February 21, 2023
The Kubernetes platform is still developing and has significantly impacted users. IT experts have projected the following developments to take place in the next year:
Kubernetes has been an open-source project for less than ten years and has now developed rapidly in the tech world.
According to Gordon Haff, a technology evangelist working at Red Hat, “Kubernetes’ potential as a base platform is quite developed. However, that does not mean that change is not continually happening on and around the platform.”
Certainly, Kubernetes—the orchestration platform—is not new to the IT experts and teams that rely on it. Nonetheless, we can expect so much more development to take place on the platform.
So, what changes can we expect as Kubernetes nears its eighth anniversary since its 1.0 launch in July 2015? We talked to Haff and other IT leaders and professionals to understand the developments they envision happening in the near future. Below is what they said.
Greater Attention Will Be On Improving Simplicity And Usability
As many IT experts talk of Kubernetes’ powerful abilities, they also recognize that users and teams learning to use the platform often have difficulty performing simple tasks.
According to Haff, the complexity of the platform was a clear theme at KubeCon and CloudNativeCon North America in October. As Raff recalls, Dave Zolotusky, principal engineer at Spotify, made a similar observation during a media roundtable event on developer experience. Dave said, “Kubernetes has now become too complex to use. Kubernetes must focus on improving the user experience to unlock its growth.”
This challenge is about to be addressed. Haff continues: “A major limiting factor with developer and operator experience is that certain operations need many buttons and knobs to execute. However, in 2023, we expect a greater focus on making it easy to implement basic use cases.”
Improved usability and simplicity are vital goals in and of themselves, and the need to achieve them is likely to be heightened as economic challenges compel companies to freeze hiring and institute headcount reductions. With teams stretched thin, greater usability will be demanded to boost efficiency.
Stacy Tumarkin, head of operations at Kubercost, notes, “We do not expect Kubernetes migrations and scale to reduce; however, in the next year, developers and engineers will be expected to accomplish more using fewer resources. For this reason, greater emphasis will be placed on the plans Kubernetes has for its automation and optimization processes.”
Tumarkin anticipates that interest in internal developer platforms (IDPs) will increase as changes occur to make it simple for developers to use and manage Kubernetes resources. These changes will happen simultaneously as a more complete structure for running Kubernetes is made.
Tumarkin says, “Organizations can help developers avoid the platform’s complexity and common problems by giving them more detailed instructions and policies for managing Kubernetes resources at scale.”
Kubernetes Implements Edge Computing
A closely related pattern is coming up with a different form of distributed architecture called edge computing. Kubernetes is not designed for use by server clusters and clouds only. However, it is also ideal for the vastly distributed nature of edge environments, where IT teams will likely be providing support to hundreds or thousands of new nodes.
Enterprise IT teams are looking for a way to extend the automation and standardization they rely on in their cloud and data center environments to edge computing. Using Kubernetes, which is ideally suited for edge devices, is one of the most effective ways of accomplishing this objective.
“Kubernetes will draw more interest on the peripheral edge devices as the availability of variations optimized and designed for these devices increases,” says E.G. Nadhan, who is the global chief architect head at Red Hat.
Are You Looking For A Service Mesh? Service Meshes Are Better
Over the last several years, the service mesh concept has become widely popular for its ability to connect the vastly distributed cloud-native world. However, the underlying value of the service mesh has mostly stayed the same.
Alex Meijer, infrastructure lead at Corsha, notes that “service meshes offer several features such as observability, service discovery, and security without asking for code changes from an app.” He continues, “These features cannot be accessed when one exits the service mesh and joins the open internet or a third-party or separate network.”
Consequently, Meijer expects the service mesh to get the federation treatment, which may imply that the mesh becomes more meshed.
Meijer further says, “We will see plenty more use of the federated service meshes, with Company A’s mesh directly linking with Company B’s mesh. Several major service mesh implementations are providing support at different stages for multi-mesh and even a few meshes that cover various ownership domains.”
Industry Verticals Adopt Kubernetes To Transform Their Businesses
Not many industrial sectors can withstand market disruption in the digital space. For this reason, many industrial players are constantly exploring opportunities to profit from this digital transformation.
Industrial sectors that have invested substantially in legacy IT, including the vast majority of industries, are starting to realize the value of Kubernetes as an important component of their digital transformation for the coming year. However, cloud-native unicorns alone cannot dominate this sphere.
For example, look at the retail sector, an extremely dynamic industry, as noted by Iain Boyle, Red Hat’s chief architect for retail. In this sector, digital transformation is critical for business operations.
Boyle says, “As profits are diminishing, costs are rapidly growing, and supply chains become more complex, retailers are continually in need of solutions that enable them to serve their customers more effectively. The significance of Kubernetes in the digital transformation of IT systems is key for any retailer wishing to adopt quick, reliable, and safe improvements to boost business performance.
The Community Will Be Prepared To Deal With Security Threats
For some time now, software supply chain security issues have come under sharp scrutiny—remember, many pieces of software are produced from other pieces of software and the bits and pieces they are made of.
As Kubernetes’ link in that chain becomes larger and more exposed, we will need to make sure it is strong enough.
Meijer says that, in 2023, we can expect increased focus to be directed towards Kubernetes’ supply chain security. But, he continues, “I am seeing people continually understand that Solarwinds-type breaches are likely to occur almost anywhere.”
Some of the developments Meijer expects to see include increased container image signing and verification, such as the cosign feature that was incorporated in Kubernetes 1.24, the signing of Helm charts, and an increased focus on hardening and securing the underlying cluster/node.
Reviewing projection #1, “improving simplicity and usability,” this objective will get the support it needs from tools that make security more effective. According to Robert Batson, who is the infrastructure engineer working at Corsha, an example of such a tool is the Sigstore’s admission controller.
Batson says, “These tools can provide supply chain security to the clusters that host the applications and join a class of tools to provide clusters with the support they need such as security and observability in the traditional sense.”
Application Of Kubernetes And Java
Java has perhaps drawn the most divergent opinions from developers and IT experts: For a long time now, it has played a significant role in programming, but many still wonder if it is thriving or failing.
You may seek the answers for yourself; however, it undeniably has an important position in the enterprise IT sector, despite the fact that Java-based systems usually get the “legacy” tag compared to recent languages such as Go, Python, and Rust. Therefore, Kubernetes is mostly written in Go, and Java and Kubernetes rarely get discussed together.
According to Kim Weins, VP of Products, Vaadin, she sees this situation changing as a greater number of companies start to adopt more specific cloud rationalization strategies.
Weins says, “I see organizations progressively move from these Java applications to operate in Kubernetes, with the aim of supporting cloud-native capabilities like high availability, horizontal scalability, and rolling updates.”
There are notable instances where it is more logical to containerize Java applications and manage them with Kubernetes. However, not all workload is suitable, and Weins reinforces the need for adopting intentional modernization choices.
Wein says, “Organizations must stay disciplined when it comes to Java modernization using Kubernetes. Most companies chasing after this strategy in 2023 must understand if their Java workloads are an ideal fit for Kubernetes and containerization, the exact goals of the modernization strategy, and the perfect migration path to attain these objectives.”
Looking At Kubernetes and Quantum In 2023 And Beyond
As far as making these predictions is concerned, let’s go on and look further into the future. Here is how Nadhan from Red Hat sees Kubernetes developing now and into the indefinite future: Kubernetes will ensure quantum computing becomes a reality.
Nathan says, “Already, quantum has a key role in the future of computing, and Kubernetes will help to improve access to quantum acceleration on the cloud via an open-source co-processor model. This change will bring about a new set of difficult challenges that can be addressed through the application of quantum.”