2021 Container and Microservices Predictions
January 07, 2021

DEVOPSdigest asked DevOps and development experts from across the industry for their 2021 container and microservices predictions:

KUBERNETES REMAINS HIGH PRIORITY

Kubernetes will come into focus, serving as the abstraction layer to manage and control multi-cloud together through a "single pane of glass." Due to this, and despite the pandemic, the implementation of Kubernetes and container adoption will remain high priorities for businesses. In addition to Kubernetes, 95 percent of new microservices are predicted to be deployed in the containers by 2021.
Avishai Sharlin
Division President, Amdocs Technology

MORE MANAGED SAAS APPS RUNNING ON KUBERNETES

Containers provide scalability, portability, extensibility and availability advantages, but managing them is not seamless and, in fact, is often a headache. Kubernetes takes that pain away for building, delivering and scaling containerized apps. 2021 will bring more managed SaaS apps running on K8s, and those that are able to abstract the complexities of their platforms from users will emerge as the winners.
Dipti Borkar
Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Ahana

KUBERNETES STILL NOT WIDESPREAD

Even though Kubernetes has become a red-hot trend among tech media and influencers, few organizations are actually deploying Kubernetes for critical business apps. Even forward-looking enterprises that have widely deployed containers, such as those in the tech and financial services sectors, tend to only use Kubernetes for a small fraction of their containerized workloads. Operational difficulties are the biggest issue. Simply put, Kubernetes is very challenging to deploy, manage and run at scale. To make things more complicated, deploying Kubernetes in production and at scale requires massive internal buy-in. Unlike microservices, which are leveraged almost exclusively by developer teams and don't necessarily require top-down approval from IT to adopt, Kubernetes impacts an organization's entire infrastructure stack and often must be greenlit by the CIO before it can be fully deployed. Kubernetes also has a steep learning curve. It is a radical departure from VMs, which the majority of IT pros still rely on to deploy and run infrastructure and applications. Because of these factors, Kubernetes will not yet see widespread usage supporting business apps next year. Eventually, though, organizations will realize they can turn to pre-made Kubernetes clouds to overcome these challenges, and full production deployments at scale will finally take off.
Ankur Singla
CEO, Volterra

KUBERNETES FAILURES

2020 saw the promise of Kubernetes reach an all-time high, with organizations using container-orchestration to accelerate digital transformation strategies while tackling the challenges of scaling and managing clusters. According to our recent Kubernetes survey, 77% of organizations cited Kubernetes as a central part of their digital strategy. In 2021, enthusiasm for Kubernetes will move from unbridled excitement to frustration as complexity stalls and even derails some production deployments. Developers and business leaders will join forces to combat Kubernetes complexity, drive code contributions in the open source community, and create best practices and new solutions for effectively scaling Kubernetes deployments. GitOps, in particular, will take center stage to combat some of these challenges in 2021, leading to increased automation, accelerated delivery schedules and improved application quality. GitOps is highly effective for cloud-native journeys, as it helps to streamline workflows and keeps developer teams progressing toward their goals. Whether it's changing only one section of code or working on different projects and uploading new code, developers can collaborate in real-time through GitOps. In this transition to remote teams, employees have relied more on GitOps to keep critical digital transformation projects moving forward. As best practices and policies evolve, we expect to see a more mature and simplified Kubernetes, driving faster digital transformations.
Tobi Knaup
Co-Founder and CEO , D2iQ

CLOUD-NATIVE APPLICATIONS FUEL CONTAINER MARKET

The agility that containers provide to organizations trying to accelerate their move to the cloud will continue to fuel demand for container-based applications. In particular, the fact that containers can be used to make applications cloud-native will drive growth of the container market. By using containers to make their applications cloud native, companies can improve these applications cloud scalability and performance, and also more easily move these applications between different clouds — helping them accelerate their digital transformation initiatives.
Rahul Pawar
VP of Product Management, Commvault

