Fostering Innovation with a Kubernetes Platform

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Hybrid and multi-cloud are now the established order in the tech world. According to SUSE’s recently commissioned Insight Avenue report, Why Today’s IT Leaders are Choosing Open, more than 800 IT leaders believe the biggest benefits of a hybrid and multi-cloud approach are cost-effectiveness (45%), increased flexibility and agility (44%), and being able to take advantage of best-of-breed solutions (35%).

Yet unlocking these benefits is difficult when many IT leaders haven’t adequately factored the prevalence of containers and Kubernetes in their multi-cloud strategy. As a result, while they will undoubtedly have differing Kubernetes distributions within their environment, they may lack a unified platform for managing, governing and having visibility of the varied distributions.

In the same way that Linux became the data center’s operating system, Kubernetes is now widely regarded as the operating system of the hybrid and multi-cloud – ultimately because Kubernetes makes it easier to manage software complexity.

In the early days of Kubernetes, companies would have experimented with their own DIY Kubernetes stack to run their cloud native applications. However, as these enterprise applications became more complex, it became harder to manage them. Today, the cloud and container market has matured significantly, so we believe it’s time for enterprises to rethink their Kubernetes approach.

What do IT leaders want from a Kubernetes platform?

IT leaders love Kubernetes because it fosters innovation. It helps to significantly increase the agility and efficiency of their software development teams, enabling them to reduce the time and complexity associated with putting differentiated applications into production.

According to our report, 42% of organisations currently run containers for production workloads – with a further 41% planning to do so in the next 12 months. 57% of organisations that are running containers for production workloads use Kubernetes.

There has been an ongoing evolution in the build vs buy debate regarding a Kubernetes platform. Our survey found that 66% of IT leaders now prefer a commercially curated and supported distribution of an open-source Kubernetes platform vs a homegrown Kubernetes platform.

This is a significant shift from just last year, where 87% of IT leaders still preferred a DIY approach. What has changed? Is the growing complexity of applications becoming too difficult for them to manage? Is it due to a shortage of Kubernetes skill sets? Is it due to implementation cost?

What we do know is that IT leaders are embracing open source. When we asked IT leaders for the factors they look for in a Kubernetes platform, the top three are:

  • 100% open source (36%)
  • support for multi-cluster and edge deployments (34%)
  • ease of installation (34%).

Development and operations teams are pivotal to innovation. However, it is also quite well known that the priorities of these two teams can be diametrically opposed, for good reasons. Development teams want to focus on writing code and rolling out their applications quickly. Operations teams work hard to manage stability, security and control their computing environments. We call this the agility-stability paradox. How do we create a balance between the freedom to innovate and ease of management and governance?

Kubernetes can help to cope with these competing desires between development and operations teams by decoupling application development and operational stability. As a result, development teams can build what they need, optimised for innovation while still aligning to continuous delivery and automation processes defined by the operations teams. To do this successfully however, companies need to leverage an enterprise Kubernetes management platform. Such a platform must be able to meet key requirements that will foster innovation and collaboration between development and operations teams.

The platform should provide development teams with a rich catalogue of services for building, deploying, and scaling containerized applications, app packaging, CI/CD, logging, monitoring, and service mesh. It should also empower operations teams to automate processes and apply a consistent set of operational, governance and security policies for their Kubernetes clusters which may be running on any CNCF-certified Kubernetes distribution, in the data center, in the cloud or at the edge.

Where are you on your Kubernetes adoption journey, and which factors are most important for you in a Kubernetes platform? How do you envision development and operations teams using a Kubernetes platform in your organisation? What priority do you place on the value of open source solutions for giving you the freedom to innovate everywhere?

About the author

Vishal Ghariwala is the Chief Technology Officer for SUSE for the APJ and Greater China regions. In this capacity, he engages with customer and partner executives across the region, and is responsible for growing SUSE’s mindshare by being the executive technical voice to the market, press, and analysts. He also supports the global Office of the CTO to assess relevant industry, market and technology trends and identify opportunities aligned with the company’s strategy.

Prior to joining SUSE, Vishal was the Director for Cloud Native Applications at Red Hat where he led a team of senior technologists responsible for driving the growth and adoption of the Red Hat OpenShift, API Management, Integration and Business Automation portfolios across the Asia Pacific region.

Vishal has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

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Vishal Ghariwala

Vishal Ghariwala is the Chief Technology Officer for SUSE for the APJ and Greater China regions. In this capacity, he engages with customer and partner executives across the region, and is responsible for growing SUSE’s mindshare by being the executive technical voice to the market, press, and analysts. He also supports the global Office of the CTO to assess relevant industry, market and technology trends and identify opportunities aligned with the company’s strategy.