This article was written to business leaders of Saas and Fintech companies considering migrating to-, scaling, and/or optimizing their Kubernetes infrastructure and operations in 2021.
I suggest the time is now to stop thinking of Kubernetes as a luxury toy for the rich and consider it "just part of your toolbox", that needs no particular expert attention.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is a portable, extensible, open-source platform for managing containerized workloads and services, that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation. It has a large, rapidly growing ecosystem. Kubernetes services, support, and tools are widely available. But Kubernetes alone is not enough. It leaves plenty of options in the hands of its users. Kubernetes is a platform for building platforms.
What Is A Kubernetes-based Container Platform?
A Kubernetes-based Container Platform should enable your company to accelerate your software development while dramatically reducing the complexity Kubernetes is notorious for. At Red Kubes, we have defined 36 aspects that make up a full-blown enterprise-ready Container Platform that actually delivers what Kubernetes promises.
As a small-medium business, you will often try to tackle Kubernetes in-house with a DIY platform-building approach. But many SMB’s get false positive feedback when they experience that setting up a Kubernetes cluster is very easy (check this 10-minute tutorial video out). But the complex part starts after installation. Then you will enter an extremely steep learning curve and probably quickly abandon the do-it-yourself way due to the high effort and know-how required.
Others will try to create half-solutions that are easy to start with but very expensive to scale and maintain. Some developers and architects would claim that solutions such as Rancher would help. Rancher does have advantages for companies who would like to scale operations but it focuses mainly on the Kubernetes cluster management, not on the application side. The companies that are successful with Kubernetes have 2 things in common: they have very deep pockets and have dedicated senior technical talent who are seasoned in cloud-native solutions.
More and more companies hire consultants to build a custom Container Platform solution for them for 2 main reasons:
Cloud-native infrastructure and the harnessing of Kubernetes are both infrastructural and cultural challenges
A company will need a clear scope, vision, and direction when migrating to-, scaling, or optimizing their Kubernetes operations. Consultants can definitely deliver both
But in our experience, building a custom Container Platform will rarely take less than 3-6 months for 2 or more engineers and thus will cost a lot of time and money.
We have built a lot of custom Kubernetes-based Container Platforms so we speak from experience. After years working as consultants we have realized that after the handover you will start slowly realizing 2 things:
You need to build an added value layer on top of Kubernetes to be successful, but you derived NO particular competitive advantage from just "having" such a layer that takes a lot of time and money to create
Worse yet, once the consultant experts finish their contract you will have trouble finding someone with the right skills to take over the internal management of your shiny new platform solution
The Kubernetes marketplace is still a very fractured, always shifting scene full of point solutions. Many consultancies will suggest picking some of the mentioned aspects with a "glue-like-code" solution, but rarely all of them. They will deliver you some of what Kubernetes offers without confusing your Developers too much.
But what if you had the option to harness the full spectrum of powers of Kubernetes with an enterprise-grade turnkey platform solution without the big investment?
Red Kubes has been working on it for the past couple of years. We have spent years building custom and tailored container platforms for clients just like you. Once we realized that all we were doing is repeating the same thing over and over again we saw an opportunity.
Our vision was to create a turnkey added value layer on top of Kubernetes that sets sane defaults, employs best practices, sets up guardrails for your development teams, and delivers it all in one package.
This vision became reality with the release of the "Plug-and-play" Otomi Container Platform in 2020.
We are VERY early to this market
So much so that today in early 2021 the estimated value of Otomi to your company is approximately around half a million euros in the first 2 years. This simulation takes into account the concept, level of execution, senior architects, a dedicated team, all the tools, and other costs into account without the added value to your day-to-day business. And we are making this available for only a fraction of the price when you would try to build something yourself. Now we make Kubernetes available for the masses.
Here are some cool questions and reactions we have received in the past couple of months:
"What will my DevOps people do from the day we start using Otomi? Will they be jobless?"
I was actually shocked when I first heard this question. What Otomi does in essence is create and enforce all of the best practices of Kubernetes in a holistic way, thus abstract ALL the infrastructure complexity away from your DevOps so they can do their actual jobs.
"Otomi seems to be like a solution for development teams who want to play around with Kubernetes. We use Rancher."
We hear this quite a lot. In reality, not Rancher or even OpenShift is our competitor. As a matter of fact, Otomi can be installed on top of these providers in order to manage Kubernetes operations and save money. Our vision was to give a full and flexible solution to all of Kubernetes’ challenges and development teams.
We did not come to the market to please management teams, but to deliver a complete DevSecOps Kubernetes added value layer on top of Kubernetes for your company as a whole.
The WordPress analogy
And finally here are some reasons not to develop your website from scratch.
Sorry, did I say "website"? I meant Container Platform! Well, the comparison is correct. Before 2003 most people who wanted to publish their content and build a website for any purpose would pay a considerable amount of money for a web developer to create their site from scratch. Then WordPress came along. Today, WordPress is powering approximately 40% of the world’s websites, from cat video blogs to the most robust sites of corporations such as Sony, the New York Post, and NBC.
WordPress is one of only 3 services that are free to download and use, and has many beginner-friendly features and benefits. In one sentence: WordPress enabled people to just do web development for any reason at all. It lowered the bar to the world of publishing and gave almost everyone a "seat at the table" of media.
Why is this relevant?
WordPress is to Web Development what Otomi is to Kubernetes
Otomi lowered the bar to the world of SMBs and allowed them to have a level of Kubernetes infrastructure that resembles that of what Gmail runs on.
Otomi has already enabled teams at Dutch City councils, the Dutch National Railways, and other Saas and FinTech Companies to rapidly move their game up to levels unheard of before. Otomi has an open-source version, and so you can try it for FREE. We should look at Kubernetes and treat it for what it is: an infrastructure component.
In conclusion, just as almost nobody should develop their very own CRM and nobody should develop their very own million-dollar infrastructure jewel. That jewel in itself holds no business value but more often than not just creates massive technical debt on the account of the standing organization and day-to-day business tasks.
If you think we made sense, then let’s connect on www.redkubes.com.