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Why Kubernetes isn’t just another tech buzzword

By Contributor, 30 Aug 2021

Article by New Relic ANZ solutions consulting senior director Myk Shaforostov and Innablr CTO Prateek Nayak.
 

Kubernetes, or K8s, the popular container orchestration platform, has profoundly transformed the way development teams deploy software, and for good reason. 

It’s rapidly becoming the source of truth for many organisations due to its centralised platform structure and has numerous benefits, including increased deployment agility, cost savings and scalability. 

In fact, new research has found that 68% of IT professionals increased their K8s usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefits of K8s are being realised by tier-one enterprises to smaller-scale business operators and everything in between. So why should businesses get on the K8s bandwagon? 

K8s is an open-source container orchestration platform designed to automate the deployment, scaling and management of containerised applications. K8s comes with many benefits, including effective resource consumption control, easy canary deployments and rollbacks, and easy scalability.

Initially developed by Google, K8s today is the de facto standard for container orchestration and the flagship project of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). 

While K8s itself sits in the developer and engineering realm, it has notable flow-on effects on the wider business, especially in terms of operational efficiencies and logistical concerns, both of which impact the organisation’s bottom line.
 

Distributed teams and security best practices

One of the biggest concerns companies tend to have around K8s — and indeed open-source technology — is security. Traditionally when businesses are on-premises, they are isolated behind the network, so security isn’t so much of an issue. However, for companies that operate in the cloud with distributed teams, that boundary doesn’t exist. When teams are in disparate locations deploying their own VMs, tracking the security posture is challenging.

One Melbourne-based K8s Certified Service provider (CNCF) with a focus on cloud engineering and next-generation platform consultancy explained that the open-source community has built an ecosystem of robust software to bolster K8s’ security landscape. And because K8s promotes the centralising of infrastructure, security oversight is simplified, and security mechanisms can be bolted on with ease.

With K8s, there are many controls such as Centre for Internet Security (CIS) and National Institute for Standards of Technology (NIST) guidelines that outline how to secure K8s infrastructure, plus tools that provide necessary automation to benchmark clusters. 

Reports alerting users to potential security risks can be easily run and is powerful for security personnel because it gives them one place to focus on for all the teams in the business. Furthermore, when security modifications or enhancements are made, everybody in the team benefits from it. 

This can be characterised as localised improvements that allow for global benefits. By making one local improvement to a K8s cluster, every team that is deploying onto that cluster benefits from it and inherits the improvements instead of having to implement them themselves.
 

Localised improvements that allow for global benefits

The benefits of K8s extend beyond security. Business engineers no longer need to spend large amounts of time implementing security controls and going through weeks of checks and balances. Engineers are free to focus purely on writing features or enhancements for customers and react faster to market changes. 

The pandemic is a prime example. Businesses that were already well into their K8s journey could react much faster to the switch to digital than those working in on-prem environments. The agility benefits are an inherited part of a central platform like K8s.
 

Solutions for businesses big and small

It’s not just smaller, more nimble businesses that are reaping the benefits of K8s. Some of the biggest names in Australia’s banking and insurance industries have been on their K8s adoption journey for well over two to three years. What these businesses find most compelling is the centralised nature, flexibility, and scale that the platform offers. It also works with all the cloud providers, with on-prem systems, and offers developers a straightforward interface to deploy applications. 

Even given the platform’s success to date, K8s is still early in its journey towards achieving its full potential, which makes it all the more exciting.

Kubernetes is here to stay.

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