March 18, 2018

There may be no shortage of managed service providers (MSPs) willing to curate a Kubernetes distribution on behalf of a customer, but not all of them are willing to give customers the same level of control. Kublr has added a self-service capability that enables DevOps teams to download a production-ready instance of Kubernetes whenever and wherever they want.

Kublr CEO Slava Koltovich says version 1.8 of the Kublr distribution of Kubernetes is wrapped around a control plane that the MSP is now exposing via a self-service portal. That capability reduces the need for an internal IT operations team to develop expertise around setting up Kubernetes clusters, says Kolovich.

Arguably, one of the biggest issues holding back more adoption of Kubernetes is that lack of expertise. Many organizations wind up deploying containers on top of virtual machines for no reason other than they don’t have the skills required to set up a Kubernetes cluster. By relying on a MSP to deliver an enterprise-class instance, an IT organization can focus more of its internal resources on building applications, says Koltovich.

The instances provided by Kublr comes with built-in security, backup and recovery capabilities and integration with Microsoft Active Directory. Via the self-service portal, IT organizations also can keep track of performance of the applications they have distributed on Kubernetes clusters.

Arguably, Linux didn’t find mainstream adoption in the enterprise until vendors such as Red Hat started providing tools and commercial support. Kolovich says the same requirements are being applied to enterprise IT organizations that don’t want to consume raw open source code directly from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Competition between MSPs focusing on distributions of Kubernetes is already fierce. Developers have embraced it and containers wholeheartedly. But IT operations teams have been slow to make a transition to what amounts to a new platform. Many IT operations staff have invested years in developing expertise on virtual machine platforms. While it’s possible to deploy Kubernetes on a virtual machine, many organizations will want to deploy it on bare-metal servers to increase the number of containers that can be deployed per server.

It’s not clear who inside an organization is taking responsibility for deploying Kubernetes. In some cases, developers are bypassing IT operations directly because they have the skills to deploy it on their own with the help of an organization that makes curated instances of Kubernetes easily downloadable. In other cases, IT operations maintains strict control over all infrastructure. But even in those cases, MSPs such as Kublr say internal IT operations teams will be looking for external expertise mainly because of a lack of skills and comfort with a new platform.

One way or another, Kubernetes is coming to the enterprise. The issue that needs to be resolved is how. Internal IT organizations can wait for developers to force the issue or they can be proactive. If history is any guide, an increase in demand for Kubernetes expertise will create a path to higher salaries for IT operations people capable of managing container clusters. The only unknown is just how many clusters can be managed per IT administrator.

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.