also expect to grow the number of new containerized applications built for Kubernetes. 78 percent also expecting to grow the number of development teams deploying Kubernetes applications.

Additionally, more than three quarters (77 percent) expect to increase the number of existing applications that will be migrated to Kubernetes clusters. Of those, 85 percent are migrating applications that run in virtual machines today. Overall, 86 percent of respondents are looking to unify containerized and virtual machine workloads into a single infrastructure platform.

Also important to note, a full three quarters (75 percent) are either regularly or occasionally encountering interoperability issues. 69 percent of which are running Kubernetes in more than one IT environment. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) also report having more than five distinct software elements in their Kubernetes infrastructure stack. Organizations that are running more than 20 clusters in production are far more likely to have five or more distributions of Kubernetes (39 percent) running more than 15 distinct software elements (35 percent).

Strong growth expected at the edge in 2024

Overall, Kubernetes is deployed most often in a virtualized data center (65 percent), followed by bare metal server environments (25 percent). Almost a third (31 percent) are also using it in edge computing environments. A total of 93 percent are planning to use Kubernetes on edge computing infrastructures, with 21 percent expecting “strong growth” at the edge in the next year. The survey also finds 41 percent of respondents are already running it in three or more environments.

In the cloud, you can find Kubernetes most often running on Amazon Web Services (56 percent), Microsoft Azure (52 percent) and Google Cloud (30 percent) services.

It’s been a long time coming, but Kubernetes adoption is clearly on the rise. The survey makes it clear there is still a lot of work to do to make one of the most complex platforms finding its way into the enterprise simpler to deploy and manage. Naturally, MSPs will need to acquire the expertise required to manage Kubernetes clusters, but as that old solution provider adage notes: where there is mystery there is profitability.

Photo: Sergey Novikov / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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