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Red Hat Cloud Platforms 2019 Predictions: Third Era of Kubernetes, Hybrid Serverless, and Beyond

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Brian Gracely, director of product strategy, Red Hat

Third Era of Kubernetes, Hybrid Serverless, and Beyond

Kubernetes is no doubt the de facto container orchestration standard agreed upon by the industry at large. Looking ahead to 2019, what is ahead for Kubernetes and beyond? We see themes of consistency and automation to enable Kubernetes success in hybrid infrastructures. Here are our predictions.

1. As Kubernetes maturity continues, enterprises demand consistency across infrastructures and seek automated operations.

Enterprises want a consistent application platform that spans multiple infrastructures, agnostic of the underlying cloud provider. This is where the promise of containers managed via Kubernetes started -- and after the past five years of development and enterprise adoption, today containers and Kubernetes are widely understood and adopted. Enterprises look to Kubernetes as the platform to provide a consistent way to package and deploy their existing and new applications.

Now as we enter the third era of Kubernetes, enterprises will be looking at ways to bring in more automation around operations. Platform operations becomes a critical success factor. Operations professionals are beginning to seek the qualities typically associated with hosted services. This includes automated updates, automated back-ups, auto-scaling and self-tuning -- and they want them to be available on any environment, whether on a cloud provider's infrastructure or on their own infrastructure.

This year, the automation of these operations will manifest themselves as Operators, which gives users a method of packaging, deploying and managing a Kubernetes application with both Day 1 and Day 2 capabilities embedded. Operators help make this a reality. Operators make it easier to package an application and include the operational knowledge to make it easier to run on your environment.

With the differences softening between the infrastructure platform and application platform, it is critically important for enterprises to be supported in running Kubernetes on the hybrid cloud. Even more, the desire for consistency and support via multi-cluster federation and across multiple deployment footprints will continue to grow as more and more enterprises reach maturity in their cloud-native infrastructures.

2. Kubernetes will enable consistent operations for both containers AND virtual machines.

The future of Kubernetes is containers and VMs. Kubernetes was previously used to run containers, and OpenStack or VMware to run VMs. Now, what's new is being able to use Kubernetes to run containers and VMs. With projects like KubeVirt and container-native virtualization, which enables virtual machines to follow the same workflow as Kubernetes-native applications, both containerized and traditional, non-containerized workloads can be run and managed on the same platform.

Even more, this can all be on bare metal. A number of our customers run on-premises today, and the interest is growing because people are expanding the types of workloads they run on Kubernetes. This includes machine-sensitive applications, GPU-enabled workloads, and applications that require low latency, and therefore look to bare metal to take advantage of its capabilities. Additionally, with the ability to leverage isolation and management capabilities of containers, users also look at virtualization underneath as a potentially unneeded additional cost and redundancy. To reduce VM sprawl and costs, users are looking to a simpler environment of Kubernetes directly on bare metal.

3. Serverless becomes real on Kubernetes.

Knative, the project which allows for serverless computing to be executed within Kubernetes, is on the rise. This year, we see serverless expanding beyond a single cloud provider. Developers will look to expand the serverless paradigm beyond functions-as-a-service (FaaS) to their favorite stack. Instead of the finite set of proprietary cloud vendor services that are available for serverless applications today, serverless functions and applications will expand to a heterogenous ecosystem. The events source behind functions will expand a diverse range of services thanks to the continued growth of the ecosystem around Knative.

4. The next version of Kubernetes Federation will make multi-cloud easier.

The first few waves of cluster orchestration problems have given way to the next layer of challenges, one of which is in federating identities and workload across clusters, regardless of geographic location or underlying infrastructure. Kubernetes Federation V2 is being actively worked on in the cloud native community to address this. As Federation V2 matures and is adopted, the ability to operate multiple clusters across multi-cloud -- that is, different infrastructures and cloud providers -- should be made easier.

Kubernetes has been enabled in the enterprise since 2015 via products like Red Hat OpenShift, with enterprises depending on Kubernetes for their mission-critical applications. The future is bright. This year we as an industry continue to expand on this expertise of running Kubernetes in production and look to more consistency and automation in the enterprise operational experience across hybrid environments.


About the Author

Brian Gracely 

Brian Gracely, director of product strategy, Red Hat

Brian Gracely (@bgracely) is Director of Product Strategy at Red Hat, focused on OpenShift. He brings 20 years of experience in Strategy, Product Management, Systems Engineering, Marketing and M&A. He is recognized as an industry thought-leader in Cloud Computing, as well as being co-host of the award-winning podcast, The Cloudcast (@thecloudcastnet) and PodCTL (@podctl). He has a BS/MBA from Wake Forest University.
Published Monday, February 04, 2019 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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