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Help with Kubernetes: What Help and How to Find It

By Kendall Miller, President, Fairwinds

The benefits of Kubernetes have been established, your business has decided to make the move to cloud native and you are now uncovering all the complexity surrounding the platform. This complexity can be overwhelming. Combined with a lack of confidence in your clusters, you might be nervous about moving your first or fifth application to the platform.

Now is the point where you want help. You can of course reach out to the fantastic community that exists around Kubernetes, but will searching through documentation and reddit posts give  you the confidence you need?

I've spent the last five years helping companies adopt and maintain Kubernetes successfully. During that time, our company has iterated between Kubernetes Professional Services to the other side of the spectrum of Kubernetes Managed Services. If you are looking for help with Kubernetes, at some point you'll be asking yourself, "What kind of help do I need?"

Kubernetes Professional Services

Professional services or "consulting" refers to hiring an expert to solve a problem. The problem can be almost any kind - help with taxes, where to invest, racking and stacking servers. When you seek professional services, you are seeking expertise from people who have faced a problem many times. The ideal person is someone that can help you get it done faster or better than you would be able to do it yourself.

There are a number of advantages with professional services. You can micromanage what gets done, or ask for changes until you're satisfied with it. You can tell them what to do and they do it (even if it may not give you the best outcome). And the sky's the limit for what you can find to be done.

The problem with professional services is that many are paid by the hour. Those services may drag work out or make it overly complicated to get paid more. A person in a professional service capacity is incentivized to work exactly as long as it takes to complete the project and get paid.

Another problem is around reliability. A professional services comes in, builds something, it looks great, but when they are done it falls apart. They are usually not on the hook for the long term implications of what they've built.

With Kubernetes, you want to build a platform for long-term stability. There are times when a professional service might offer advantages such as when you are evaluating the platform or want a quick start for a dev environment. If you are looking for on-going help from a service that will get you production-grade clusters, a managed service might be the way to go.

Kubernetes Managed Service

While similar to professional services in that there is often some up-front work done by an expert, a managed service tends to focus more on offering you what they have and for you to decide if it will fit your needs. This helps to align your needs with what the managed service provides. The difference with a managed service is that they want to help you build quickly, but also build something that will last. Usually a managed service is a long-term engagement.

A managed service provider won't simply spin up your first cluster and walk away; the service will help you build, manage and upgrade a production-grade environment, using Kubernetes best practices. Kubernetes managed service firms will build you something you can count on, because they too want it to last.

A managed service should have more experience than most in what it takes to actually run Kubernetes for a long time. It should help you get to production faster and succeed for the long term because it takes ownership of the ongoing outcomes. What's most fundamental is that a managed service is humans helping other humans.

Finding a Kubernetes Managed Service

If you are looking for a dev environment to evaluate Kubernetes, I recommend looking at a quick start professional service option. If you are looking for long-term help to plan, set up and manage Kubernetes so you can focus on the services that make you money, a managed service is the way to go.

When considering a Kubernetes managed service, there are some key considerations. First, Kubernetes has only been around for the last five years. Look for a managed service company that has grown up with the technology and is completely dedicated to it. By doing so, you'll ensure you get true Kubernetes expertise and that recommendations and implementations have been battle-tested.

Next, look for a managed service that is dedicated to the Kubernetes community. Check that they are contributing to open source and perhaps even creating their own tools to address problems they face.

And make sure it is a true partnership-humans helping humans-to get the best Kubernetes environment set up to meet your business needs.

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To learn more about containerized infrastructure and cloud native technologies, consider joining us at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA Virtual, November 17-20.

About the Author

Kendall Miller, President, Fairwinds

kendall miller 

Kendall is president of Fairwinds, the Kubernetes enablement company. Kendall was one of the first hires at Fairwinds and has spent the past 5 years making the dream of disrupting infrastructure a reality, while keeping his finger on the pulse of changing demands in the market and valuable partnership opportunities.

Published Wednesday, October 21, 2020 7:33 AM by David Marshall
Comments
RajeshN - (Author's Link) - November 10, 2020 4:29 AM

Thanks for sharing this great information about cloud-native technology, Kubernetes, and this article is supporting to learn about the significant differences between Kubernetes' professional and managed services.

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