If you want to operate in the cloud today, you have to be on Kubernetes. Enabling an interoperable, open-source ecosystem with significant support from vendors has been widely adopted almost everywhere, regardless of whether your company was ‘born in the cloud’, or ‘born before the cloud’.

The benefits of Kubernetes are well understood in the Israeli startup scene and beyond, and  companies in the Middle East region have been aggressive adopters of Kubernetes from the start.

So why has Kubernetes been so widely picked up?

Kubernetes picked up the strengths of OpenStack, built upon them, and has since made them much more widely available.

OpenStack continues to be a very useful platform, and will continue to be for years to come. With its primary ability to manage core cloud-computing infrastructure services (i.e. compute, networking, storage, identity, image services etc).

But, Kubernetes has a number of key differentiating features - namely, significantly more vendors are operating on it, offering a broader array of services, which has in turn made it more interoperable with other services. For cloud engineers, for example, it is very easy to find a vendor offering (because of such a variety of service providers, and of vendors supporting Kubernetes), than had been seen in the past.

The widespread adoption of Kubernetes has created a sort of virtuous circle - early adoption by a number of providers, and the accessibility that this created has led to additional adoption by other vendors because of how well defined the ecosystem had been from the beginning.

Consistent deployment / roll-out on Kubernetes:

Deployment is another major factor as to why Kubernetes is here to stay - put simply, Kubernetes has become the best way to deploy in the cloud. Any firm (of any size) can hire a team that understands Kubernetes, as it is supported by all the major cloud providers.

The modern-day Kubernetes orchestration platform benefits from running on cloud operations’ robust ecosystem, in addition to a more varied array of vendors to work with and making use of interoperable tech, which hasn’t always been the case in recent years.

Containers and Kubernetes

In the world of cloud, one of the most significant innovations of the last two decades has been the introduction of containers. A container does what it says it does - it is a unit of software that packages up code (and its dependencies) so that an application can run independently and reliably from computer to computer.

One of the reasons why Kubernetes has been so widely used is that it’s uprise coincides with the rise of containers. Kubernetes is well positioned to take advantage of the deployment flexibility that containers offer.

In turn, Kubernetes also addresses some of the management and operations needs of using containers at scale. Containers have made it much easier to launch applications, but not necessarily easier to manage, and this is where Kubernetes comes into its own. Containers allow disparate applications to run, and Kubernetes simplifies the deployment and management of disparate applications.

For organizations running monolithic applications, containers provide a way to help legacy applications benefit from greater infrastructure flexibility and portability. For companies that run privacy-centric, encrypted services, containers also provide a very effective way of segregating services and workloads in private clouds.

For younger companies and for legacy organizations as well, containers have made a significant impact. In particular, for older firms, containerizing a product can extend the lifetime of existing applications.

The role of Kubernetes in 2020:

While it is fair to assert that Kubernetes has rapidly become the dominant force in cloud computing infrastructure, it is not necessarily a silver bullet solution. It’s important to realize that using Kubernetes doesn’t automatically guarantee economic efficiency.

When deploying on Kubernetes, you are still accountable for the cost of your Kubernetes cluster and for the management of the application and associated scaling costs.

But, to be able to unlock the potential of Kubernetes, businesses almost always have to invest significantly in workload management, sizing containers, and infrastructure maintenance.  What’s more is that the time and resources required to keep up with that multiply as you scale.

As a result, it has become increasingly commonplace in recent years to find businesses missing out on the benefits of their Kubernetes investments. Many find that their bills can spiral out of control if they didn’t enact the right process from the beginning of a transformation project.

The Coronavirus pandemic, and the global recession that it has brought with it, is bringing cost concerns to the mind’s of CIOs and CTOs.

Kubernetes and cost saving automation methods:

Spot, now a part of NetApp, is one of the Israeli companies who have found growth and success helping people make use of Kubernetes. We are not alone, there are others, including Alcide, Aqua Security, CodeFresh, Octrin and Ruduxio, who have all focused on developing products focused on a range of needs for customers deploying Kubernetes.

As a company who has ridden this wave in recent years, we have seen the best practices for Kubernetes adoption - not just what to do, but also what not to do. As we’ve seen across nearly every type of company and industry, automation holds the key to get the best value out of your Kubernetes spend.

Not only the automation of deployment tasks, but the entire and continuous optimization of every stage of the chain. Automation that can be ramped up or down depending on needs, expertise and scale.  

Automation is one of the most important tactics to employ on the cloud in 2020: from monitoring and right-sizing resource configurations for containerized workloads, whether using Kubernetes or another service, to automatically optimizing allocation and purchase of cloud resources, automation plays a critical role.

A breakdown of cost-saving opportunities for cloud professionals:

There are a number of technologies that cloud professionals can utilize to manage costs of their container and Kubernetes deployment.

A key area where cost can be minimized is the management and optimization of the scaling and sizing needed to support containerized workloads. This is especially true on stacks such as Amazon ECS, as well as on Kubernetes offerings such as GKE, Kops, EKS, and AKS.

In terms of taking advantage of the cost benefits of using reserved instances, software that helps optimize long-term commitment purchases of cloud resources can provide significant value. These can be optimized in a way that does not require a human being for monitoring and management. Critically, such software can forecast and automate the buying and selling of reserved instances. This can take place directly from cloud providers as well as via marketplaces.

Related technology enables cloud professionals to take full advantage of spot instances with the ability to predict spot instance behaviour, capacity trends, pricing, and interruption rates. Automation and analytics offerings allow companies to secure the best price for cloud resources, across multiple workloads and services. The ability to predict in advance -- and avoid -- sudden interruptions of spot instances is essential for companies running mission-critical workloads.  

Another key way to get best value is by using Machine Learning and advanced analytics that continuously adapt to changing resource needs, automatically.

Kubernetes - the investment made better with optimisation:

While it’s true that there will continue to be future innovation and development with Kubernetes itself, the next phase of innovation in the ecosystem will come from solutions that rationalize the costs of applications and infrastructure that are part of its deployment.

To ensure that your Kubernetes spend is as efficient as possible, you need to look at leveraging automation that can help you optimize your costs, availability and capacity. Whether you are running web services, container workloads, big data, or stateful applications, you will need to take the first step towards taking control of, and optimizing, cloud infrastructure and usage. This will help you see what you’re doing in the cloud and make the best use of your investment.  

Kubernetes and Israel

As the Startup Nation, Israel has always had to work smarter to compete on a global scale. Kubernetes has become a key technology helping startups in Israel do just that--not only helping them build their own infrastructure faster and better, but also becoming the foundation for a new generation of innovative products and technologies that help other companies leverage Kubernetes to transform their application infrastructures. Solutions built on Kubernetes are leveling the playing field for companies, and countries, supporting their efforts to stand out from the crowd.

Written by Kevin McGrath,  Senior Director of Technology and CTO, Spot by NetApp