Virtualization Technology News and Information
Kubernetes at a Crossroads: With Great Complexity, Comes Great Risk

As we approach another year of amazing CNCF-backed get-togethers at the annual KubeCon + CloudNativeCon events in Europe and North America, along with an exciting list of (new for 2023) KCDs, it's useful to take an assessment of the overall K8s monitoring landscape.

Over the years that I've been directly involved in cloud observability - from my time as a pure user of open source tools employed to monitor my company's products, to leading strategy at an observability provider - a lot has changed. The massive adoption of Kubernetes serves as a perfect example of how the challenge of monitoring our environments today is radically different than it was just five years ago.

Whereas a loose knit stack of semi-integrated capabilities, or even leading Applications Performance Monitoring solutions were once sufficient in helping us understand enough about our systems to ensure that they were sufficiently healthy - the increased velocity of today's CI/CD practices and the ephemeral, short-lived nature of our microservices architectures have significantly changed the game.

Monitoring (or more accurately, observing) Kubernetes - along with understanding related security implications - have increasingly surfaced as concerns among today's engineering and DevOps practitioners. This is validated in recent research that conducted with around 500 respondents spanning roles from developers to SREs, along with IT directors and executives.

According to our 2023 DevOps Pulse Survey, use of Kubernetes and related observability challenges are growing noticeably each year. Our findings include:

  • When asked about the main challenges in gaining full observability, the largest category of respondents (almost 50%) stated that Kubernetes posed one of their main challenges.
  • Over 41% of survey respondents cited monitoring and observability of K8s as a primary challenge of running Kubernetes in production. Compared to last year, this represents a noticeable increase as only 31% of respondents highlighted this issue in 2022.
  • On the whole, leading observability challenges for those running Kubernetes in production were: aggregating relevant data during troubleshooting, cluster networking, and security. Data collection and visualization also remain pervasive issues.
  • In fact, the research clearly evidenced growing concern about K8s-related security as roughly 50% of respondents agree it's one of the most difficult components of running Kubernetes in production.

As an indicator of how broadly survey respondents are using Kubernetes, in general, over 67% said that they had already implemented it in production with another 23% working to do so.

Moreover, the survey finds that the biggest issue facing today's monitoring and observability teams is that - despite perceptions of growing cloud, DevOps and observability maturity - the all-important metric of mean time to resolution (MTTR) continues to head in the wrong direction. The survey specifically found that MTTR is taking more than a few hours for over 73% of respondents, up noticeably from 64% in 2022 and dramatically from only 47% in 2021.

Clearly this is a very troubling trend, and one might defensibly suggest (I will) that these listed Kubernetes concerns are contributing to this problem. As we continue to embrace and accelerate our use of Kubernetes we need to find better solutions for effectively monitoring, troubleshooting and securing our applications and infrastructure.

In our work with customers at, we also see security monitoring for Kubernetes becoming even more deeply ingrained into observability practice and believe that in the not-so-distant future these requirements will increasingly be tackled in an integrated manner (we may have something to say about this at KubeCon Europe, in fact!).

So, now what? What actions can we, as a community of passionate believers in Kubernetes and open source, undertake to help address this problem? (It's worth noting our survey does find that a whopping 93% of respondents utilize open source tools of some kind for observability.)

Let's talk about it! Let's meet up in person at these fantastic events and bring our creative thinking and innovation to the table. Beyond anything that we as vendors contribute (and is leaning in on easing and simplifying K8s observability and security)... let's work as a community to keep raising the bar.

Thanks for reading this, I hope the data is helpful and please look out for the full DevOps Pulse Report. Let's connect in person at KubeCon + CloudNative in Amsterdam in April!


To learn more about the transformative nature of cloud native applications and open source software, join us at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2023, hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which takes place from April 18-21.


Asaf Yigal Co-Founder and CTO,


Asaf Yigal leads's product vision and strategic direction. Prior to launching in 2014, Yigal was Co-Founder and VP of Product Development at Currensee, acquired by OANDA in 2013, where he served as VP of Product. He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the Israel Institute of Technology.

Published Friday, March 31, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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