Last week, I joined many of my team members at Platform9, and 1000s in the Kubernetes community at KubeCon 2017 in Austin, TX. My takeaway: enterprise Kubernetes momentum is incredible, but several challenges remain and we have a lot of important work to do.
Over 200 respondents participated in our survey on the state of Kubernetes in the enterprise. Let’s dig into some of the key insights from the survey. If you have questions about the data or methodology, feel free to leave a comment below.
Persona: Who Operates An Enterprise Kubernetes Deployment?
Kubernetes is truly bridging the world of application operations and application development. A total of 55% of the respondents were responsible for application operations; while 61% of the respondents identified with application design and development. The fact that nearly half of these groups identified themselves as having both responsibilities suggests that we are truly blurring the lines between development and operations.
Enterprise Kubernetes Use Cases: Web-services, VM replacement and FaaS
Unsurprisingly, running web applications was the most popular use case, with nearly 76.1% of respondents identifying with it (including those who said they have all use cases). Not far behind was the use of containers as a more efficient alternative to virtual machines, with a total of nearly 69% of the vote.
Surprisingly, functions-as-a-service, which is a vibrant but emergent area within the Kubernetes ecosystem, was next with nearly 48.7% of respondents expressing interest in it.
FaaS Interest By Day of Show
Here’s a little nugget we found very interesting. There were some really good FaaS talks at the show, including that on fission.io by Platform9’s own Soam Vasani. Possibly owing to the exposure from talks at the show, or because people who were stopping by the Platform9 booth had heard about Fission, interest in FaaS grew every day of the show, going from 24.2% on day 1 to 35.4% on day 2 to 48.2% on day 3!
While I recognize this could be due to selection bias or sample size (a total of ~400 use case inputs were received over 3 days), there was a ton of interest in Fission and FaaS at the show so this is likely not just a coincidence.
Platforms Managed By Enterprise Kubernetes
The most popular infrastructure for enterprise Kubernetes deployments was on-premises infrastructure running either on Linux (majority), VMware or OpenStack (aka KVM); in that order. A total of 56% of respondents expressed interest in deploying Kubernetes on-premises within the enterprise.
Interest in the public cloud was not far behind, with AWS leading with nearly 54% interest. Google Cloud was next with 31% with Azure interest at 28%.
Of those interested in deploying Kubernetes on-premises, 21.6% expressed interest in running Kubernetes atop VMware, but the vast majority of those also expressed interest in running on Linux, suggesting that they may be in the process of transitioning from VMware to Linux. Only 6.3% of respondents expressed interest in VMware without also expressing interest in Linux.
Container Orchestration Platforms
Just 18 months ago, at DockerCon’ 16 in Seattle, our survey of nearly 300 respondents suggested docker swarm had the greatest interest amongst attendees with Kubernetes and Mesos a distant 2nd and 3rd.
Given that this is KubeCon, you’d expect to the audience identify more strongly with Kubernetes, but even so, were surprised by the numbers: 69% of those surveyed said they were actively using Kubernetes, as opposed to just 24% of those using docker swarm and 15.8% using Mesos. The battle for container orchestration is over: the enterprise has chosen Kubernetes.
Top 3 Concerns With Kubernetes
We surveyed attendees for their concerns with cloud native technologies, but given the stats above indicating the majority of the audience has chosen Kubernetes as their platform for cloud native, this is a reflection of the user community’s concerns with Kubernetes.
The top 3 concerns were:
- Managing multi-cloud or hybrid environments with Kubernetes (shameless plug: these folks should totally check out the Platform9 sandbox to see how easy this can be!)
- Running stateful or data-intensive workloads. While Kubernetes is gaining capabilities in this regard, users are concerned about the complexity of being able to run such workloads easily
- The complexity of operating Kubernetes in production in the enterprise (another shameless plug: Platform9 makes this super easy as well with our pioneering SaaS delivery model that takes care of most of the operational plumbing people struggle with)
It was exhilarating to see the growth and momentum in the community (KubeCon grew 400% yoy from Seattle to Austin), innovation across a wide range of contributions and new projects, and accelerated interest in the enterprise. In the past year, Kubernetes has emerged as the de-facto enterprise platform for container management. As we go into the holidays, it is exciting to think about opportunities to further enable the enterprise in 2018 based on the responses shared above.
What did you find remarkable about the survey responses and/or the insights I’ve presented based on these? I’d love to hear your thoughts – please leave a comment below or on social media.