By: Claude Schuck, Regional Director, Middle East at Veeam Software
Kubernetes is still in its early educational phase as a technology. On Gartner’s Hype Cycle, container management currently sits on top of the peak of inflated expectations. If Kubernetes and other technologies within this category follow the expected trajectory, they will enter the Trough of Disillusionment in the next 12 months – before climbing the Slope of Enlightenment.
This aligns fairly well with where Kubernetes currently is in terms of business deployment. In the Middle East, organizations are waking up to its potential and developing an understanding of where it can deliver real competitive advantage, in the light of the increasing rate of adoption of containers. According to Veeam’s Data Protection Report 2022 69% of organizations in the UAE and 76% of organizations in Saudi are already running containers in production, while 29% and 22% respectively plan to do so in the next 12 months. However, there is a lot of education to be done before IT teams have fully got to grips with how best to deploy Kubernetes.
Over the next 12 months we will see two things happen that will shift perceptions around Kubernetes. The first is that those deploying the technology will start to understand it more, gain confidence in building the business case, and start to demonstrate real ROI. The second is that cloud providers will find simpler ways to serve Kubernetes to organizations, reducing the need for deep technical understanding to deploy it effectively.
Education and enlightenment
Much of the appetite for learning about how to successfully deploy Kubernetes and the benefits of doing so comes from within the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) community. The technical barriers to entry are still relatively high, which is why one of the top challenges identified by organizations looking to deploy Kubernetes is that they lack the necessary in-house skills.
It is often the case that relatively new technologies which experience unprecedented spurts of adoption outpace the market in terms of the skills and infrastructure required to support growth. However, when it comes to Kubernetes, we’re talking about one of the fastest-growing open source technologies of all time in terms of early adoption. It’s important, therefore, that this process of educating the technical community gathers pace.
Over the next 12 months, we will see the number of learning opportunities increase as the industry looks to address the emerging skills gap. An example of such an initiative is Learning.kasten.io, a Kubernetes learning platform from Kasten by Veeam. The programme aims to equip technical professionals looking to upskill and the next generation of tech talent with at least a basic understanding of Kubernetes. This will shorten the learning curve for both experienced and entry-level technologists – burnishing enterprises with a pool of talent that understands Kubernetes and how to get the best out of it.
Making Kubernetes easy
As well as building a solid pipeline of people who understand and can capably consult businesses on Kubernetes, cloud providers are working on ways to make it easier for IT teams to consume and deploy them without in-house technical proficiency. This will ultimately be one of the major driving forces that takes Kubernetes from being an emerging technology in its experimental stages to established enterprise technology. The success of Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) proves that organizations are demanding simpler ways to consume and deploy IT through the cloud. Kubernetes will be no exception to this rule.
Currently, Kubernetes is acting as a management platform for containers and among the earliest adopters are established and regulated industries such as banking and financial services. Businesses from other industries are currently evaluating the pros and cons of Kubernetes, looking at whether they can incorporate it into their networks. To accelerate the growing interest of the broader market, major cloud service providers are beginning to offer Kubernetes-as-a-Service (KaaS) – making it possible to operate Kubernetes as a managed service. KaaS is commonly provided via the public cloud, but as its penetration grows organizations will be able to consume similar services through local managed service providers (MSPs) or deploy them on-premises.
The move towards KaaS will significantly drive-up Kubernetes adoption, taking away some of the initial pain and investment required to deploy Kubernetes and enjoy the benefits of delivering applications faster, at a greater scale, and with greater accuracy. No matter how Kubernetes is consumed, organizations looking to take advantage of the opportunity it offers must be aware of the data protection requirements which accompany it. Kubernetes does not significantly change the threat landscape or bridge any cybersecurity gaps. It requires the same Modern Data Protection capabilities as any other type of data on any other type of platform.
Fundamentally, the infrastructure is now closer to the applications with the help of containers, and data backup must be carried out differently to align with this. The number of workloads using stateful data in container environments is increasing alongside data services being deployed within the Kubernetes cluster. Other public cloud tools can be connected to applications running within Kubernetes, which changes the way data is protected. Simply put, backup works differently for Kubernetes than virtualized environments. This is where specialized data protection solutions for backup and recovery of Kubernetes environments such as Kasten by Veeam come into play.
Over the next 12 months, more businesses will get to grips with the many benefits of deploying Kubernetes, while cloud providers find more consumable ways of serving up Kubernetes including KaaS. As well as investing in the skills required to maximize ROI, businesses must seek the advice of data protection experts when deploying Kubernetes to ensure that they are not becoming exposed to new risks. Organisations in the Middle East must be equipped with Modern Data Protection solutions to ensure their data is protected across physical, virtual, cloud, SaaS and Kubernetes environments at all times.