May 4, 2021

The Future of Kubernetes: Is It Still Relevant?

Community & Open Source

Kubernetes has been around for a good few years, but like with every new development trend, it's hard to know how long it'll be around. What's the future of Kubernetes look like now? Is it destined to be abandoned? Will it become so ubiquitous we don't even think about it anymore?

Read on for insights about the future of Kubernetes.

Table of Contents

What is Kubernetes (K8s)?

Kubernetes is an extensible open source platform for managing containerized workloads and services. It uses declarative configuration to automate a development environment.

Kubernetes is sometimes abbreviated online as "K8s," in which the number 8 stands in for the eight letters between the letter K and the letter S in the name "Kubernetes".

How Organizations Use Kubernetes

Many organizations use Kubernetes to improve maintenance, scalability, and healing of application architecture.

Kubernetes has been the darling of the cloud-native world for some time. The open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications across clusters of nodes has had an enormous impact on the way developers operate.

Is Kubernetes Going Away?

Moving to Microservices

Kubernetes is part of a broader development trend toward microservices. In contrast to the traditional monolithic approach to app development, in which infrastructure and app code are brought inside one virtual machine (VM) or server, microservices enable developers to separate (or containerize) those elements for better maintainability.

For example, an ecommerce app experiencing a high volume of payments at once can scale up just the payment app if it's maintained using microservices. That would be impossible in traditional monolithic development, where all app services are hosted under one VM or server.

Is Kubernetes Just Another Development Trend?

The dev space sees a lot of flashes in the pan. A tool that thought leaders talk about like an absolute godsend today might feel irrelevant in six months. But as a harbinger of the microservices and containerization movements, Kubernetes could be different.

Speaking on the Pulling the Strings podcast, Shipa CEO Bruno Andrade said, "Kubernetes is not is definitely not the silver bullet. It won't solve all the problems. But for applications that are going towards the microservice architecture ... They're probably going to start looking at Kubernetes as a way for them to have a reliable way of managing these new workloads that they are deploying."

Open Source is the Key to the Future of Kubernetes

While some tools might come and go seasonally, Andrade said the open source roots of Kubernetes may give it a certain staying power – especially as larger organizations contribute to Kubernetes code.

"I think the key thing is now Kubernetes is being maintained by a large group today," Andrade said. "So that's a key difference. You see many organizations involved, such as Google, RedHat, Microsoft, and so you have very large organizations involved with Kubernetes as a project and helping develop and keep Kubernetes."

What is the Future of Kubernetes?

Andrade offered a few predictions for the direction Kubernetes will be headed in the years to come, including more widespread adoption and more intelligent Kubernetes utilization on the part of developers:

  • More organizations will use Kubernetes at scale as the code base grows and adoption increases.
  • Managed Kubernetes services will continue to expand in scope and availability as cloud providers expand their offerings (like Google, Azure, AWS, and Oracle).
  • Kubernetes will "take a backseat" in your infrastructure, but it won't become less important: "It will become like your hypervisor, you know it's there, but you don't really care about it. You're deploying your application and focus on the application code."
  • Developers will start to consider Kubernetes sooner in the development lifecycle, understanding its capabilities and use cases more intuitively as adoption grows.

Advice for Utilizing Kubernetes for Future Development

Learn How to Use Kubernetes Intelligently...

"One of the key challenges that people talk extensively about Kubernetes is basically the complexity of implementing and maintaining Kubernetes itself," Andrade said. "So there is a lot of focus when it comes to managing the Kubernetes infrastructure cluster and objects.

"And I believe the more we move towards an automated way that allows us to finally focus on the application, this will allow Kubernetes to continue being a key technology instead of fading away because people don't know how to deal with it."

... or Choose the Right Managed Kubernetes Services

When your scale or complexity outstrips your team's ability or capacity, it might be time to look at having a vendor manage Kubernetes for you. But just like your infrastructure is unique, so is each managed services vendor.

"Many times the managed services offerings are not exactly the same across cloud providers," Andrade said. "So you have to keep an eye on that, such as when you're consuming storage or maybe when you're consuming network from Kubernetes. The way you build your applications, they are built to consume the services offered by your cloud providers."

Install and Configure Kubernetes Automatically

Automation underpins the most powerful benefits of Kubernetes, and automation can help you get started with Kubernetes faster. The certified Puppet Kubernetes module helps you deploy Kubernetes more quickly, including installing and configuring Kubernetes with either Open Source Puppet or Puppet Enterprise.

Or Maybe Don't Use Kubernetes At All

"Kubernetes, when it comes to infrastructure, is very object-centric," Andrade added. "As an example, when you deploy an application, a single app can go up to about a dozen objects. So now imagine if you're deploying hundreds of applications or services, it becomes a big nightmare."

"The way for you to start solving that problem and looking at it, is to start thinking about an application layer framework instead of Kubernetes. ... Start focusing on how you deploy applications independently of the cluster version that you have underneath."

Listen to Our Podcast About the Future of Kubernetes

On Puppet's Pulling the Strings podcast about automation and DevOps, Bruno Andrade, CEO of Shipa, discusses the role Kubernetes has played in DevOps, signs that its role is winding down, and whether there’s a need to shift from object management to application management.

Listen with the player below or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.