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Considering a Move to Kubernetes? Here’s What You Need to Know

Kubernetes is harder than you think

Nolan Bushnell, the video game pioneer who invented Pong in the early 1970s, said on the subject of video games, “All the best games are easy to learn and difficult to master.” Bushnell’s Law or Nolan’s Law applies rather nicely to Kubernetes. It’s easy to spin up your first Kubernetes cluster thanks to GKE, EKS or AKS. It’s also relatively straightforward to get an instance running on your raspberry pi. However, while easy to start, it’s difficult to do well.

A POC isn’t reflective of success

A proof of concept that you can “run your application on Kubernetes” is not truly reflective of your ability to “run your application on Kubernetes in production securely, scalably and reliably.”

You need to work on your app too

I’ve met many teams wanting to adopt Kubernetes. A lot of the time, these teams think they can get away migrating without doing anything to the application. That’s simply not true — a lift and shift is highly unlikely unless you’ve already built your application using the 12-factor methodology. Even then, while you can move your application into Kubernetes, it might fight you.

Kubernetes won’t get you cost optimization out of the gate

Instead when you move to Kubernetes, you’ll probably be running parallel systems. Your costs are most likely going to go up for a period of time as you run two systems and migrate over.

Kubernetes takes time

You are not going to roll out Kubernetes in a month. It will take time to learn, roll out, configure and optimize Kubernetes. There is no prescribed timeframe for when you should be seeing the benefits. You will be optimizing and tweaking your clusters to make improvements for at least the first year as you find new features and new ways of doing things. So when you think you’re done, you are not!

Then why replatform to Kubernetes?

If you have an older style architecture that’s running well, you don’t have new revenue targets, scalability goals or cost optimization requirements, then don’t replatform. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  • Avoid lock-in, fully open source: Kubernetes can be used without having to re-architect your container orchestration strategy. The software is fully open source and can be redeployed without incurring traditional software licensing fees.
  • High availability and scalability: Kubernetes includes built-in high availability features that help with load balancing and self-healing. Autoscaling ensures your workloads always have the right amount of compute available.
  • Support standards: Kubernetes is an active community with a breadth of modular, open source extensions that have the backing of major companies and institutions like the CNCF. Several thousand developers and many large corporations contribute to Kubernetes, making it the platform of choice for modern software infrastructure.
  • Deploy a long term solution: Given the rise of Kubernetes, many cloud providers are shifting their R&D focus to expanding their managed Kubernetes services over legacy options. Consider Kubernetes as you develop your long term IT strategy.

Configuration not engineering

You can install a program, write a YAML file and your cluster will automatically scale. You do not need to write a sensor and a scaling loop — you do not need to write any code. Kubernetes has a lot of functionality for which you do not need to write anything new because you are writing configuration not code.

Reduces bespoke engineering

Kubernetes helps share knowledge, better and faster and creates a greater overall solution so that you need fewer internal bespoke solutions around Kubernetes itself.

Help reducing Kubernetes time to value

I’m a huge fan of Kubernetes, having used it since its inception and helped many companies replatform to it. Everything I’ve mentioned must be considered when you evaluate making the move. If you are uncertain about what to do, that’s where a Kubernetes managed service can help. The team at Fairwinds lives and breathes Kubernetes and the open source technologies needed to make it work. If you want some expert Kubernetes advice, get in touch.

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Fairwinds

Fairwinds — The Kubernetes Enablement Company | Editor of uptime 99