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Spectro Cloud 2023 Predictions: From Edge to TCO - Five Trends Reshaping Kubernetes in 2023


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

From Edge to TCO: Five Trends Reshaping Kubernetes in 2023

By Tenry Fu, CEO and co-founder of Spectro Cloud

A year is a long time in Kubernetes. For those of us who have spent our entire careers in IT, every new paradigm, from virtualization to cloud, seems to move through its change curve that bit faster - and from our conversations with customers, partners and the community, 2023 is poised to be an eventful one for the world of cloud-native. We've boiled the trends down to these five:

1. The dev experience will be in the spotlight

Infrastructure matters, but fundamentally it's only there to run apps, in all their diversity and complexity. That makes the app developer the customer. 

We see this realization coming through in the refocusing from devops to Platform Engineering, expressed as platform teams building products for their internal customers, complete with user testing and other rituals. 

There's an encouraging degree of introspection about what experience developers are currently getting from Kubernetes, and whether it's good enough. Are we blocking them from building features with unreasonable delays? Are we forcing them to learn arcane infrastructure principles just to be able to deploy their code? 

It's a safe bet that in 2023 we'll see more automation of repetitive tasks, and more of an ‘as a service' model for accessing cluster resources, with significant effort paid to speeding up and simplifying all touchpoints.

2. Edge burns white-hot

Kubernetes may have gained popularity as the operating system for the data center, but its real value may prove to be at the edge, where its portable and resilient application workloads can power an almost infinite variety of digital business processes and customer experiences.

Our research has found that already 35% of production Kubernetes users are running Kubernetes at the edge, and many many more plan to do so in the next 12 months. The use cases are incredibly varied, from fruit-picking drones to AI on MRI machines, and many of them have the potential to drive revenue and competitive differentiation for the companies that get them right. But the challenges are equally immense, from manageability to security. 2023 is the tipping point, when the challenges get hit head-on, and edge truly goes mainstream.

3. The landscape big bang will be over

In the seven years since the CNCF was established, its landscape has exploded to 1,100 logos. It's a vibrant, innovative space full of big ideas and competing products - but a real challenge for serious enterprise use where stability and standards matter just as much as innovation. 

We think the 2021/2022 acquisitions and mid-2022 layoffs were important, but a distraction from the real story: K8s is now seven years old and maturing fast. In a maturing market, the balance shifts towards consolidation. In 2023, we expect to see more stabilization and more emphasis on interoperability, support, LTS releases and standards as K8s heads towards wider adoption. Ops and platform teams shouldn't have to navigate the debris of half-abandoned projects, dodge vendor lock-in and place risky bets on distros. Managing Kubernetes at scale will be about freedom of choice of best of breed, with true independence.

4. Security will no longer be a ‘nice to have'

When a technology moves out of the proverbial playground and into serious production use, it's no longer OK for it to be untrusted, unstable and, most importantly, insecure.

In 2023, security will be high on the list for customers practicing cloud-native, and their wishlist will be very long indeed. Anything that helps assure the integrity of the software supply chain and the trusted software bill of materials (SBOM) as it lands in a running cluster, for starters. Then there's the security of Kubernetes and the ‘full stack' that makes up the cluster: this encompasses everything from hardened distros to zero trust access controls, as well as closer examination and criticism of conventional practices like relying on namespaces to provide isolation, and core manageability requirements like security scans and the ability to promptly patch multiple clusters. 

We predict that edge will be a forcing function in a lot of these conversations, because all of the security problems become more difficult there. How can you patch ten thousand single-node edge clusters without physical access? How can you protect those devices against physical tampering? Difficult questions, but as an industry we'll formulate the answers in 2023.

5. Cost controls and cleaning house become unignorable

Lastly, it's time to consider TCO. A down economy won't kill Kubernetes momentum - it's too core to the delivery of customer-impacting innovations and experiences. But the days of firing up new clusters and adding new experimental tools into the stack will be gone. 

In 2023, K8s will be treated as a must-have core infrastructure rather than a nice-to-have project.  Enterprise platform teams will be expected to have a full view of their holistic K8s costs including cloud costs across multicloud. They will look to new paradigms like virtual clusters to bring spending down without compromising security. Kubernetes TCO - including team-time cost, hardware and bare-metal overhead, license costs, support costs and more will start to be reported and tracked more aggressively.

In short, 2023 is when the industry gets serious about Kubernetes in the enterprise. 



Tenry Fu 

Tenry Fu is CEO and co-founder of Spectro Cloud, a SaaS startup that uniquely enables organizations to manage Kubernetes in production, at scale. Its Palette management platform gives operations teams effortless control of the full Kubernetes lifecycle, across clouds, data centers, bare metal and edge environments. 

Tenry has more than 20 years of experience in system software. Prior to co-founding Spectro Cloud, he most recently led the architecture for Cisco's multi-cloud management and private cloud solutions, after his previous company, CliQr, was acquired by Cisco. He has more than 15 patents in the fields of scalable distributed systems, enterprise system management and security.
Published Wednesday, November 16, 2022 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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