When it comes to container orchestration, the first thing that strikes our mind is Kubernetes. Today, Kubernetes has literally become the new standard for a successful cloud-first strategy and container orchestration. Indeed, it is not the only one element to go cloud-native, but it definitely is one of the core success factors.
The right set of tools is the key to attain DevOps maturity in your organization, which stems from significant cultural change and design transformation.
In this post, we will look at the most common challenges of Kubernetes adoption and ways to adopt Kubernetes in your enterprise successfully:
Challenges when Adopting Kubernetes
In particular, Kubernetes is quite challenging to set up. Even though there are myriad tools created to make Kubernetes set up easier, the network setup, optimal infrastructure, installation, and configuration of all the components of Kubernetes is not that easy.
Furthermore, Kubernetes alone is not a cloud-native platform. Instead, it is one of the innovative tools you need to build a platform. You would require many other tools to build a manageable platform that boosts productivity and enhances developers’ experience. Seeing this, enterprise leaders require immense expertise and knowledge so as to choose and utilize the right tooling.
Next comes operations, and that again is not easy. After you tackle setup and installation issues, you will have to deal with Ops problems such as how to productionize the entire platform, get buy-ins, onboard users, and maintain Kubernetes clusters at scale. There are various operational factors to look after, including monitoring, patching & upgrading, retaining high availability, security, and managing backups. For this reason, it requires a fair amount of expertise to run and manage Kubernetes in production.
Lastly, there is quite a lot of complexity in the platform, especially from a developer’s perspective. Operating Kubernetes requires the developer team to thoroughly know its components to use them effectively for application deployment, security, and integration with third-party services.
How to Successfully Adopt Kubernetes in an Enterprise?
1. Know the Benefits of Kubernetes Adoption
Before adopting Kubernetes in your enterprise, you need to know the benefits it will reap for your pipeline. Remember to “walk before your run” when adopting Kubernetes, as a quick “lift and shift” approach won’t help you understand the benefits.
Just because Kubernetes allows you to drop your applications and VMs into it doesn’t mean that every enterprise should do it. Every enterprise is not the same; each has its own requirements and technical maturity levels.
2. Analyze your current abilities and needs
Before adopting Kubernetes, understand your own technical maturity to measure whether your enterprise’s efforts regarding technology are really yielding outcomes or not.
Find out answers to the questions below to thoroughly analyze your current requirements:
- Does your enterprise really need Kubernetes?
- Will you need excessive help to adopt Kubernetes?
- Will the outcome after adoption be satisfactory enough?
- Do all your development needs to operate in Kubernetes, or some of them can run in databases? Will you need a hybrid approach to storage or simply transition to cloud?
- If you utilize databases as well, how will they interact with Kubernetes?
3. Go for a turnkey solution
Seeing the complexity of Kubernetes, it is better to opt for a turnkey solution than to build the platform all by yourself. Choosing a production-ready distribution will make it easier to set it up and focus on the cultural shift. Or else the enterprise team will struggle with the technology.
These production-ready solutions must strike a perfect balance between flexibility to customize and pre-configuration right out-of-the-box. It is always best if the distribution is compatible with the upstream Kubernetes, as the operation team will be able to interact with APIs and native tools.
4. Scale slowly with time
Instead of rolling out Kubernetes for the whole enterprise immediately, it is preferable to start small and scale big with time. New tools and innovative processes should be adopted in one team and eventually spread throughout the organization. Implementing Kubernetes is a primary step towards successful cloud-native strategy.
Starting with an individual product or team, learning, gaining insights, and then adopting the Kubernetes and DevOps approach across other teams is a good approach. This way, you will understand the significance of Kubernetes along with its operational integration needed to deliver software to production continuously.
5. Custom modifications
At first, organizations may start with predefined settings and leverage only proven practices and patterns. But with time, you need to leverage other experiences and get knowledgeable about Kubernetes technology.
To suit your needs, you can then modify, adjust and reconfigure the settings as you want. Hence, it is good to opt for a solution that allows custom modifications and gives you better control over cluster configurations.
Sure, managed solutions are simpler to use at the beginning of Kubernetes adoption stage, but they also provide little to no scope for custom modifications of clusters.
6. Change in mindset
Mindset change is one of the key factors to focus on when deploying applications to Kubernetes. Simply adopting the technology is not enough, as it won’t instantly result in digital transformation of your organization or boost software delivery.
Undeniably, Kubernetes can become the building stone of your DevOps culture and help deliver software faster, but it further needs to be reinforced with organizational and cultural change. Instead of changing just the technology and tooling, enterprise teams need to work on the way people act, work, think, and the way they collaborate, and interact.
Moreover, the stakeholders- right from developers and IT to C-level executives and higher officials- need to be involved throughout the Kubernetes adoption process to know what DevOps really is and what benefits it is fetching for the organization.
7. Assess your applications
Not every application of your organization is ideal for Kubernetes. A few monolithic apps will first require modernization and breakdown into microservices. Only then they can reap benefits from Kubernetes and containerization. Also, some of your other apps might need complete replacement.
Kubernetes is not as simple as it seems, but it is definitely worth adopting. It takes your digital transformation journey to a whole new level and provides excellent value to the platform-building process.
With DevOps approach and Kubernetes technology for software delivery, the organizations will be able to speed up their application development, management, and delivery cycles efficiently.
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