The State of Kubernetes and Cloud Native Operations 2022
June 15, 2022

David Booth

Kubernetes and the ecosystem of cloud native technologies unlock innovation for organizations and provide a means to achieve the goals of elasticity, agility, optimized resource utilization, reduced service costs and workload portability. Security and optimized resource utilization are high priorities for practitioners, reminding us that the cloud native space is maturing, and focus is moving from Day Zero to Day Two operations, according to the Kubernetes and Cloud Native Operations survey report from Canonical.

Hybrid vs Multi-Cloud: What is the Reality Behind the Adoption?

More than 83% of respondents said they are using either hybrid or multi-cloud. Compared to the 2021 survey, the percentage of respondents who did not use hybrid or multi-cloud dropped from 22.4% to 16.4%.

When analyzing the reality behind this adoption and the increasing growth of hybrid cloud in the enterprise, the key question organization's need to be asking is: at will, can you run workloads where they are most useful, advantageous, and/or cost efficient?

Based on the findings, the pattern we’re seeing is that medium and large institutions are moving towards a model with a fully automated private cloud and relationships with two or more public cloud providers. We’re seeing both workload and data repatriation to the private cloud and expansion into multi-cloud use cases.

Thoughts on Kubernetes on Bare Metal?

The decision of where to run applications can be a complex one. 14% of survey respondents said they run everything on Kubernetes, with over 20% saying on bare metal and VMs, and over 29% said a combination of bare metal, VMs, and Kubernetes. This distribution is a proof point for the resiliency of so-called "legacy" applications, but also to the desire for resource optimization.

Bare metal is often touted as a better choice for compute and resource-heavy use cases, such as interactive machine learning jobs. As Kubernetes becomes more accessible, there is speculation that organizations will further adopt Kubernetes on bare metal, if the option is known and understood.

No Surprise: Security is Still Everyone's Concern

38% of respondents suggest that security is the most important consideration when operating Kubernetes, building container images, or defining an edge strategy. While keeping clusters up to date is a definitive best practice to solve security issues, it is seemingly not as embedded within the strategic-thinking IT infrastructure group as one could expect.

Moreover, only 13.5% of people reported that they’ve "mastered" security in the cloud native space. It is clear that organizations have some room to grow when it comes to properly adopting and managing Kubernetes in production.

Consider an App Store for Operators?

Finally, when asked if they would trust an operator built by an expert, more than 50% of respondents said yes. This is a proof point that the skills gap is still a major issue for organizations. However, the provenance and accessibility of operators need to be addressed to mitigate the main concerns of organizations adopting new technologies, and in particular open-source solutions.

As the need for automation of operations continues to grow, finding a safe place to get the necessary tools is becoming more and more important. The idea of an "App Store" where people can publish and consume operators has been put forward by experts responding to this year and last year’s survey.

Looking into the future, despite obstacles, Kubernetes adoption is consistently growing. Understanding the experience, in addition to the top level concerns of developers and users, needs to stay at the top of organizational minds in the years to come.

Furthermore, as the AI, machine learning, and data platforms space continues to evolve, and platforms adapt to support these more diverse toolsets, the goals of its users will transform with it.

David Booth is VP Cloud Native Applications and Product Management at Canonical
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