How To Build Enterprise Kubernetes Strategy

28 Jan 2021 | Kubernetes, Rancher

Organizations love Kubernetes because it helps significantly increase the agility and efficiency of their software development teams, enabling them to reduce the time and perils associated with putting new software into production. Information technology operations teams love Kubernetes because it helps boost productivity, reduce costs and risks, and moves organizations closer to achieving their hybrid cloud goals.
Simply put, Kubernetes makes it easier to manage software complexity. Containers have dramatically risen in popularity because they provide a consistent way to package application components and their dependencies into a single object that can run in any environment. Additionally, containers make it easier to build workflows for applications that run between on-premises and cloud environments, enabling the smooth operation of almost any hybrid environment.

Where Will You Be Running Kubernetes in Five Years?

At first, Kubernetes is a great way to run modern, microservice-centric applications. To prioritize your goals, try to understand the potential of Kubernetes, and imagine how your company might be using it in five years.
Today, every major cloud provider has made it easy to deploy Kubernetes clusters within minutes. Teams are continuously building new applications, deploying them to different clouds and using Kubernetes to run them. Between clusters used for development, staging and production, and the need to deploy Kubernetes clusters across different data centers and cloud providers, it isn’t hard hard to imagine that even the most well-organized company is still running dozens of Kubernetes clusters.
It is almost certain that your organization will be running more than one Kubernetes cluster. Unless you know you’ll only be running a single application in one location, it probably makes sense for most teams to build their Kubernetes strategy with an expectation that they will need to be able to easily provision and manage multiple Kubernetes clusters running in many different places.

Who Should Own the Kubernetes Strategy?

Two teams we often see leading the container strategy are the shared services team responsible for supporting developers and DevOps and the central IT function responsible for computing platforms.
The shared services team brings key insights on how an organization is modernizing its approach to application development, and the requirements teams have identified what they need in a Kubernetes platform. They often understand other key systems that have been built for DevOps such as CI/CD tools, development environments, data services and application monitoring tools.
The central IT team focused on cloud computing and other computing platforms is also a logical team to lead a Kubernetes strategy. These teams have a strong understanding of platform operations, infrastructure, security, multi-tenancy and existing IT investments, and usually have significant experience running critical projects. A project led by the IT platforms team will definitely benefit from their understanding of the broad requirements of many different teams across a large, complex organization. But, these teams often have very little experience with the latest application architectures and benefit enormously from working closely with teams leading innovation around application development.

How Rancher and Kubernetes Can Work for Any Organization

As the case study with Illumina demonstrates, Kubernetes can be deployed in almost any environment and can handle multiple types of hardware and software in the enterprise, differing network technologies and even competing desires between DevOps and IT teams. However, it only works at peak efficiency when properly managed through an orchestration platform like Rancher. As the standard for cloud container orchestration, Kubernetes is going to be a part of the enterprise strategies of many organizations.
You will want the high degree of autonomy offered by decentralization where teams build what they need, optimized for innovation. On the other hand, you also need the benefits associated with centralization, such as automating common tasks, integrating systems, easy movement between products and an ironclad focus on consistent security.
At the same time, IT can manage common functions and provide key integrations like active user management and plugins. Plugins offer a flexible way to approve registries and define policies that dictate what is allowed to run in clusters. Using this model, policy and security can be maintained even as developers are given the freedom they need to innovate.
Finding the right balance is the primary challenge and implementing an orchestration platform such as Rancher alongside Kubernetes can help get you there. Platforms like Rancher can provide all the benefits of Kubernetes while also reducing complexity. Rancher offers peerless management capabilities regardless of how complex or how unique the platform an enterprise is supporting.

Finally, there’s much more in the complete and free ebook “How To Build Enterprise Kubernetes Strategy”. Take the opportunity to download and read whenever you want or consult whenever you need.

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