One of the assumptions made about key drivers Kubernetes adoption is that organizations are trying to accelerate the rate at which software is built by embracing microservices based on containers. However, a survey of 130 attendees of three recent container conferences published by Replex, a provider of governance and cost management tools for Kubernetes, finds the top two drivers of Kubernetes adoption are improving scalability (61%) and resource utilization (46%), followed by a desire to adopt a cloud-native stack (37%) and shortening development and deployment times (42%).
Only 24% identified avoiding lock-in as a reason for adopting Kubernetes, which suggests portability is not yet a major factor in driving Kubernetes adoption.
The surveys were conducted at the KubeCon Europe conference in Barcelona; a VelocityConf even in San Jose, California; and ContainerDays Hamburg in the second quarter of 2019. The survey finds 65% of respondents indicated that they are using Kubernetes in production. Nearly 40% of respondents not yet in production indicated they are planning on going to production within a year, the survey finds.
However, the survey also finds that 60% of respondents have deployed less than a quarter of their total workloads using Kubernetes. This number is even higher among organizations with larger developer teams. Three-quarters (75%) of organizations with upwards of 100 developers have deployed less than a quarter of workloads using Kubernetes, with 50% using Kubernetes for less than 10% of workloads, the survey finds.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the clear leader for hosting Kubernetes clusters, according to the survey results. AWS EC2 and EKS together account for 66% of all Kubernetes deployments among respondents. Google (VMs and GKS) accounts for 24% and Azure (VMs and AKS) account for 20%. Red Hat OpenShift and on-premises IT environments followed at 15% and 9%, respectively.
The survey also notes that 74% of respondents have provisioned more than 10 Kubernetes clusters. Replex CEO Patrick Kirchhoff notes that because support for multi-tenancy within Kubernetes clusters is still limited, most Kubernetes usage is not yet especially efficient from an IT infrastructure perspective.
In terms of tools being employed to manage Kubernetes, the survey ranks Prometheus (74%) and the Kubernetes dashboard (37%) as the two main tools for insights into cluster performance. Only 20% rely on cloud provider dashboards. Despite these tools being available, monitoring and logging (37%) and cluster performance (29%) are identified as significant Kubernetes challenges for many survey respondents.
The survey also identifies a lack of internal expertise (40%), complexity (43%), and culture (36%) as the main challenges organizations that have adopted Kubernetes needed to overcome. Survey respondents that have not deployed Kubernetes in a production environment ranked cultural changes (40%), lack of internal expertise (29%), planning and deployment (24%), complexity (18%) and internal drivers (13%) as their primary reasons.
Naturally, it may be a while before organizations fully master what may be the most complex IT platform to ever come down the proverbial pike. All the knobs and levers that are made available to IT teams can be nothing if not intimidating. Over time, however, as Kubernetes becomes more accessible to the average IT administrator—thanks, hopefully, to advances in automation—many of the issues identified in this survey will fade away.