TechTalks With Tom Smith: Kubernetes Evolution

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TechTalks With Tom Smith: Kubernetes Evolution

Adoption will grow, the platform and tools will mature in conjunction with moves to the cloud and proliferation of IoT.

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What would Darwin say about Kubernetes?

To understand the current and future state of Kubernetes (K8s) in the enterprise, we gathered insights from IT executives at 22 companies. We asked, "What’s the future of K8s from your point of view, and where do the greatest opportunities lie?"

You might also enjoy: Kubernetes Concerns

Here’s what we learned.


  • More learning. Opportunities in hybrid multi-cloud flexible and scale across manage regions and clouds. Use K8s as a layer to expand across the cloud. More work to be done. Moving and migrating workloads will be simplified greatly. There will be an ecosystem that K8s is enabling. 
  • The adoption curve has just started. K8s was originally seen as a cloud product, part of cloud-native. It has become the operating system for the cloud. It isolates you from the infrastructure requirements and needs. It removes concerns around ITOps. As it scales, K8s has grown up with those environments. We are not looking at security and high availability concerns. The next steps are how to take the K8s cloud operating system to a hybrid, multi-cloud operating system. It solves the basic problem that companies are running into right now. 
  • In the long-term, K8s will be the operating system for the cloud. I see a comparison with Linux. After the 1990’s computing was dominated by proprietary vendors offering walled-gardens with solutions that were designed to lock in with vendors.  Linux made it a commodity and created an explosion in technology that was universally adopted by all organizations. K8s is becoming the Linux of the cloud. When people develop applications in the cloud, they will do it on top of the OS with abstractions with no vendor lock-in. The cloud will be consumed more and more through the abstraction of K8s. 
  • There’s a set of problems K8s has already solved like web apps, SaaS, typical web applications. The future is in IoT, K8s allows communication and rollbacks. Make IoT devices nodes in a larger K8s cluster for faster updates and more services. Second, more specifically, what’s next inside of K8s is Istio and Anthos Google’s tool with Knative, K8s, and Istio. 
  • The next step is multi-cloud and multi-cluster and that’s the most complex issue in the market. 
  • There’s a link to the cloud and how you think about on-demand compute resources. Cloud adoption and at-scale automation. Apply data collection and compute resources for ML to automate away mundane tasks.
  • It’s a platform for building platforms. It has a very extensible architecture. Get K8s to support Kafka and Cassandra to do ML on top of it. Created container storage interface. The industry standard for adding storage to containers. The toolkit for K8s operators to capture for more complicated lifestyle automation. K8s might disappear lower in the stack as people build more abstractions above it. Focus on higher-level workflow. Commander allows you to manage multiple K8s clusters with higher-level workflows to work across all public clouds. 
  • It will become the standard platform for running applications whether on an IoT device up to the cloud similar to the excitement that was created with Java. A standard set of APIs to deploy and build defining new resources and letting K8s do the hard work. Being the application platform across any substrate. 
  • K8s has huge potential to enable several complex deployment options which, traditionally, could never have been possible. Global-scale businesses are in dire need of solutions to complex deployment requirements, such as multi-cloud and hybrid cloud. Businesses also want to be agile and adapt to changing consumer behavior, and rapidly change applications to make the best use of technological innovation. Leveraging open-source and the innate portability feature of containerized applications running on K8s makes that possible. The adoption of open source strategy and K8s by businesses will continue to rapidly grow with an ecosystem backed by industry-leading internet tech companies and a growing developer community.


