At the Collision 2019 conference, Capital One announced it is making Critical Stack, an instance of the Kubernetes cluster it relies on to drive deployment of its own modern cloud-native applications, available to external developers.
Liam Randall, president of Critical Stack at Capital One, says the financial services firm has been building cloud-native applications on it own hardened instance of Kubernetes since 2014. Now it is making Critical Stack available to third-party developers to build applications. Capital One also intends to make an enterprise edition of Critical Stack available in the future, which other companies can opt to deploy in their own IT environments, says Randall.
Randall says Capital One, which is one of the largest financial services firms in the world, determined early on to curate its own instance of Kubernetes to ensure a level of security for microservices-based applications that would pass muster in a production environment such as its. The company has been focused on adding security controls, highavailability capabilities and advanced network services to the instance of Kubernetes it is curated, he says, adding Critical Stack will also be the foundation on which Capital One going forward will deploy everything from real-time analytics to artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile computing applications.
The goal is to create a declarative IT environment based on Kubernetes that the average IT administrator can master, Randall notes. Today Kubernetes requires IT teams to have a significant amount of programming expertise to master, but as Critical Stack continues to evolve, Capital One is committed to lowering the bar in terms of the IT expertise required to deploy and manage Kubernetes, he says. As that goal is achieved, resistance to adopting Kubernetes should correspondingly fall.
IT platforms such as Kubernetes should be roughly equivalent to an electrical outlet for delivering IT services, Randall says. In fact, rather than trying to meld traditional developer and IT operations functions, the real goal may to be allow both disciplines to accomplish their respective tasks adroitly without having to get in each other’s way. Today, however, Kubernetes is still viewed as a powerful platform built for engineers by engineers. Yet, IT engineers tend to be difficult for enterprise IT organizations to find and retain.
Of course, given the current maturity of Kubernetes, it may be difficult for many IT organizations to imagine that possibility. Interest in Kubernetes is high in terms of the number of organizations that have stood up a Kubernetes cluster, but the percentage of workloads running on Kubernetes clusters in the enterprise remains slight. However, the rate at which Kubernetes is being hardened for deployment in enterprise IT environment is significantly faster than other open source projects as IT vendors and internal IT teams such as Capital One alike continue to invest in Kubernetes research and development. In fact, the issue now is not so much whether Kubernetes clusters will be deployed in the enterprise, but rather to what degree.