Platform9 today launched a managed Kubernetes service, dubbed the Freedom plan, that provides free access to Kubernetes clusters of up to 20 nodes spanning a maximum of 800 virtual CPUs running on three clusters.
In addition, Platform9 is adding a separate Growth plan that provides access to 50 nodes spanning a maximum of 2,000 virtual CPUs for IT teams that need to scale a Kubernetes environment quickly. Priced less than $500 per month with a minimum of three nodes, the Growth plan comes with 24×7 support and a 99.9% service level agreement (SLA), according to Platform9.
In comparison, the Freedom plan provides access to online support via Slack or Zendesk chat.
Madhura Maskasky, vice president of products, says both plans are being offered as complements to existing plans with an eye toward expanding the appeal of a managed service that can be applied to any distribution of Kubernetes running on-premises or in the cloud. Platform9 can provide that capability because the control plane the company employs to manage Kubernetes is accessed via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, she said.
With more IT teams now being required to work from home to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak, the ability to manage Kubernetes clusters remotely via a SaaS platform has become a lot more relevant, adds Maskasky. To achieve that capability, an IT organization simply needs to install Platform9 agent software in its Kubernetes cluster.
In general, Maskasky says it’s clear more organizations are trying to operationalize Kubernetes at scale. The biggest challenge IT teams face is the shortage of Kubernetes expertise available. As such, it remains to be seen whether 2020 is the year that Kubernetes will cross the proverbial chasm in terms of mainstream adoption, especially as the macroeconomic environment continues to evolve. However, as Kubernetes increasingly becomes a de facto standard for running containerized applications, it’s now more a question of when, not if, Kubernetes will cross that chasm.
Competition among providers of managed Kubernetes services is already fierce. There’s no doubt many more organizations are willing to consider managed Kubernetes, given their own current lack of expertise. Platform9 recently reported it has seen the adoption of its managed Kubernetes services nearly quadruple from 2018 to 2019. The company also claims it saw a gross customer renewal rate of 92.7% in 2019. Much of that growth is being driven by IT organizations that don’t want to be locked into any one distribution of Kubernetes provided by a cloud service or other provider, notes Maskasky.
Less clear is to what degree organizations will prefer to continue to rely on MSP if they ever do choose to develop their own Kubernetes expertise. Managed service providers (MSPs) are betting many more organizations will prefer to devote more of their limited resources to building applications rather than managing infrastructure. Of course, in the age of DevOps, it’s not so uncommon to find IT teams managing both applications and infrastructure in a much more integrated fashion.