Do you really need Kubernetes in your company/startup?

Adrián Norte on June 17, 2019

Let me start saying that I love Kubernetes, I even have a personal one for my things but I'm an experienced DevOps and it is in my spare time. Usu... [Read Full]
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I would even say, that you don't really need Docker at all. Just use some reasonable PaaS platform in the beginning - Heroku, Convox (my favorite), Cloud66.


The problem with PaaS is that they are not really friendly towards the local environment for development and QA.


They also don't consume gigabytes of memory, like docker client does on my Mac machine.

I also don't really need a resemblence with production environment on my local machine, if my architecture is simple enough.

More then that, if system becomes complicated - there is declarative NixOS.

All good points.

Just worth clarifying:

  • Docker itself is not that resource intensive. I have Docker running on Raspberry Pi Zero (512mb ram + single 1ghz arm cpu) hosting a few small home automation projects without a problem. The resource consumption on macos and Windows comes from the virtual machine that Docker manages to host the Docker daemon.
  • Even for small/simple product architecture, you can benefit from Docker in the development workflow, even if your whole architecture is a web app + database.
  • Kubernetes developer tooling is getting better. Now, there are tools that allow you provision lightweight Kubernetes clusters locally (in VMs, or in containers, or directly on Linux hosts)

But, I agree. With all that, you may not need Kubernetes.


Why not? I've used Heroku for tons of Rails apps and also for handful of SPA ones that were developed locally. :thinkingface:

The good thing about a local environment that resembles production to the maximum extent possible is that you are integrating and facing problems that will not be faced in prod. PaaS services just reduce the length of similarity between your environment and the one your app will run on when your clients use it.

Ok. Now I see your point and agreed with it. Giving a second thought to the apps I've deployed to Heroku, they're small ones or in their initial stages. Once they get to be used by real users, they're moved to AWS or Linode.


In general, once you tried Kubernetes in production, you won't go back to Docker Swarm or Docker


I do not deny this, but the key is to be able to answer the "why". So, why do you think so?


What's not to mention. Ecosystem tooling, support from the community, stability of the platform, all the greatest minds passionate about it, real business value, stress-less rollouts etc.

Docker also has a very rich ecosystem tooling, support from the community, stability and great minds being passionate about it and can do everything you say.

What I try to say is to not take things at face value because that is how you get operational costs through the roof.

Costing with Kubernetes is not an issue. For example with Azure you pay for what nodes you use and it can be as little as 30 euro per month. With DO it can be even cheaper. In addition Kubernetes has advanced scheduling algorithms making ideal for parallel jobs or resource optimization problems. You just need to declare the resource constaints for each deployment and Kubernetes will find the best fit. It will work even if a node dies.

Try to do that with Docker and you will find yourself reinventing the wheel and probably with a heftier bill.


You are correct, Kubernetes is very complex. I would only recommend this to a startup or a small company if the following conditions are met:

  • Your system is designed to be scaled into multiple services.
  • You have the budget to learn Docker and Kubernetes.
  • You have the budget to learn and maintain deployment tools for Kubernetes.
  • You have a developer that is experienced and well-versed in Kubernetes OR you have the budget to hire a DevOps K8s expert to maintain your cluster and train your engineering team!

For example, in my current team, I'm their backend developer and also their DevOps guy. I have 3 years of experience in Kubernetes but I still find it hard to teach Kubernetes to developers especially for those that have no experience in containers (Docker).


You haven't Ingress and StorageClass in localhost


In Kubernetes there is a StorageClass for local volumes and you can always try to put Traefik for the Ingress using Helm.


if you are still preparing an MVP to launch and the only thing in your infrastructure is a webserver then you only need a webserver


You would be surprised with the amount of "preparation" some folks do, like prepare to scale to millions with one user while neglecting other things.

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