  • Externalization of the platform will happen to ease the burden of the customer so they can focus on revenue-generating applications. It’s similar to Linux. Not every company wants to do open source. They see the benefits but don’t want to manage, maintain, and upgrade it themselves.
  • Enterprise hardening of K8s. Availability of tools that get K8s closer to the mission-critical enterprise.
  • Becoming more stable at the core and becoming more extensible. Having a very stable core and allowing expansions for what the customers want. Responsive to customer feedback and saying "no" if things should happen elsewhere.
  • The future of K8s is really in supporting other infrastructure further up the stack. This is just starting to impact the way developers build services but will continue to do so. Supporting other tools like service discovery, service mesh, and continuous delivery and enabling teams to roll them out more quickly is really going to show off the multiplicative effects of a flexible orchestration layer like K8s. 
  • There are a few directions where K8s improvements need to happen which could spell big opportunities for community members and commercial K8S vendors: 1. Federation enabling true single-pane-of-glass multi-cloud. 2. Wire-speed container networking that is hardware agnostic. 3. Operator deployment models which enable complex multi-application topologies (e.g. expansion of Operator dependency handling in things like OLM).  4. Treating distributed stateful applications as first-class citizens, and by this, I mean something better than StatefulSet. 5. Resource metering and centralized bill-back for organizations which want to host large federated K8S clusters and match internal budgeting. 
  • Advances in container technology will only accelerate the speed at which enterprises move to use containers in production, further heightening the need for effective K8s security. At the same time, K8s-orchestrated containers will play an essential and growing role for enterprises when it comes to application deployment and management. And, the technology will only be increasingly standardized, stable, and portable going forward. 
  • 1) K8s will help reshape organizations all throughout the world to embrace DevOps processes and eventually microservices. K8s provides so much guidance for developers to put them on the right path and automates so much that the business can embrace a technology stack that lets them deliver software value to their customers at a rapid pace. 2) As part of that, K8s will become the one-way developers use to configure all their tools and services up and down the stack. Kids will come out of college knowing how to set up a full-stack application, close to how it would run in production because there’s one API that spans the traditional silos of compute, networking, and storage. 3) And because the K8s API is extensible, vendors will target K8s just like they target x86 chipsets today. The K8s platform gives vendors a framework for running software systems that would, in the old world, be a nightmare for customers to manage on their own.


  • Better human interfaces. Fewer interfaces are necessary. Fewer buttons and knobs to push because more will be automated. Will find ways to automate error-prone tasks. Less manual intervention.
  • At KubeCon 2018 (December 2018, Seattle, WA), the notion of "serverless" computing was one of the big topics and buzz pointing the future of container innovation — the idea of building and deploying virtually any type of application without provisioning or managing servers to run those applications. In addition, users will pay based on a usage model, only paying for the compute time consumed — and no charge when their applications are not running. Containers will eventually replace virtual machines (VMs). Containers offer significant advantages over virtual machines (e.g. reduced deployment costs, significantly reduced startup performance, reduced machine footprint, and ease-of-use). As more companies and IT organizations adopt container usage, the result will be a large-scale migration from running applications in VMs to containers. Containers usage will grow well beyond the use of Docker containers as the primary container type. Competitive offerings will become more widely accepted and used. Docker, the market leader, has strayed from developing a standard container technology and is focusing more on developing and marketing a full-scale application development platform. For this reason, other container products will grow in popularity and use.
  • As long as the organization keeps investing in R&D and adopting modern architectures we’ll continue to see an increase in team productivity and business scalability — and even enter new markets faster as a result. We will be able to transition to these modern architectures in order to fully take advantage of containerized applications and provide an enabling path for legacy applications.  Containerized applications will become more and more the foundation for us to build more complex, self-healing systems over time.
  • I believe the technology will continue to grow in use and popularity, and services that simplify the management and deployment of K8s will also become commonplace. There is a big market to make K8s easier and more approachable, and that is part of why we released our Kubernetes product to help developers leverage the technology. There are also open-source components that can be used to modify deployments and companies should encourage the use of and support such components natively. We believe K8s is an amazing leap forward in promoting developer productivity, but at its core, it is a platform for building higher level platforms on. We see a major opportunity for higher-level abstractions to be built that cater even more to developers who want to focus on their software, not their infrastructure.

Further Reading

Tom's Tech Notes: What You Need to Know About Containers [Podcast]

Kubernetes in 10 Minutes: A Complete Guide


cloud, containers, kubernetes, kubernetes evolution, kubernetes stability, kubernetes use, microservices

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