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Combining software development and IT operations, DevOps helps to shorten systems development and enable continuous delivery while improving software quality. It goes hand-in-hand with agile software development. As such, it’s no surprise that the DevOps market was valued at $ 6.78 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $57.90 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 24.2% during that period.

There isn’t an industry that requires IT and developers that won’t benefit from the practices, skill sets and automated tooling inherent in DevOps. What’s more, I don’t know of an industry that hasn’t adopted DevOps, so its continued growth in 2023 and beyond will result from deeper and broader penetration inside organizations across all industries.

2023-devops-adoptation

Kubernetes will also expand, because it’s one aspect of DevOps tooling that nearly two-thirds of organizations are using today. Kubernetes represents a new industry standard for application management that is vendor-independent, enabling choice and cost savings, along with support for multi-cloud for infrastructure provider agnosticism and consistent operations. Kubernetes disrupts how enterprise applications are managed while providing cloud native capabilities for application modernization.

Recent research from CNCF shows that Kubernetes is growing consistently among respondents, particularly within the smaller and largest companies. More recently, the platform has been deployed in smaller and remote installations, for example at the network’s edge and IoT (airplanes, oil drilling sites, telecom towers, etc.). Organizations in the military, energy and telecom industries require scale at the edge and benefit greatly from application modernization with containers running on Kubernetes.

Given the rapid movement of advanced technology and new avenues opening up within the storage and backup space, Kubernetes also faces some formidable challenges in the near future. Using Kubernetes requires developers to acquire new skills, tooling and practices; there’s a steep learning curve, as well as substantial cost and time required, along with a great deal of cultural adoption. Change can take time, but when the motivation is there, there is progress.

Let’s take a look at some of the drivers that will enable continued adoption, both with organizations already leveraging Kubernetes in a DevOps environment, and organizations that are just getting started.

Closing the Skills Gap

One major issue in the Kubernetes and DevOps space is the growing gap between the demand for Kubernetes skills as more enterprises implement the platform, and the low supply of skilled workers who specialize in Kubernetes and containers. For example, 64% of attendees at KubeCon 2022 in Detroit were first-time attendees. Not only does this signal a growing interest in Kubernetes, but a need to ramp up key skills and knowledge so they can use it effectively. 

While the Kubernetes skills gap will be an ongoing concern, learning platforms are emerging to help close the gap. For example, Kasten by Veeam’s KubeCampus provides a wide variety of professionally vetted labs on Kubernetes storage, security, observability and application consistency, aimed to serve both pros and newcomers in the cloud native community.

Technology & Tooling

Kubernetes brings a declarative approach that supports the separation of concerns to  – storage, networking, security, compute and operations – with a cloud native environment that fosters developer adoption via APIs and operational adoption via observability and automation. While traditional tools and technologies have not been built for cloud native development, new Kuberenetes-native tooling, such as Kasten K10 for backup and recovery, will compensate for lack of specialized skills and expedite time to market, while providing management oversight and efficiencies.

There are many new developments and partnerships in this space bringing even more capabilities to the fast growing Kubernetes platform. For example, VMware has invested in Tanzu, a modular, cloud native application platform, and Red Hat has released OpenShift virtualization, bringing VMs into the Kubernetes environment. Many developments have been announced around edge deployments of Kubernetes, as well. These technological advancements are helping to change the culture within organizations using Kubernetes and boost adoption.

Learning and operating Kubernetes-native tools will provide immense benefits, and organizations should push for operational simplicity when selecting these tools. It’s also critical to work with technology vendors that you can trust.

Sound DevOps Processes and Best Practices

For widespread Kubernetes adoption to take place, sound DevOps processes must be operationalized across the organization. Most of the time, problems occur because organizations haven’t implemented processes and best practices for application development and management.

Take security, for example. The majority of cyber attacks are Day-2 attacks, and they’re the result of known vulnerabilities. This means you can prevent them. Additionally many new Kubernetes users confuse resiliency with backup and recovery, and they may assume that just because the platform is in the cloud, it’s secure. However, there’s no point-in-time recovery for example, with resiliency – you need reliable and regular backups as well.

Declarative policies can help prevent mismanagement pitfalls by baking in must-have policies before an application is introduced into a production cluster. For example, you can ensure you have immutability in place and that backups – your last line of defense – are scheduled to run automatically at regular intervals. You can also implement a policy to ensure disaster recovery resources are performed in a different region from your backups. Such declarative policies ensure nothing slips through the cracks and helps to institutionalize best practices for management and security.

Bet on the Right Horse

When putting in the people, technologies and processes in place to support Kubernetes adoption in your organization, it’s important to make smart investments. Keep in mind, there have been about 1,000 global “unicorns” in the private software space over the last 10 years, but only 200 public software companies are valued at over a billion dollars. In other words, a new shiny object that seems like a safe bet today may not stand the test of time. 

If you’re going to purchase a solution to support your Kubernetes deployment, look for vendors that have solid backing and a proven track record, even if they’re not yet public. Working with a trusted vendor to implement the right tooling and processes is an essential step to leveraging Kubernetes and DevOps for all the benefits they promise.

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