CONTAINER ADOPTION WILL PEAK

Containers are continuing to make the headlines and are destined to be used in more use cases throughout the IT infrastructure. As the excitement wanes, companies will still run complex applications, databases, and ERPs in traditional on-premises and cloud environments.
Cassius Rhue
VP, Customer Experience, SIOS Technology

OPEN CONTAINER STANDARDS

Organizations are continuing to embrace cloud-native development in hybrid cloud environments, and are looking ahead and asking: what's next for containers, and microservices? Using multiple clouds means there's going to be more interest in having an agnostic experience for delivering container-base workloads, and we expect to see container platforms that adhere to standards like Open Container Initiative (OCI) providing workload portability across many cloud providers.
Eric Schabell
Portfolio Architect Director, Red Hat

SECOND WAVE OF MICROSERVICES ADOPTION

The initial wave of microservices adoption was driven by the trend towards APIs and SaaS-based products in the mid-2010s; however, microservices did not see widespread adoption during this time and mostly caught on only among advanced developer teams. Despite progress during the initial wave of adoption, it's still been historically difficult to debug and maintain apps designed with microservices. But in 2021, that will start to change for several reasons. One key driver is the growing emergence of Kubernetes as the de-facto option for managing containers. Microservices are part of Kubernetes' DNA — it is the primary method by which apps are developed and deployed when using Kubernetes. Also, the growing distribution of apps and infrastructure to hybrid cloud and edge environments will further boost microservices adoption. The highly distributed nature of hybrid cloud and edge settings make them a natural fit to use microservices to develop and support apps there, as the very purpose of microservices is to provide an alternative to large, often unwieldy, monolithic app architectures. The increasing rise of multi-cloud will also lead to more microservices adoption. Due to these factors, over the next 12 months, we will see microservices begin to move to mainstream usage.
Ankur Singla
CEO, Volterra

EDGE COMPUTING DRIVES MICROSERVICES

The growth of edge computing will result in an increase in microservice-driven application creation: The industry has seen a strong movement away from monolithic application development to one that is more microservice-driven. Edge computing allows development teams to build applications through microservices created and delivered on the edge. Compared to old-school monolithic architectures, building individual functional components allows for greater agility, faster times to market and decreased risk from failure. The confluence of edge computing and a microservice-driven application development opens up the next frontier for creating new digital experiences.
Lelah Manz
SVP and GM of Web Performant, Akamai

WEB OF MICROSERVICES

Microservice architectures will transition to a web of microservices. Containers and microservices allow development teams to deliver focused and well-bounded software services quickly and easily. Through re-use, these turn quickly into capabilities that the business can rapidly re-compose to create new products and services. This is the primary means through which the business can accelerate time to market. Hence, it is inevitable that we'll see the death of the microservice application — in favor of the web of microservices.
Tobias Kunze
CEO and Co-Founder, Glasnostic

MICROSERVICES FAILURES

Expect to see more microservices failures, as teams continue to struggle with them in 2021: service meshes like Istio and Linkerd can make the job easier, many groups reinvent too many wheels and inevitably do a worse job while increasing their maintenance burden.
Rod Cope
CTO, Perforce Software

BACKLASH AGAINST MICROSERVICES

It's easy to see the appeal of microservices architecture. It makes maintaining code easier. It's easy to understand — in that the code is restricted to just one business function. Plus, it can make IT faster and more flexible. However, it does pose some potential risks such as complicated implementation, increased overhead, and finding specific developer talent. These issues have been lurking around for some time now, but in the new year, we will see technology teams taking a hard look at the promised benefits of microservices. Organizations will realize that the monolith never died, and microservices were never a solution for every problem. Both have their place — sometimes within the same development organization. Organizational approach to architecture will be predicated on good business analysis — specifically validating that investments in technology will have a measurable and meaningful financial return.
Nočnica Fee
Developer Advocate, New Relic

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