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Kubernetes takes centre stage in 2019: Why should CIOs care?

Kubernetes takes centre stage in 2019: Why should CIOs care?

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Joe Baguley, VP & CTO EMEA, VMware, looks at the rise of Kubernetes.

Make no mistake that the businesses that survive and thrive today will be those that continuously experiment. Think Jeff Bezos advocating the need for ‘high-quality, high velocity decisions’ – speed matters in business, and new ideas, new products and new strategies require a nimble and fresh approach.

How to drive innovation at scale is on the minds of CIOs I speak to and, clearly, others in the industry – whether that’s by better ‘adapting to a multi-cloud world’ or ‘leading their organisations through a period of multiplied innovation and disruption.

Today, that’s an approach that simply boils down to getting applications and data into the hands of users as fast as possible. Applications are fundamental to how modern businesses work, compete and evolve. But let’s be honest, when talking about modern app development and delivery we are talking about multiple data centres, traditional and cloud native applications, multiple clouds, all to be managed, all in one complex and interlinked network.

Operation models have to keep up with this rapidly evolving cloud architecture – and without consistency and automation, businesses simply can’t function and will fall behind.

So, how do forward-looking organisations keep up? What should CIOs looking at their cloud-native app strategy be thinking? The answer lies in a technology that is making a rapid shift from the darkest reaches of IT into broader business parlance as it takes a central role in driving and managing application innovation – Kubernetes.

Kubernetes is the new foundation to Digital Transformation success – CIOs need to listen up

But let’s take a step back for a moment. Understanding the capabilities of Kubernetes – a technology for running, automating and managing containers – has to start by understanding the role it can play in helping CIOs evolve the business.

Kubernetes – far more than a technical buzzword – is a crucial part of the modern management story within our changing landscape of app build and delivery. In fact, did you know, Kubernetes is Greek for ‘helmsman’ and the origin of the word governor, so this technology really is the governor of the infrastructure.

Think of Netflix, its meteoric rise to the world’s leading internet entertainment service. This simply wouldn’t be possible with monolithic databases and apps. It is only through microservices that it has succeeded, with growth in container use at Netflix now exceeding three million in April 2018.

The rise of microservices and Kubernetes is fundamentally allowing a more agile way for teams to experiment, fail fast and the same time to find out the right and wrong bits of applications to put in containers.

This is the very heart of innovation in today’s multi-cloud world, and where automating the deployment process for managing containers enables businesses to save money, ensure scalability improve efficiency and free up IT teams from maintenance-based tasks.

In the long term, we believe that Kubernetes can be applied to so much more than just containers.  We predict that many vendors will start to offer the whole Kubernetes stack to customers and help them to apply it to other areas to scale their business.

We’re only just starting to see the impact this technology can have on businesses. Enterprises need to make the most out of their technology, helping them transition from where they are to where they need to be, and future-ready for the next technology frontier.

It’s about knowing how organisations want to consume Kubernetes. Some might want a simple version, others will require a more integrated solution, and some will want Kubernetes as a service that’s managed in the cloud, and so all of these options need to be factored in.

Breaking down the barriers

If Kubernetes is so effective at helping to drive business transformation forward – why are more not jumping at the chance?

The barriers to effective Kubernetes deployment will always be existing processes and siloed teams. The crucial first step is to understand how to bridge the gaps between different teams in your organisation. That might be between developers and operations, or it might be between IT and a commercial function. It’s also about encouraging technical people to talk to, and empathise with, sales and marketing or vice versa. Kubernetes can help deliver these consistent operations, so that IT teams no longer need to be spending time pushing buttons or fighting fires – they are now freed up to build and deploy softer skills for business success.

Beacons of best practice

Kubernetes is already helping many organisations to enrich the developer, or even citizen experience. Abu Dhabi Government, for example, has enhanced its digital solutions to support a unified government services platform. The expected outcome is to streamline and enhance the experience of citizens. ADSSSA, the authority that oversees the development of Abu Dhabi’s government services, is consolidating over 1,600 government services into 80 end- user journeys that cover everything from buying a house to medical insurance. This has all been underpinned by effective advanced container networking and Kubernetes cluster management.

And let’s talk about the online gaming, which is now a bigger industry than Hollywood and the music business combined.  And growing rapidly. Playtika, a leader in the games industry with 22 million monthly active users, has publicly talked about its container journey. Playtika chose VMware PKS as their container platform to create a more agile environment for developers and testers to develop faster.

Finally, the team at T-Mobile have had success by clearly aligning Kubernetes with business objectives – they established clear requirements for Kubernetes and can now track business outcomes to make sure the technology is driving valuable results such as delivering production clusters, which frees up the IT team to focus on coding.

Technology companies like ours have to keep adapting with their customers as they embark on their multi-cloud journey. Moving into open-source, and creating a strong culture of innovation and engineering, is what we believe will help CIOs innovate and allow for further experimentation.

Embracing Kubernetes

Kubernetes is fundamental for innovation in our multi-cloud world, and we are seeing more organisations embrace this technology. Having Kubernetes at the core of your operations, and for the management of multiple containers, is absolutely vital to allow a culture of experimentation to thrive.

This is the year that large organisations embrace Kubernetes, the foundation for management success in our multi-cloud world.

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