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Sysdig 2020 Predictions: The year Kubernetes swallows serverless and 6 other predictions

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Suresh Vasudevan, CEO, Sysdig

2020, the year Kubernetes swallows serverless and 6 other predictions

Making predictions about the volatile and fast evolving world of containers may seem foolhardy, but we did fairly well last year, as we'll briefly review, and it's time to put a stake in the ground for 2020.

A look back at 2019

One of our 2019 predictions was that we would see container acceptance drive industry consolidation as the big players looked to round out their container portfolios. IBM's $34 billion acquisition of RedHat, which closed in July, was certainly evidence of that, as was VMware's acquisition of Pivotal in August and Carbon Black in September. HPE also acquired Bluedata, a container-based software solution, and later announced the HPE container platform.

We also predicted the major cloud providers would continue to push on-premises offerings as a way to position the suppliers for future public cloud growth. Google's introduction of Anthos in April 2019 means we got that one right, too. They have arguably become the biggest push towards on-prem at this point.

Another key prognostication was that organizations would shift more stateful applications to Kubernetes, and our 2019 Container Usage Report shows we nailed that. Containers were originally used primarily for stateless applications due to their ephemeral nature and challenges with persistent storage. As the market has matured, many of these challenges have been addressed and the amount of stateful applications running in containers is increasing. Today, 57% of the clusters monitored by Sysdig run StatefulSets. 

We also predicted that 2019 would see the first container-based data breach with significant privacy implications. While the exact cause of breaches are rarely revealed, there were several in 2019. Right before Thanksgiving, a hacking group was performing mass-scans of more than 59,000 IP networks, looking for exposed Docker instances. The sheer volume of scanning is alarming. This news is still breaking, but it could be just another example of a container-based data breach due to exposed vulnerabilities. 

And one other prediction we sadly got right was that it would be some time before Kubernetes makes it possible for apps to move seamlessly among multiple cloud and on-premise resources. We're sorry to report that is still the case. That nirvana vision will arrive at some point, but it will be some time before that one becomes a reality.

Those were the most important predictions from last year, so now on to what you can expect in 2020, at least according to our crystal ball, which we dusted off this morning: 

1. By the end of 2020, more than 75% of the Fortune 1000 companies will have deployed at least one container-based application in production. 

The industry is at an inflection point -- the experiments are done, the problems ironed out, the key learnings codified -- and is ready to get serious about container usage. While an estimated 30-40% of the Fortune 1000 have at least one container-based application in production today, that number will skyrocket this year. Indicative of that trend: In the last year container density per host doubled from 15 to 30, according to the 2019 Container Usage report, that number doubled in 2017 as well, and this is just the beginning.

2. 2020 will be the year of the edge container.

Most containers today are used in data centers, but in 2020 usage at the network edge will become mainstream. For example, containers running on IoT devices will become common, and we'll see a large uptick in the number of consumer appliances running containerized apps at the edge as suppliers look to benefit from the speed of development and deployment possible with containers.

3. Kubernetes swallows serverless.

Although AWS Lambda is the most popular serverless option today, serverless functions increasingly will be packaged in containers in a way that is compatible with Kubernetes. That will make it possible for Kubernetes to orchestrate both containers and serverless functions. Given its rapid ascension to the king of container orchestrators, it is a safe bet that, within a few years, Kubernetes will become the de facto alternative to public cloud serverless services.

4. Organizations realize Kubernetes isn't secure by default.

Organizations have been rushing to embrace Kubernetes because of the speed and agility that can be achieved. But many have been naive, believing Kuberenetes is secure by default. Others assumed they could use traditional tools and processes, and delayed addressing security concerns until they were ready for production. In 2020 organizations will adopt a Secure DevOps approach, addressing security earlier in their process to manage risk and ensure security checks don't slow down deployments.  

5. Organizations will embrace secure DevOps.

Considering how relatively new Kubernetes is, enterprises are still trying to understand how to properly secure Kubernetes-based applications. This has resulted in organizations treating security as they would a VM, or as an afterthought, something introduced once mission critical applications move to production. Anyone who has tried to operate Kuberentes in production has come to the same conclusion: traditional application security approaches were not designed for the speed and transparency. They do not work and ultimately slow down application development. There is a dire need to shift left, the practice of building security checks into container development earlier in the development pipeline, rather than waiting to do a full audit when the code is complete. While the Fortune 1000 have already begun to reorganize for this secure DevOps approach, it will become commonplace in 2020.

6. Vendors scramble to check the Kubernetes security box.

Anticipating enterprises will get more serious about secure DevOps, companies that provide DevOps tools - Datadog, Atlassian, GitLab, Splunk, Cisco, Symantec and others - will jump on the  Kubernetes security bandwagon, as will the mainstream security concerns. Some of those tools will be homegrown, but others will be added through acquisition, so expect to see a wave of industry consolidation. 

7. The rise of the service mesh.

The more organizations rely on containers, the more they realize how hard it is to knit them together across the network because containers come and go so frequently. Fifty-two percent of containers live five minutes or less. This year will see the industry turn to support service meshes like Istio and Linkerd. These meshes enable containers to discover endpoints and available services and can handle connection failures, vastly simplifying the job of getting work done in these ephemeral environments. Expect to see the majority of cloud-native apps built in 2020 using service meshes.

That's our take. Let us know if you agree, or share some of your own expectations for the world of containers in the year ahead.


About the Author

Suresh Vasudevan

Suresh Vasudevan serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Sysdig, Inc. since February 2018. Prior to joining Sysdig, Suresh was the president and CEO of Nimble Storage, Inc. His tenure extended from March 2011 until its acquisition by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in May 2017. During his time at the company, he led Nimble from a startup, through a successful IPO, and on to be a leading provider of next-generation flash storage systems and a pioneer in leveraging predictive analytics for infrastructure management, with more than $500 million in annualized revenues and over 10,000 customers. Prior to Nimble Storage, he was the CEO of Omneon (acquired by Harmonic Inc.), and previously served as a member of the executive team at NetApp, overseeing all product operations. During a decade-long career at NetApp, Suresh led the company’s product strategy and product development and was a key architect of the steady expansion of NetApp’s product portfolio into new markets. Before joining NetApp, Suresh served at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chicago as a senior engagement manager. He holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering, with honors, from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) in Pilani, India and an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Calcutta, India.

Published Wednesday, January 29, 2020 6:15 AM by David Marshall
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