Why Choosing the Right Kubernetes Partner is Critically Important

Enterprises are quickly adopting Kubernetes. In my role as field CTO here at Platform9 Systems, I speak to many of our prospects and current customers, and in every case, they are adopting Kubernetes at some level. And they’re looking at tools that can help them with their Kubernetes efforts. Note that I said “tools.” I call this out because these enterprises are evaluating service providers like AWS, Google, Azure, and others which are only that: tools.  They provide a Kubernetes service as a set of tools, and these are excellent for what they do. The question I have is, what happens when worker nodes go offline?

Can you call AWS and get on a zoom session and debug your AWS EKS Kubernetes cluster? Without a separate, expensive enterprise support contract, the answer is no.

Default AWS support is email-based and, if a timely or urgent response is required, you are out of luck. That leaves troubleshooting completely up to the end-user. When something goes wrong and revenue-generating applications running in Kubernetes clusters are down, you’re on your own.

Difference between having a Kubernetes partner versus using Kubernetes tool

I believe that enterprise customers are looking for a Kubernetes partner rather than a Kubernetes tool. Yes, they want a great tool with all the features, bells, and whistles but they also want a company to support and manage their cluster alongside their technical staff. When inevitable problems and outages occur, they want to connect with a familiar face who knows their environment and who can help them quickly get things fixed.

Platform9 customers consistently tell me that one of the reasons they chose Platform9 is because they felt it was a partnership. They want a managed service with a superior tool that creates and manages Kubernetes clusters. And when the dreaded production outage happens, they want a person, a voice, a team to help them get unstuck.

Challenges of DIY with Kubernetes

Most of our customers have tried the DIY (Do It Yourself) approach. They made great strides and learned quite a bit in the effort. But as they went down the path, they quickly found that their enterprise team needed to learn Kubernetes from the bottom up. In addition, they found that Kubernetes isn’t one tool but an ecosystem of tools that all work together. Their DIY project starts with Kubernetes but soon includes other tools like Prometheus, Grafana, Alert Manager, Fluentbit, Elastic, Kibana, Istio, Traefik, CNI (Calico, Flannel, Multus, SR-IOV DPDK), CSI (NFS, Rook-Ceph, Portworx), and on and on. Kubernetes is just the tip of the iceberg. When things break, management realizes that they need to staff up the Kubernetes (and ecosystem tools) technical staff. Then they discover that Kubernetes talent is very hard to find and very expensive. 

This is usually when the enterprise starts looking for a Kubernetes managed-service provider. This often starts with tools like EKS and AKS which they mistakenly believe are managed services. They think one of these will make their lives easier, but soon realize that they still have the same problems. Then they start looking for a real managed-service provider. A provider who can guarantee an SLA, a team of experts, be easy to work with, and who feels like an extension to their own team, a partner. 

One of my customers told me that without Platform9, they would need to hire four engineers to help maintain their environment and that this would not only incur people costs but also lost-opportunity costs. They described this situation as having engineers who like to troubleshoot Kubernetes and often “get caught up in running Kubernetes” rather than developing revenue-generating applications.  That is the opportunity cost lost.

I repeatedly see enterprises go down the DIY path, gain experience and knowledge, and then finally understand that what they really need is a managed service. I work for Platform9 Systems and for them, I’m proud to plug Platform9 Managed Kubernetes (PMK). It’s a proven managed service backed by over 150 years of combined experience and expertise. All Platform9 engineers are Certified Kubernetes Administrators (CKA) who understand, in detail, our customer’s environments (including the idiosyncrasies in their environment) and their Kubernetes deployments.   Platform9 ensures performance with a financially backed, 99.95% uptime SLA.

When looking for a Managed Kubernetes Service take the time to review all options available, including Platform9 Systems.  Getting this decision wrong can be very costly to your enterprise.  Understanding your business needs around Kubernetes and having a successful launch is critical to your business. 

Get our white paper: “Doing It Yourself with Kubernetes — Harder than You Thought?”

We wrote an eBook that tells a very short story of what may have been your Kubernetes journey (so far) and its challenges.

The eBook story includes:

  • Hello, Kubernetes! Getting started …
  • Waking up to a brand-new ecosystem of apps and skills
  • Hiring and retaining k8s Ops talent
  • Quickly transition from DIY to getting-it-done
    … and much more

Download the eBook here: https://platform9.com/resource/diy-kubernetes-harder-than-you-thought/

Peter Fray

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