The Kubernetes Market in 2018

Not long ago, I overheard the Jetstack team chatting about recent changes in the market and the increasingly widespread adoption of Kubernetes. Only when I reflected to write this did I realise that we have been saying the same thing every few months for the past year.


Indeed, the Kubernetes market shows no sign of slowing down. Jetstack alone has tripled in size as we scale to cater to demand, KubeCon has gone from a couple of hundred in a small room to 4000 in a vast conference centre, and recent announcements have seen millions of dollars pour into the space as companies like Cisco and VMWare announce strategic investments.

And all of this is for good reason. We regularly see customers make huge reductions in cloud spend (75% in some cases), and vast improvements in project delivery times (up to 10x faster). I’m personally looking forward to hearing more of these stories as Kubernetes permeates the market in 2018.

As we are in the early stages of what promises to be another exciting year for Kubernetes, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on some of the major themes I have seen develop whilst running a professional service devoted to the project.


1.) Kubernetes has won the container management war

Defensive internal battles have been fought and lost. Amazon announced EKS, Docker now supports Kubernetes natively, and an ecosystem has been forged which will only grow stronger in magnitude as the ISVs and vendors start to build for ‘Kubernetes first.’

2.) Amongst early adopters, the conversation is changing from build to operations

In recent months, queries for Production Readiness Reviews and Advanced Operations Training have exploded. It may only be for smaller services, or as a pilot project, but teams are fast gearing up for what it takes to run Kubernetes in production.

Jetstack has worked towards updating our services to cater to this demand, and we have been developing training and operational playbooks as part of a subscription. This is the first step towards a suite of products and services that will help teams trying to get up to speed on Kubernetes.

We thank companies like Monzo for their openness in sharing what can go wrong in production, and how you can try to avoid situations like this.

3.) Multi-cloud is the ultimate aim for Jetstack customers

There’s no doubt that for certain customers the ease of GKE is a no-brainer, and for others, buying into a ready-made container platform like OpenShift is the best way to unlock Kubernetes value. However, for the vast majority of Jetstack customers, the ultimate goal is working with upstream Kubernetes in the most consistent way they can across multiple environments. The drivers for this are varied, but the major reasons we see include:

  • Ensuring their teams properly understand the components of Kubernetes and don’t hide it via a service. The big concern is that their operators are able to cope with production issues effectively.
  • Making the most of existing on-prem environments.
  • Regulatory reasons (mainly seen in banks, and used as a way to reduce risk of reliance on one cloud environment).
  • Fear of being locked into a cloud service.
  • OEM deployments for target customers with varying requirements.

Whilst working with a number of clients, notably CompareTheMarket, Jetstack was able to open source Tarmak, which is a suite of tools developed to give customers a cloud-agnostic way of delivering best-practice Kubernetes clusters. Read our Introducing Tarmak blog post for an in-depth discussion of its current features and design.


4.) Stateful services are still a thorny issue

In a perfect world, customers would run their stateful apps alongside stateless apps in Kubernetes, for deployment and management consistency. Sadly, for many people the complexities of running distributed systems within Kubernetes means they are often kept outside of the cluster.

Jetstack is working closely with a number of companies to build on Kubernetes and its machinery to provide databases in-cluster. We’ve integrated Elasticsearch for a European telco, Couchbase with Amadeus, and we are now actively working on Cassandra. If you’re interested in containerised database-as-a-service, take a look at Navigator. State will certainly be a part of the Kubernetes conversation this year.

5.) IT decision makers look further up the stack towards applications

Jetstack has started to receive its first queries around service mesh and serverless functionality on Kubernetes. We are delighted to be kicking off our first large-scale Istio project this month, and are closely analysing platforms like OpenFaaS and Kubeless.


Whether you’re part of the Kubernetes community or not, one thing is for certain: Kubernetes is now impossible to ignore.

So no matter if you’re a technical architect, a CIO, or a software vendor, it’s time to get involved, and become a part of the movement to automate your IT infrastructure.


Matt Barker and the Jetstack team.

This year, Jetstack is looking to expand into Europe: If you want to work on a variety of exciting Kubernetes projects, get in touch: [email protected].

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