Lesser-Known Benefits of Hybrid Cloud and Kubernetes

Hybrid clouds are now a way of life for enterprises. Containers—more specifically, Kubernetes—are becoming a more popular way of developing cloud-native applications for modern IT environments. But, not all enterprises are 100% behind the technology, in part because of what they may not know about Kubernetes and its relationship to hybrid clouds. Understanding some of these lesser-known benefits of Kubernetes and hybrid clouds will help organizations maximize their infrastructure choices.

Benefit #1: Kubernetes and a hybrid-cloud strategy can help organizations comply with global data privacy regulations

GDPR regulates, among other things, data transfer to and from countries in the EU. The Schrems II decision struck down the US-EU Privacy Shield agreement, leaving a complicated international data transfer landscape. Hybrid clouds enable organizations to construct their infrastructures in a way that limits data privacy risks. For example, companies can store sensitive data on-premises, and move less sensitive information to cloud instances. Or, they can set up clouds in specific countries to limit international data transfers.

Of course, moving data and applications between different types of clouds and providers’ offerings can be challenging. That’s where technology like Kubernetes comes into play. Kubernetes was built to handle a diverse array of workloads and application types. It was designed to help companies port applications across different infrastructures. Kubernetes, in conjunction with a hybrid cloud infrastructure, can be vital tools for solving the global data-transfer regulation puzzle.

Benefit #2: Using hybrid cloud and Kubernetes doesn’t mean companies should take a cobbled-together approach

When considering hybrid clouds, many leaders think that means they can pick and choose which pieces of a cloud provider’s offering they use. It’s certainly possible to build a Frankenstein’s monster, but that’s not the idea behind a hybrid cloud. The idea is that different types of clouds offer different strengths. It is probably wise to leverage on-premises instances for data that requires more stringent security measures. A hosted cloud, meanwhile, offers a cheaper, more performant avenue for delivering applications and services to end users.

Because of the variety of use cases, many organizations make a similar mistake. They think they can connect an Amazon instance with their on-premises servers and with a private, hosted cloud like they were clicking together Lego. Unfortunately, this approach creates a technological challenge. It’s difficult to deliver performance while using all of these different pieces of cloud. Rather than this perceived “best-of-all-worlds” strategy, leaders should instead understand what each type of cloud does well. Then, they should invest in a single pane of glass for viewing those clouds. This approach allows companies to leverage a hybrid cloud arrangement without introducing the headache of a cobbled-together, piecemeal approach.

Benefit #3: The lack of federation in Kubernetes shouldn’t lead to distrust in the technology

No, there isn’t one Kubernetes offering that is currently winning the distribution war; that shouldn’t lead to distrust of the technology. The distribution is a flavor choice, and it shouldn’t be a limiting factor. More and more distribution providers are Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) certified and are interoperable with existing infrastructure technology out of the box. This means that no matter what Kubernetes distribution a company chooses, it can still build its underlying infrastructure the way it wants to. The diversity of Kubernetes offerings just gives companies more choice. A lack of federation shouldn’t scare people away from the technology, because the important piece of the equation is not the “flavor” of distribution, but what lies underneath it.

In fact, the ability to marry technologies on the same underlying architecture will become increasingly important. Ideally, decision makers purchase Kubernetes distributions that are interoperable out of the box, and instead focus on how their infrastructure is built.

Benefit #4: Hybrid cloud applications can be stateless and stateful, even for enterprises

The assumption used to be that only stateless applications could function in this environment, but stateful apps in hybrid infrastructures are quickly becoming the norm. Organizations are turning to stateful apps on Kubernetes with hybrid cloud infrastructures because of portability and agility, improved storage and production-ready applications.

Because of this, we’re seeing more investment in data stewardship and data flow in hybrid cloud environments. And even though stateful applications in this environment have room for improvement, they still very much work in hybrid clouds. Databases-as-a-Service (DBaaS) in hybrid cloud environments are proliferating, for example. Companies dependent on stateful apps no longer need to shy away from modern, hybrid cloud environments.

Kubernetes and Hybrid Clouds Just Make Sense

Many organizations are still hesitant about using Kubernetes. They’ve adopted a hybrid cloud infrastructure, but may be scared away from Kubernetes by misconceptions they have about the technology. These truths and benefits illustrate there is a strong, mutually beneficial relationship between Kubernetes and hybrid cloud environments. For forward-looking organizations, these benefits offer a glimpse into the future of service delivery and, ultimately, a competitive advantage.

Boris Kurktchiev

Boris Kurktchiev is Field CTO at Diamanti where he collaborates on technology innovation and works closely with other CTOs in order to understand their challenges and guide them on their container journey. He helps Diamanti’s enterprise users adopt Kubernetes and drive their hybrid cloud transformations, grow to multi-cluster deployments, and manage complex stateful applications.

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