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DoKC 2023 Predictions: Kubernetes Adoption To Rise Because of Data Workloads


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

Kubernetes Adoption To Rise Because of Data Workloads

By Sylvain Kalache

Even though 2023 will mark the 10th anniversary of Docker starting the container revolution, I still remember how excited I was about this novel concept. Back then, I was working at LinkedIn as a senior site reliability engineer. We wanted to see how we could use containers to scale SlideShare infrastructure, displaying 3 billion slides a month.

The need for orchestration quickly became apparent, and while Kubernetes was just one among many orchestrators, it has since become the tool of choice for organizations using containers. Next year will be an eventful year for the Kubernetes industry as companies are moving their data workloads to it.

Kubernetes will embrace stateful workloads

While the use of containers and adoption of Kubernetes is already established - with up to 94% of surveyed organizations reporting that they deploy some applications on it - most of the time, it's primarily stateless workloads. I predict that organization's share of workloads running on Kubernetes will drastically increase in 2023.

Indeed, Kubernetes was initially designed to handle stateless workloads and considered storage an ephemeral component of the stack. Seeing data vanish every time a container was terminated forced organizations to run their data workloads outside of Kubernetes. However, the community made significant efforts to address this and came up with additional features such as Statefulsets and Storage Class. On top of that, software vendors noticed the trend and rose to the challenge by making their stateful products cloud-native.

As companies can move any type of workload - including stateful ones - to the container orchestration tool, they will further standardize. A recent report found that 62% of organizations planned to increase their Kubernetes data workloads by at least 30% in the next year.

The number of Kubernetes operators will skyrocket

While moving data workloads to Kubernetes is pretty straightforward, operating them (also known as day-2 operations) isn't as easy. Indeed, tasks such as patching, upgrading, backup and restoring need to be done according to every technology need. For example, applying a patch on a MongoDB cluster differs from how it is done on a CockroachDB one. And Kubernetes has no way of knowing it all. That's where Kubernetes operators come into play.

Operators expand the functionalities of Kubernetes to perform tasks it cannot natively handle. And most of the time, it has to do with these day-2 operations. The OperatorHub lists 282 of them; I predict this number to drastically increase in 2023, as using an operator is a must for organizations with sophisticated data on Kubernetes needs.

The lack of talent will increase

Moving data workloads to Kubernetes is worth it. Organizations report up to twofold increased productivity thanks to it, leading them to further want to standardize on the platform. That's why I predict the need for Kubernetes talent to increase drastically in 2023. With already up to 98% of organizations planning to invest in Kubernetes training to fill the talent gap, this trend isn't going anywhere anytime soon. 

What's more, finding senior enough talent will become increasingly hard as Kubernetes's complexity leads to a steep learning curve. As of today, Kubernetes engineers already have an average salary of $150k in the US, compared to $110k for a regular software engineer. Compensation numbers for this type of talent will continue to grow.

Using Kubernetes will no longer be an engineering gimmick 

Software engineers tend to be attracted by the latest, shiniest technology, and oftentimes, company leaders might pay little attention as long as they deliver on the technical goals. That might have been the case for Kubernetes, but I predict it will no longer be. The Data on Kubernetes 2022 Report found that a majority (83%) attribute over 10% of their revenue to running data on Kubernetes. I predict CEOs and CFOs will notice of the trend and ask their teams to further standardize on Kubernetes.

Kubernetes will go under the hood

While organizations will further increase their use of Kubernetes, I believe many of them will do it via managed services. One of the main reasons is Kubernete's complexity. For organizations with simple needs or small engineering teams, running Kubernetes themselves might be a challenge they are not interested in pursuing. A recent report found that 47% of organizations mentioned that container orchestration complexity is slowing down their use of containers.

Kubernetes is seen by many as the next Linux, as a platform that will allow organizations to run any workload, anywhere, seamlessly. As software vendors built solutions on top of Linux, we can see how the same trend could happen for Kubernetes and for the platform to be found anywhere.




Sylvain Kalache is the founder of Holberton School, where he designed the system administration part of the curriculum that trained students who got hired as SRE by companies like Google, Tesla, Apple, and Facebook. He was part of the DevOps team that led SlideShare to be acquired by LinkedIn in 2012. He currently provides PR services for tech companies.

Published Friday, December 09, 2022 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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