Kubernetes is a powerful infrastructure platform for developers. Its self-service nature allows developers to take control of releasing software to production without the direct involvement of Ops teams.
This helps development teams increase their velocity, enabling them to release more often and more quickly, with more control over the infrastructure than ever to optimize cost, performance, and resilience.
The downside is increased complexity. With all of its advantages when it’s up and running, Kubernetes is notoriously hard to deploy and manage. Its open, pluggable architecture is complicated and can be overwhelming for newbies.
This creates high barriers to entry for Ops teams wanting to design and implement production-grade clusters that provide high resilience and good performance at a reasonable cost.
Even after the initial learning curve is conquered, new challenges await. Kubernetes clusters tend to have a shorter lifespan than virtual infrastructure clusters, and are often built for a very specific function, such as a single application. This is especially true in environments with short-term compute needs, like cloud computing, in which clusters are constantly spun down, recycled, and replaced by new clusters.
This poses major challenges in the way Ops teams work, requiring new operational processes. It also requires new technical skills, which exhaust team resources that could have been better spent on other, more business-focused initiatives.
Indeed, chances are that Ops teams are already stretched thin, and putting in the time to master the day-to-day chores of managing a cluster’s lifecycle is simply another added burden—Ops is already busy maintaining existing infrastructure, from WAN and LAN networking, to virtual compute infrastructure, client management systems, and much more.
The best solution to this growing problem is Kubernetes as a service. The value proposition is clear: The enterprise receives all the benefits, without the downsides of burdening staff with more work (and, likely, adding new staff), training existing staff on yet another complex platform, and so on.
With SaaS, you’re essentially hiring the best consultants to assist with the architecture design, configuration, and operational processes to optimize your Kubernetes environments for availability, resilience, security, and cost. But you don’t pay the high price of a specialized consultant.
Instead, the SaaS provider creates the automated workflows and the back-end automation that allow hands-off initial deployment, upgrades, monitoring, alerting and more. Since it’s all done with software instead of labor-intensive manual processes, it scales quickly and elegantly.
Once the choice of going with a SaaS provider is made, the next step is to pick the right one. Cloud-agnostic, managed Kubernetes services, like the Platform9 SaaS Managed Kubernetes service (PMK), are strong options because they’re indifferent to the location of your Kubernetes cluster: on-premises, in a private or hosted cloud, across any of the public clouds, or in a combination of all of these.
This is crucial, since workloads are moving increasingly to the network edge. This dynamic creates hundreds or even thousands of new locations. In this scenario, operational overhead ramps up massively, leading to huge management nightmares.
But SaaS provides central management of those widely distributed clusters with the simplicity of a single pane of glass console. That means formerly labor-intensive operations like software updates are as easy as the click of a button.
PMK offers quick onboarding to Kubernetes for developers, allowing them to use the service without any re-training, and includes many of the moving parts that usually accompany Kubernetes for monitoring, logging, networking, and storage.
Taking Care of Business
Managed Kubernetes services are invaluable in other ways, too. Not only do they remove the operational complexity of designing, implementing, and operating Kubernetes, they allow organizations to focus their staff’s time on things that directly impact their bottom line.
Instead of ITOps staff focusing on daily IT operations, they’ll have time to spend on business projects, which increasingly have an IT or tech component.
Thus, a managed Kubernetes platform has two key advantages. First, your organization will have a proper Kubernetes infrastructure, which is a driver for many digital transformation, digitization, and e-commerce projects. It allows organizations to quickly develop, release, and iteratively improve customer-facing applications.
Second, freeing up IT staff from their day-to-day task will accelerate those projects by adding invaluable tech skills and experience into the mix, without having to risk being pulled back into yet another operational fire that needs their immediate and undivided attention.
Many companies underestimate this latter aspect of using a managed Kubernetes service. Freeing up technical staff that know the organization’s technology stack and all of its subtleties, technical debt, and quirks can have a massive impact on the quality of the software delivered as part of those innovative projects.
The Bottom Line: Better Results
In addition, using a managed Kubernetes service allows organizations to hit the ground running. Instead of slowing down a transformation project to hire the right staff, design, install, and configure a Kubernetes environment, a managed Kubernetes service helps speed up projects by decreasing lead time for the technical aspects of building a Kubernetes environment.
This newly unencumbered IT staff can be the difference between a successful digital transformation and a failed one. IT staff have a crucial role in non-functional aspects.
While functional characteristics define specific behavior and functionality, non-functional aspects define qualitative aspects of a system, including stability, availability, resilience, security, performance, manageability, upgradeability, cost, and more. With IT staff safeguarding those attributes, these projects will deliver a better end result, and more quickly.
Download the full tech brief, SaaS Managed Kubernetes: the Effective DIY Alternative, today.
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