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As organizations embrace cloud-native applications running on platforms such as Kubernetes, it’s become apparent that internal IT teams are running into a range of management challenges.

A survey of 500 platform teams working in organizations with more than 1,000 employees conducted by Rafay Systems, a provider of a Kubernetes management platform, finds 61 percent report that environment provisioning is a major roadblock to accelerating the timeframe for application deployments. And 25 percent reported taking three months or longer to deploy a modern application or service.

Lack of satisfaction and frustration are common

The survey of both platform engineers and developers also finds nearly half (45 percent) of respondents are not satisfied or just somewhat satisfied with their current process. Issues include having to wait on someone else or on a ticketing-based system to provision environments (57 percent), the fact that there are too many software/service dependencies between the application and environment that need to be tested/approved/validated (49 percent), that it takes too long to gain/configure/approve access to new environments (30 percent) and a lack of automation to procure environments or environments that instead must be manually deployed (27 percent).

Among the 39 percent of platform engineers that are unsatisfied, issues include the lack of a standard way to deploy and manage environments (43 percent), it takes too much time and effort to train development teams on how to provision environments (41 percent), lack of visibility into environment resources including usage, costs and performance metrics (38 percent) and lack of governance (35 percent) and too few guardrails around operations (27 percent).

The survey finds developers are more likely to be frustrated, unsatisfied or somewhat unsatisfied with the provisioning process (52 percent) compared with 61 percent of platform engineers who are very satisfied with their organization’s current process for environment provisioning. Issues identified by developers include a lack of automation between DevOps and core developer workflows (55 percent), rolling out environments for applications takes too long (41 percent), it takes too much time to learn about and stay up to date with how to provision environments (36 percent) and it’s too complicated to provision environments (33 percent).

Organizations rely on Kubernetes to close skills gap

Clearly, there’s a need for managed Kubernetes services that reduce the current level of complexity being encountered. Kubernetes was designed by engineers to be used by other engineers rather than traditional IT administrators. As more organizations deploy cloud-native applications based on microservices constructed using containers, it quickly becomes apparent there is a skills shortage.

As a result, many organizations as a result are relying on managed Kubernetes service provided by cloud service providers to offload management of Kubernetes clusters. However, as more Kubernetes clusters are deployed at the network edge, there is more emphasis on the need for a managed service that spans instances of Kubernetes running at the network edge and in the cloud.

In general, it’s clear the pace at which organizations are deploying cloud-native applications across highly distributed computing environments is accelerating. The issue now is determining how best to manage them when more organizations would prefer to devote more resources to building applications versus managing Kubernetes and all the complementary tools and platforms required. If ever there was a time when the expertise of a managed service provider (MSP) was needed more it’s hard to imagine.

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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