Most organizations use Kubernetes and microservices but challenges keep that use limited

A new survey sponsored by Volterra finds while almost 9 in 10 organizations use cloud-native apps, the vast majority don’t run many business apps on Kubernetes or on microservices.

Mark Weiner, Volterra’s CMO

Today, distributed cloud services provider Volterra  is releasing the results of a new survey on cloud-native app, Kubernetes and microservices adoption. In a nutshell, the survey found that while most organizations today do use Kubernetes and microservices, most don’t use them very much. While some of this is the normal result of new technologies working their way through the adoption curve from DevOp elites through to production, some of it is not, and it the result of the problems in securing and connecting these complex new environments.

“I’ve done infrastructure for 30 plus years, and I saw a similar core trend in the early 2000s when apps went from fat client server to Webified,” said Mark Weiner, Volterra’s CMO. “That was a huge development that drove a major change to application delivery. I was at NetScaler then, a pioneer in that space. Since then, those architecture changes from 2003-2005 haven’t changed much. Now, however, we are seeing this same trend reoccurring with microservices.”

The problem, Weiner said, is that while the industry oohs and ahhs at the many advantages of technologies like Kubernetes and microservices, the fact that they are complex and hard to manage trends to get overlooked.

“One of the challenges in going to microservices is you have chopped up apps like a jigsaw puzzle,” he stated. “Things are different. I recently gave a talk to a room and asked how many are doing multiple providers for a single app – and two hands went up. It is hard to connect these properly and to secure them properly, across clusters. DevOps has to play systems integrator to do it. They need to glue 4-5-6 apps together to make the app run, and it’s taking a quarter of their overall time.”

Weiner said that this situation is ideal for channel partners, although the task requires skill and training.

“It’s ideal for the channel to act like system integrators,” he indicated. “With app delivery, we had to train partners and it was hard. Now, it’s even a more complex architecture, with a jigsaw puzzle distributed all over the place. The channel partner gets to act like an SI, gluing things together getting recurring revenues, and adding more strategic SI-like value.”

The survey, which was conducted by research firm Propeller Insights, polled over 300 IT decision makers across the U.S. 83% of respondents worked at mid-market companies with between 500–5,000 staff, while the rest worked at large enterprises with over 5,000 employees. Around 90% of these decision makers worked in DevOps roles.

The first finding was that cloud-native app adoption has become mainstream, with 86% of respondents saying their organization is actively using or have started using cloud-native apps today. Cloud native apps here is defined as modular container apps, which might or might not be microservices based. It’s not referring to apps like Office 365.

The survey then noted that while over half of organizations are using Kubernetes in some capacity, only 10% of organizations run half or more of their business apps on it.

“Some of this is due to process, with adoption winding its way through to product, but its also a very complex process, and DevOps has so much responsibility stacked on it,” Weiner said. “That’s why 25% of their time is just running and provisioning this. DevOps wants to be superagile but there is so much they have to do, in a way that there wasn’t in more monolithic app environments.” DevOps teams have most of the burden of planning and managing Kubernetes infrastructure and operations: 67% said DevOps chose the networking and security solutions for their Kubernetes environments, while 63% say DevOps managed them.

“While there are early adopters, it’s still not really the majority yet,” said Daniel Hua, Volterra’s COO.  “This is always a trend – and was even with the older technology, at the beginning, because of business motivations.”

The survey also reported that security and connectivity challenges are also preventing organizations from using microservices for more of their business apps: 57% of respondents said less than 10% of all their business apps are based on microservices architecture, while 88% said  that less than 25% of business apps are based on it. A majority [58%] said the growing volume of APIs in modern cloud-native apps is causing them problems

“These data points show that the problem is real,” Weiner said. “It was the same thing when apps got Webified. You have to take a different approach, so you don’t have a giant time sink. You have to reassess how you run your infrastructure.  Today, you can’t do things the way you did with your Web apps. That’s why startups like us get funding. and why bigger companies have to reassess how they do things. There are new tools coming out that they have to look at.”

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