3 reasons to use an enterprise Kubernetes platform

Why choose an enterprise Kubernetes platform? Think portability, time savings, and security and stability as you scale containers and move them among cloud services
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Kubernetes facts

Today’s enterprises are moving to the cloud model to gain increased efficacy, flexibility, and agility, while simplifying and reducing the complexity and cost of their infrastructure. (And given the pandemic, agility has never been more important.) This move to the cloud has accelerated the adoption of automation across the enterprise, and companies are adopting related technologies including containers, often in concert with the  DevOps and agile ways of working.

Why are containers helpful at this moment in time? A container is an executable unit of software in which application code is packaged – together with libraries and dependencies – in common ways so that it can be run anywhere, from a laptop to the cloud.

But enterprises today typically have hundreds or thousands of containers – and operations teams need to schedule and automate container deployment, networking, scalability, and availability. And so, the need for container orchestration becomes a requisite in any competitive and scalable IT infrastructure. This is where Kubernetes proves its value to an enterprise IT organization.

[ How can automation free up more staff time for innovation? Get the free eBook: Managing IT with Automation. ] 

Why choose an enterprise Kubernetes Platform

Kubernetes automates deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications within the enterprise. Kubernetes has quickly become the fastest growing, most widely adopted containerization platform in the history of open source software. CIOs, CTOs, and developers choose Kubernetes for its breadth of functionality, its vast and growing ecosystem of open source supporting tools, and its support and portability across multiple cloud services and cloud providers. Why choose an enterprise Kubernetes platform, as opposed to assembling open source Kubernetes tools yourself?

Let’s examine three key considerations for IT leaders:

1. Portability

A hybrid cloud computing approach allows enterprises to combine the advantages of public and private cloud computing models, matching workloads to the best choice for the job and moving them between the two as needed. This allows for flexible growth and expansion of capacity and capabilities without the old-world investments in time, energy, and expense. But key to that flexibility is the ability to move workloads when the enterprise wants, without a big lift for the IT organization.

As cloud service providers have evolved from just deploying CPU compute, memory, and storage to offering additional value-added services including containerization, artificial intelligence, and machine learning platforms, enterprises may encounter proprietary connections and API calls that are unique to the particular cloud platform. This creates portability and lock-in concerns.

What an Enterprise Kubernetes Platform brings:

Kubernetes is ultimately a cluster of containers that are made up of a plethora of virtual machines. The ultimate idea of Kubernetes is to abstract machines, storage, and networks away from their physical implementation and create an agnostic environment which is portable from one cloud to another. Ultimately, a comprehensive Kubernetes platform implementation lets you manage an amalgam of IT services while giving you as much flexibility and agility as possible, throughout the container lifecycle and application lifecycle. Enterprises need to decipher and select the platform that meets business objectives and mitigates concerns around platform and vendor lock-in.

[ Read also: OpenShift and Kubernetes: What’s the difference? ]

2. Time savings / Time to value

Containerization saves IT teams time, through its ability to bundle software code and all its relevant libraries and dependencies into a unified package to deliver a consistent environment, regardless of whether the code is in development or deployed in production. That’s one reason containerization has gained significant traction in software development and deployment as an alternative to traditional virtualization. Containers only include what is needed to run the software code, and as a result, lower the resulting overhead and optimize the platform efficiencies.

But a standard enterprise workload typically consists of a multitude of containers which can quickly become complex and cumbersome, time-consuming to manage, and prone to errors.

What an Enterprise Kubernetes Platform brings:

The need for management and orchestration of these containerized environments has now become vital. A Kubernetes platform lets an enterprise take advantage of numerous cloud providers and grow as rapidly as you may need, without having to re-architect your infrastructure. This saves the need for significant deployment cycles and drastically improves your ability to provide new services as quickly as possible.

[ Want a shareable primer on orchestration? Get the PDF: How to explain orchestration in plain English. ]

3. Stability/Security

Kubernetes’ benefits include a much more stable and secure environment, with a reduction in code errors and bugs. What do we mean by this?

The traditional mode of software deployment usually involves deploying multiple applications on a single instance of an operating system (OS). This is common for both Virtual Machine and Bare Metal deployments in the datacenter.

When the OS is updated/patched for security and stability reasons, the software libraries are also updated or upgraded at the same time. This can cause stability issues for multiple applications: The updated libraries, which multiple applications on the machine rely on, may not be compatible with all the applications running on the server, and an update/upgrade may cause critical applications to fail to start, or crash unexpectedly.

Due to this risk of downtime with application workloads, IT departments have to constantly trade security of the OS for the stability of applications, or vice versa.

Containerized applications have all their dependencies bundled together, and this means that they are abstracted from the underlying OS. This enables the OS to be patched/upgraded with increased confidence that there will be minimal impact to the containerized application, resulting in faster patching for the OS.

Similarly, libraries and software within the container applications can be updated/upgraded with greater confidence for the same reasons. This allows for rapid deployment of bug fixes, security patches, and even new features within the applications.

What an Enterprise Kubernetes Platform brings:

When everything is considered holistically, the benefits listed above can be more quickly realized with Kubernetes for its ability to orchestrate different versions of containers (think patched vs unpatched container versions) and to quickly move containers between hosts. Red Hat’s OpenShift platform uses Kubernetes as the underlying code and is rigorously tested, hardened, and enhanced to ensure stability and consistency across cloud environments.

Benefits for your hybrid cloud environment

An enterprise should first determine if the benefits of Kubernetes justify the work effort to select, deploy and go live. If you’re making the leap to Kubernetes, an enterprise Kubernetes platform helps you achieve consistency, agility, and stability/security in your adoption of containers and cloud services within your organization. The ability to seamlessly move from one cloud to another allows you to be nimble in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment.

Think of an enterprise Kubernetes platform as the operating system for your hybrid cloud environment. Regardless of your cloud provider, an enterprise Kubernetes platform will allow you to manage, run, and enhance your applications in the most efficient manner without compromise to the stability and security of your IT ecosystem.

As a result, your internal and external customers are the true beneficiaries, as they can now consume your applications and services with extreme speed and voracity.

[ Read also: 5 open source projects that make Kubernetes even better. Get the eBook O’Reilly: Kubernetes Operators: Automating the Container Orchestration Platform. ]

Ernest Jones is the Vice President, North America Sales, Partners & Alliances for Red Hat. He is responsible for selling, delivering, and successfully deploying solutions to Red Hat’s clients across North America with a team of talented and dedicated Red Hatters, Partners, ISVs, SIs, Value Added-Resellers, Distributors and Strategic Alliances.
Eugene Tay serves as Director, North America Partners, Alliances and Mid-market Solutions Architecture, Red Hat. Eugene relies on over 20 years of Open Source and IT experience to lead a team of Solutions Architects responsible for growing and developing a technically capable and competent partner ecosystem delivering enhanced selling capacity to drive increased pipeline and revenue.