September 23, 2017

As IT organizations embrace cloud-native applications based on microservices, many of them are starting to question the degree to which they want to manage IT infrastructure versus devoting more resources to building and deploying applications. To help facilitate that transition, StackPointCloud announced this week at the Open Source Summit North America conference it is making available a managed service based on its Stackpoint.io implementation of the Kubernetes container orchestration engine.

StackPointCloud CEO Matt Baldwin says Stackpoint.io is committed to making Kubernetes as simple to deploy for the average enterprise IT organization as possible. To achieve that goal, Stackpoint.io features an Itso framework for deploying and managing multiple classes of application workloads on top of Kubernetes. A managed instance of Itso can be deployed on public cloud services from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Platform (GCP) and Digital Ocean.

Baldwin says more than 6,000 Kubernetes clusters have been built using Stackpoint.io, which includes tools such as Elasticsearch Fluentd Kibana (EFK), Prometheus and Sysdig, in addition to network policy management software based on Calico and container runtime security software developed by Twistlock. Those tools enable Kubernetes rolling upgrades to be accomplished via a single click, Baldwin notes. StackPointCloud also eliminates the need for an IT organization to learn separate monitoring tools and security software.

Even as contributors to the open-source Kubernetes project continue to improve the management features of the container orchestration engine, StackPointCloud is committed to staying a few steps ahead in terms of making Kubernetes as simple as possible to deploy, Baldwin says.

StackPointCloud is the latest vendor among several to now offer a managed service on top of Kubernetes. While the rise of microservices based on containers has been a boon to application developments, they also represent a significant DevOps management challenge that requires IT organizations to rethink how IT resources are allocated. Instead of devoting IT staff to managing infrastructure, many organizations are looking to reallocate staff to manage applications—especially given the current general shortage of IT personnel that have the skills required to manage Kubernetes.

The challenge then becomes figuring out how to synchronize DevOps process around a set of managed services provided by a third party that has defined its own set of cadences around upgrades to the underlying platform.

Cultural change on that level of scale tends to come slowly to enterprise IT organizations. Many internal IT organizations historically have viewed MSPs as an existential threat to their existence. But at this juncture, increased reliance on managed services may be a more a matter of when rather than if. The challenge and opportunity for internal IT teams is how to go about retraining IT professionals that have spent years managing IT infrastructure to focus more of their time and energy higher up the application stack. Not every one of those IT professionals will be able to make that transition. But given the overall skills shortage, it’s in the vested interested of the IT organization to do everything possible to enable IT professionals to acquire new skills whenever possible.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.