Kubernetes aficionados came out in force for KubeCon 2019, which was held right before Thanksgiving in San Diego. More than 12,000 people attended the event, and Platform9 surveyed almost 1,500 people on how they use Kubernetes.
Kamesh Pemmaraju, head of product marketing a Platform9, explained the survey’s findings in a blog post and highlighted the wide adoption of Kubernetes, an open-source container operating system. More than 400 people reported that their company planned to run at least 50 clusters in production in the next six months.
Pemmaraju added that the number of clusters and nodes being used were increasing, with some respondents telling Platform9 that their company was running hundreds of nodes in only one or two clusters. The survey also highlighted the fact that many companies are running Kubernetes on both on-premises and public cloud infrastructure.
Due to the massive expansion of Kubernetes’ use cases, more companies than ever are on the hunt for talent in the field. Many companies, like Capital One and Walmart, used the conference to advertise their goals and meet with experts. The report noted that number of Kubernetes jobs on Indeed.com rose to 12,500, with more than 3,000 jobs added in the last six months.
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“It’s astonishing to see the massive scale of Kubernetes’ deployments. The companies at KubeCon that are spearheading these large-scale Kubernetes’ deployments are positioning themselves to rapidly deliver superior customer experiences giving them a distinct competitive edge in a fast-moving digital economy,” Pemmaraju wrote.
“Not only are they using it in their core data centers and the public cloud, but they are also deploying a staggering number of Edge Computing use cases from vertical industries ranging from retail and manufacturing to automotive and 5G rollouts,” he added.
A growing number of companies are using Kubernetes for edge computing, with 145 respondents reporting that they had an edge deployment using Kubernetes and another 38% are running Kubernetes more than 100 locations. Nearly half of those using using Kubernetes for edge computing said they at least 11 servers in every location.
According to Pemmaraju, the most common applications being deployed at the edge involved edge gateways/access control, surveillance and video analytics, 5G and retail point-of-sale or store tools.
“It’s quite a challenge to scale dozens or hundreds of pseudo-data centers that need to be managed with low or no touch, usually with no staff and little access,” Pemmaraju said.
“These scenarios included edge locations owned by the company (e.g. retail stores), and in the case of on-premises software companies, their end customers’ data centers. Given the large scale, traditional data center management processes won’t apply,” he added.
The increase in adoption did come with some downsides, as many survey respondents reported having struggles with security and upgrades.
“Running at a massive scale presents unique challenges. It’s pretty easy to deploy one or two Kubernetes’ clusters for proof of concepts or development/testing. Managing it reliably at scale in production is quite another matter, especially when you have dozens of clusters and hundreds of nodes,” Pemmaraju wrote.
“Kubernetes’ complexity and abstraction is necessary and it is there for good reasons, but it also makes it hard to troubleshoot when things don’t work as expected. No wonder then that 48.86% of the survey respondents indicated that monitoring at scale is their biggest challenge, followed by upgrades (44.3%) and security patching (34.09%),” he added.
The report says DevOps, PlatformOps and ITOps teams should turn to tools like Prometheus, fluentd, Istio to address issues around logging, metrics, observability and service mesh. But the field is constantly evolving so it is incumbent upon teams to stay abreast of any and all updates or changes.