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Guide to Containers and Kubernetes for Enterprise Leaders

Containers and Kubernetes are becoming increasingly important for building cloud-native applications and enabling multi-cloud deployments. This blog post answers the most common questions that CTOs and technology leaders have about these technologies.

Benefits and Challenges

  • Benefits: Faster development cycles, increased developer productivity, application modernization.
  • Challenges: Skills gap, mature DevOps practices needed, platform selection, measuring ROI, organizational structure.

Key Findings

  • Over 95% of organizations will use containers in production by 2029 (up from less than 50% in 2023).
  • Large cloud providers and container management vendors compete fiercely.
  • Choosing the right platform and measuring ROI are critical for success.


  • Ensure a strong business case and develop a DevOps culture before deploying Kubernetes at scale.
  • Create a platform team to manage platform selection, automation, and collaboration with developers.
  • Consider packaged software or cloud-managed services for easier management and multicloud support.
  • Measure benefits with technical (velocity, release success) and business metrics (growth, cost reduction).

Top 10 FAQs with Answers

1) What are some of the key benefits of containers and Kubernetes?

A: Containers and Kubernetes offer several advantages, including:

  • Faster development and deployment: Containers simplify application packaging, enabling rapid deployments with frequent updates and rollbacks.
  • Consistent environments: Containers ensure consistent application behavior across development, testing, and production environments.
  • Scalability and isolation: Easily scale resources and isolate applications for improved security and stability.
  • Flexibility and choice: Kubernetes is backed by a vast ecosystem, providing flexibility and potentially lowering vendor lock-in.

2: What limitations and challenges should we be aware of?

A: While beneficial, containers and Kubernetes also come with challenges:

  • Platform complexity: Using Kubernetes for simple applications might be overkill due to its inherent complexity.
  • Security concerns: Deploying containers at scale requires new security models, collaboration across teams, and a mature DevSecOps process.
  • Automation and governance: Successful deployments necessitate extensive automation, consistent operations, and upgraded tools and processes.
  • Culture and skills: Building and operating containerized applications requires specific skills across development, security, and operations teams.

3: What are the common use cases for containers and Kubernetes?

A: Containers and Kubernetes are well-suited for various scenarios, including:

  • Microservices architecture: They provide a strong foundation for managing and scaling independent microservices.
  • DevOps enabler: Containers facilitate CI/CD by isolating code, simplifying modification and updates throughout the development lifecycle.
  • Application portability: Containers and Kubernetes enable applications to run consistently across hybrid or multicloud environments.
  • Legacy app modernization: Improve deployment efficiency and isolation for legacy applications.

4: Can commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) applications be deployed in containers?

A: While container support for COTS applications is increasing, it varies by vendor. Some ISVs offer strong Kubernetes support, while others might not, especially for Windows-based or enterprise applications. It’s essential to check with your COTS vendors for their containerization strategy and roadmap.

5: How do we determine which applications are good candidates for containers and Kubernetes?

A: Applications with the following characteristics are good initial candidates for containerization:

  • Few external dependencies
  • Runs on containerized infrastructure and platforms
  • Doesn’t require direct persistent data management
  • Needs frequent code changes or elastic scaling
  • Has a vendor-supported container image (if a COTS application)

6: How do we measure the ROI of our container deployments?

A: Carefully consider both potential benefits and costs to ensure a positive return on investment:


  • Increased developer productivity
  • Faster deployments and improved IT efficiency
  • Reduced operational overhead


  • Container and platform subscriptions
  • Infrastructure acquisition and upgrades
  • Staff training and hiring
  • Rollout and implementation services

7: What skills and roles do we need to succeed with our Kubernetes deployment?

A: The success of your Kubernetes deployment depends on various roles, including:

  • Developers
  • Platform engineers
  • Build and release engineers
  • Security teams
  • Site reliability engineers (SREs)

Close collaboration and shared responsibility between developers and platform teams are crucial for successful container deployments.

8: How do we deploy Kubernetes? What are the pros and cons of various deployment models?

A: There are three main deployment models for Kubernetes:

  1. Public Cloud Container Services: Offered by cloud providers (e.g., AWS EKS, Azure AKS, Google GKE).
    • Pros: Simpler operations, faster deployment, no need to manage Kubernetes master services.
    • Cons: Less control over the environment.
  2. Container Management Software: Packaged software solutions providing Kubernetes with additional features (e.g., Red Hat OpenShift, VMware Tanzu).
    • Pros: Easier consistency across hybrid/multicloud environments.
    • Cons: More complex to manage than cloud services.
  3. SaaS-Based Management Services: Manage Kubernetes clusters across environments (on-premises, multicloud).
    • Pros: Operational simplicity and speed, potentially easier than software-based management.
    • Cons: Vendor lock-in, limited control compared to self-managed options.

Choosing the right model depends on your needs:

  • Public cloud services are ideal for those prioritizing speed and simplicity.
  • Container management software is better for managing complex hybrid/multicloud deployments.
  • SaaS-based management offers a balance between ease of use and control.

Additionally, consider an upstream open-source version for maximum customization, but it requires significant expertise.

9: Who are the key Kubernetes platform vendors and startups?

A: The market includes established players with comprehensive features (listed in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant) and niche vendors with specific strengths:

  • Established Vendors: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Canonical, Google, Huawei, Microsoft, Mirantis, Oracle, Red Hat, SUSE, Tencent, VMware.
  • Startups and Niche Vendors: D2iQ, Giant Swarm, HashiCorp, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), IBM, Kubermatic, Platform9, Rafay Systems, Spectro Cloud.

10: What are the emerging trends around containers and Kubernetes?

A: Several key trends are shaping the future of containers and Kubernetes:

  • VM Convergence: Managing VMs and containers with a unified platform (e.g., projects like KubeVirt).
  • Stateful Application Support: Increased use of containers for stateful applications, enabled by Kubernetes features like Persistent Volumes (PVs) and APIs.
  • Edge Computing: Leveraging containers’ lightweight nature for edge environments, with distributed cloud offerings from vendors and bare-metal deployments gaining traction.
  • Serverless Convergence: Cloud providers offering serverless options for containerized applications (e.g., AWS Fargate, Azure Container Instances). Serverless functions are also increasingly supporting container images.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Intersection of AI and containers in two ways:
    • New projects like Kubeflow for orchestrating AI workflows within Kubernetes.
    • Large language models for automating and simplifying Kubernetes deployments and operations.

Emerging Trends

  • VM convergence: Managing VMs and containers with a unified approach.
  • Stateful application support: Running stateful workloads in containers with Kubernetes.
  • Edge computing: Utilizing containers for lightweight edge deployments.
  • Serverless convergence: Running containers in a serverless environment.
  • Artificial intelligence: Using AI to automate Kubernetes deployments and operations.

In Conclusion

Understanding the potential and challenges of containers and Kubernetes empowers leaders to make informed decisions for a competitive advantage.

Reference to the Article- Kubermatic

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