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Red Hat's approach to Kubernetes

Apr. 27, 2020   |   8-minute read

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The most important asset for the future of your business is your software architecture. It’s your primary means to deliver new customer experiences, enter new markets, and adapt to changing conditions. Your success depends on choosing the right combination of cloud environments, but also on how you choose to standardize development and operations across those clouds.

Ignoring standardization can be a critical oversight in hybrid cloud planning, but what cloud platform are you willing to bet the future of your business on?

The strength of its open source community has made Kubernetes the standard for running container-based apps across clouds. However, while Kubernetes as a standalone open source project is an effective container management tool, its full potential as a hybrid cloud platform for enterprises is only realized by integrating an ecosystem of complementary cloud-native tools. Put simply, using Kubernetes by itself is not enough to succeed with hybrid cloud.

Given the difficulty of navigating the cloud-native ecosystem, especially the one around Kubernetes, there is a high demand for easy-to-administer development platforms that deliver applications in Kubernetes-managed containers.


2020 Trends to Watch: Cloud-Native Development

Red Hat’s approach over the last 6 years has been to turn Kubernetes from a useful container tool into a foundational platform for hybrid cloud architectures. We’ve worked within the open source project as one of the leading contributors to develop an understanding of the best cloud-native practices, tools, and integrations to support enterprise adoption of Kubernetes.

Kubernetes video still

Get excited about standardization

Standardization may not be flashy, but it’s the launching pad for nearly all IT innovation. If you want to continuously deliver competitive new software in hybrid cloud, you must provide an automated, standardized platform across environments.

For enterprises that build their software on a Kubernetes platform, the payoff could be big: developers empowered to do their best work and applications that scale and flex across clouds as needed. However, Kubernetes is a technology for managing large-scale IT architectures and the barriers to entry can be high. It's not for everyone.

If you only expect to run a small number of apps for a small number of users, Kubernetes may be more trouble than it’s worth. But if your organization develops and releases software at scale—or aspires to—Kubernetes should be your default choice.

Kubernetes was born to go big

Kubernetes emerged from a belief that software should be scalable and highly available. It should have predictable patterns of development and resource needs. Originally inspired by software used to manage Google’s massive applications in production, it was released as an open source project in 2014. Adoption has surged in the years since. In a 2019 Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) community survey, the number of respondents who use Kubernetes in production hit a record high of 78%.

Production Kubernetes use in the cloud-native community increased from 58% in 2018 to 78% in 2019.

-CNCF Survey 2019

Industry momentum has aligned behind Kubernetes as the orchestration platform for Linux® containers. Choosing Kubernetes means you’ll be running the de facto standard regardless of which cloud environments and providers are in your future.

Kubernetes by itself is not enough

For all that Kubernetes can do, it leaves many decisions to the user. To have a complete container platform, you’ll need to integrate other components for container networking, ingress/load balancing, storage, monitoring, logging, and more. Enterprise distributions (including Red Hat® OpenShift®) offer these solutions with Kubernetes at their core.

Successfully adopting a Kubernetes platform for hybrid cloud usually follows a series of steps:

Evaluate open, standards-based options.

In order to maintain the standards-based nature of Kubernetes, it is critical to evaluate truly open source solutions. Some enterprise distributions of Kubernetes will include open source components, but ultimately lock you into proprietary underpinnings. A truly open source distribution like Red Hat OpenShift will always maintain open components, from the operating system all the way to the serverless dashboard.

Consider team culture.

Setting up your team for success is crucial and easily overlooked. Training shouldn’t just cover Kubernetes, but also supporting concepts like agile development. A well-prepared Kubernetes lead in your organization can make a big difference in company-wide adoption.

Surround Kubernetes with best practices.

Kubernetes goes hand-in-hand with DevOps and GitOps methodologies to align software development and IT operations. Operationalizing Kubernetes with these best practices also clears the way to build a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline, where software delivery is fast and automated.

Clayton Coleman

“It's not just enough to do Kubernetes. You do need to do CI/CD. You need to use alerting. You need to understand how the security model of the cloud and your applications interplay.”

- Clayton Coleman,
Senior Distinguished Engineer, Red Hat

This is when the investment in Kubernetes starts to pay off.

New doors are open to you.

Kubernetes Illustration Footprints

You can run containerized applications across a hybrid cloud, using your own datacenters or multiple public cloud providers. With the flexibility to deploy workloads in a variety of locations, you can move your applications closer to where your customers interact, even adopting an edge computing strategy.

Kubernetes Illustration AI/ML

Applications such as AI and machine learning can access the resources they need, as they need them. If you need to integrate new technology as the result of an acquisition, for example, you have the means to do so.

Kubernetes Illustration DevOps

The most creative people at your organization have a platform on which to build new applications. Your infrastructure is scalable, automated, and available for the people who use it.

This is how the cloud was always supposed to work.

Brian Gracely

“Kubernetes is scalable. It helps develop applications faster. It does hybrid and multicloud. These are not just technology buzzwords, they're real, legitimate business problems.”

- Brian Gracely,
Director, Product Strategy, Red Hat OpenShift

We help unlock the whole
software ecosystem

Red Hat’s early investment in Kubernetes has resulted in Red Hat OpenShift, our enterprise Kubernetes platform for hybrid cloud. We also continue to be a leading contributor within the open source project, and have been since our first involvement in 2014.

  • Red Hat OpenShift integrates developer environments and the middleware your teams need to start developing applications immediately.
  • It’s supported with validated, software-defined networking, storage, monitoring, and third-party integrations.
  • It brings conventional VMs to your Kubernetes platform through OpenShift virtualization.
  • And it’s delivered with the consistency and reliability you expect from Red Hat® Enterprise Linux.
“Our job is to make it easier and easier to use, either from an ops point of view or a developer point of view—while acknowledging it is complex, because we're solving a complex problem.”
Chris Wright

Chris Wright,
Chief Technology Officer, Red Hat

Our experience with container technologies gives us the insight to know when Kubernetes alone will not meet your requirements. Red Hat offers more than a Kubernetes platform. We bring comprehensive cloud-native solutions and guidance to help your organization align culture, processes, and technology so you can succeed with Kubernetes. This means embracing agile development methods, a DevOps culture, and continuous delivery practices. Red Hat has the expertise to be your trusted partner, provide the training your teams need, and support your Kubernetes program on the path to success.

Our top picks for continued Kubernetes reading

Resource edge computing predictions illustration


2020 Trends to Watch: Cloud-Native Development

Get Ovum's definition of cloud-native computing and navigate through the latest expansion of the Kubernetes ecosystem, including what to look out for in 2020 and the impact of Kubernetes on DevOps.

cloud edge computing

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What is Kubernetes?

Our easy to read overview of Kubernetes will ground your understanding in the facts, no sales pitch.