Kubernetes has become a household name for container orchestration. There is no denying that it has risen to become an ideal solution for many developers. But is Kubernetes truly flawless? On the contrary, you can go from being enthusiastic about the possibilities Kubernetes offers to being frustrated trying to resolve the many issues that come up along the way. This is why an increasing number of organizations have begun to look for more easy-to-use Kubernetes alternatives. This article highlights the need for these alternatives and puts forward a strong contender to replace Kubernetes.
The Problem Kubernetes Tried to Solve
Kubernetes was originally developed by Google as an open-source version of Borg, their overly-complex container management platform, but has since evolved into a global movement. It is currently controlled by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and maintained by a large community of contributors.
Kubernetes has become the de-facto standard for automating software deployments, container management, and infrastructure scaling. It runs containerized applications with built-in defaults for replicas and autoscaling to ensure they are healthy, online, and can scale quickly.
At the core of any Kubernetes infrastructure is the container, which strips away the unnecessary parts of the VM such as the hypervisor, and wraps just the necessary components of the OS and application into an uncluttered and tidy package.
Challenges That Cause Organizations to Seek an Alternative
1. Kubernetes Can Be Overkill
Most organizations do not operate at the scale of Google or Facebook. We’re talking 18 data centers, covering 40M square feet, at a cost of $20B. According to McAfee, “companies with fewer than 1,000 employees run an average of 22 custom applications.” Agreed, these applications still need modern technologies and approaches to manage them effectively. However, the technical prowess of Kubernetes is overkill and can even become a distraction from the applications themselves.
2. Kubernetes Is Trying Too Hard
The original purpose of Kubernetes was a fairly simple one – “run distributed systems resiliently.” But this simple purpose seems to have gotten too muddled up in the present scenario. Even Google comments that ‘uses struggle to configure Kubernetes correctly,’ and tools like Istio are challenging to set up and get started with. Kubernetes is trying to solve too many problems leading to the platform being pulled in too many directions.
3. High Cost of Ownership and Upkeep
Even though Kubernetes is free to use, it is an enormously expensive product. It has the hidden costs of managing infrastructure as well as optimizing workloads that run on it. So, Kubernetes is expensive in terms of the amount of time you spend keeping it in shape.
4. Difficult and Cumbersome Transition
Migrating to Kubernetes is a daunting and difficult endeavor. To succeed at this, you will need to refactor either a few parts or the entirety of your architecture. You will also need a huge team just to ensure the Kubernetes clusters are running. And even if you manage to build a well-maintained Kubernetes setup, there is still a mountain of work to be done to go from a basic cluster to a dependable production environment.
What Are People Looking For?
An Opinionated Approach to Container and Cloud Orchestration
In trying to be all things to all people in the software world, Kubernetes has become too complex. The charm of Kubernetes has worn off enough for people to start looking into alternatives that offer an opinionated approach to container orchestration.
An Easier Way to Get Started
Various tools are built to help work with and manage the intricacies of Kubernetes. Different parts of Kubernetes require additional tools that complement it. This means that you have to learn to operate multiple mini-tools before you can even begin to run applications in production Kubernetes clusters. This workload is compounded when you try to deploy across multiple infrastructure providers. Many want to be relieved of this learning process and piece together tons of different tools just to get started. Any alternative that can help avoid this mess is a welcome change.
Developers Being Able to Build Without a DevOps Team
When it comes to working with a system infamously known for its complexity, the build process can slow down significantly. This is because getting used to the Kubernetes development workflow can be quite difficult for developers who haven’t worked with infrastructure before. Additionally, even developers that are quite familiar with the framework require a Kubernetes expert and a DevOps team to help them get past the various bottlenecks they run into. This ends up reducing productivity and extending release cycles. Therefore, organizations are looking for ways to eliminate the developer dependency on DevOps teams. They want to give developers the flexibility and autonomy to access the resources they need when they need them.
Why Use Cycle as an Alternative to Kubernetes?
Kubernetes has dominated the container management space for years before the need for an alternative was fully realized. This need has led to the rise of new solutions that can do what Kubernetes does without the hassle and complexity. One such solution is Cycle.io, a low-ops platform built for developers that stands tall as a rival against Kubernetes.
Cycle combes powerful container orchestration with preconfigured services, automated networking, infrastructure management, a full DNS solution, and image management. It helps deliver platform updates to all servers automatically. The cycle also lets you deploy your own infrastructure from any of the supported providers. So, you can own your infrastructure, data, and applications across any cloud service provider without being locked into any one of them. The cycle is completely OCI (Open Container Initiative) compliant and focuses on prioritizing quality over quantity.
For years, Kubernetes has been the hot topic that everyone has clamored to adopt. So, it’s only fair to get swept away by its popularity. But, it’s important to remember that container orchestration is about solving a technology problem your business faces. You need to figure out what are the issues you want to solve, the pain points you are looking to target, and whether you really need Kubernetes. After you answer these questions, you should look at Kubernetes alongside other simpler and more effective options like Cycle and weigh the hard and soft costs of each option. I hope this article serves as a guide to help you gain a new perspective and make the right decision for your organization.