Kubernetes as a Service — Because the Real Value is in Day 2 Operations

You know it, and so does your CTO: container technology, and the multi-cloud portability it enables, will accelerate your organization’s digital transformation, improve speed-to-market and likely save money doing it.

You know that Kubernetes has become the top choice to manage, automate and scale containers.

You also know that your team is already maxed out — and you’re not alone. As the pace of technology innovation continues its breakneck speed, in-house IT teams have become overwhelmed, attempting to hire and train to keep up.

Stop. It’s no longer necessary to try and manage everything in house. There’s a reason “as a service” has permeated every aspect of our lives, from infrastructure and software to cars and meals; the economics have shifted such that the opportunity costs of doing it all yourself no longer makes sense.

That’s why Rackspace now offers Kubernetes-as-a-Service. We provide the industry’s best customer experience, from getting started to ongoing operations and support, all delivered as-a-service in a highly-available and secure by default enterprise-ready solution offering superior economics.

Why containers

Enterprises are facing increasing competitive pressure to move faster, innovate faster and control costs while navigating their digital transformation. They need flexible, efficient IT to enable faster go-to-market strategies. They need to create and implement new ideas and applications faster. They need to be able to rapidly augment, update and reconfigure existing applications and data architectures to thrive in constantly changing conditions. To lead means reducing complexity and improving efficiency and productivity.

At the same time, companies will always need to control costs. Competitive markets will always exert cost pressure, and businesses today are challenged to keep IT costs under control while improving capabilities, innovating faster and increasing their agility.

Container technology enables all that, and luckily, a winner is emerging from among a once-crowded field.

Why Kubernetes

On a small scale, containers can be successfully managed by a small team; as scale grows, however, teams need a container orchestration engine, or COE, to manage, orchestrate and automate containers. Many COEs have come to market, but Kubernetes has emerged as the clear winner, with other COEs and container-focused products now consolidating to use Kubernetes.

Its popularity comes in large part because it’s an open source system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications. It groups containers that make up an application into logical units for easy management and discovery.

A legacy of Google engineering, Kubernetes has now become widely adopted for its enterprise grade scalability (to millions of containers) and advanced features, all backed by a large open source community. Common use cases include:

  • orchestrating and managing containers at large scale
  • deploying microservices
  • adopting cloud-native technologies
  • facilitating cloud migration
  • modernization of application development

But, someone still must run it.

Why Kubernetes-as-a-Service

In the early days of Kubernetes, getting to Day 1 operations was the challenge. Today, however, the complexity of managing ongoing operations — on Day 2 and beyond — creates the most headaches for businesses.

Those Day 2 operations include:

  • Patching
  • Upgrades
  • Security
  • IaaS Integration
  • Node OS
  • Scaling
  • Best Practices
  • Application Services

“A few early adopter enterprises have had the resources to build out their own container stacks (i.e. select and integrate many open-source components),” wrote Gartner in last year’s Market Guide for Container Management Software. “However, most organizations do not have the breadth or depth of expertise to do this.”

Day 2 operations can be difficult for a number of reasons. For one, deploying upstream Kubernetes may not meet the needs and requirements of enterprise IT. It’s not configured or tuned to your particular use cases or environment out of the box, it needs to be validated and tested across hundreds of components (as will each new upgrade) and it must be security-hardened and integrated into your broader IT environment.

The other reality is, running production-grade Kubernetes clusters requires engineers with specialized knowledge and expertise. They will need to build the tooling, automation and processes required to effectively operate and scale Kubernetes. As a fast-moving open source project, best practices are continually evolving, while those who have experience and expertise are in high demand and are expensive to hire and retain.

Day 2 operations are critically important to the success of an organization’s digital transformation. They will determine whether users realize the benefits they expected when they started deploying containers. And, they will determine the reliability and efficiency of their environment and therefore the ROI the organization will deliver with containers and Kubernetes.

Without effective Day 2 operations, organizations will face challenges scaling their IT environments, endangering their transition to container-based workloads and their overall digital transformation.

Why Rackspace?

For going on two decades, Rackspace has been the service leader in our industry, affirmed by industry analysts such as Gartner and Forrester. Our engineers are proactive and results-obsessed, and they’re available to customers 24x7x365.

As we have evolved over the years, we’ve become a trusted partner, guiding customers through all the challenges of digital transformation — from planning and migration, to security and operational support, to continuing adoption of emerging technologies. Only Rackspace delivers digital transformation as a service, on the latest technologies, across applications, data, security and infrastructure.

With Kubernetes-as-a-Service, Rackspace gets customers up and running with Kubernetes on Day 1, but then more importantly, we continually solve the challenges of Day 2 operations.

Our experts perform the updates, zero downtime upgrades, patching and security-hardening across Kubernetes, the containers, the managed cluster services and the node operating system. You get a complete Kubernetes deployment, from the infrastructure to the containers and services required to run your applications, fully managed, operated and secure, allowing you to focus on your core business.

Those with deep expertise in Kubernetes, who want to manage their own IaaS layer likely don’t need the kind of expertise and peace of mind Rackspace offers. But for those who don’t have the resources to learn, deploy and operate Kubernetes and instead are looking to accelerate digital transformation by extending their IT arm by partnering with a cloud services industry leader, the choice is clear.

Learn more about Kubernetes-as-a-Service from Rackspace.

Pierre Fricke joined Rackspace in 2018 as the company's senior director of product marketing for private cloud. He leads a team working to expand knowledge of the opportunities private-cloud-as-a-service can offer enterprises as part of their digital transformations. Pierre co-leads Rackspace’s effort to define and lead this new category and help companies understand how it fits into today’s multi-cloud world. Prior to Rackspace, Pierre worked for EnterpriseDB as vice president, product marketing, responsible for leading product marketing to build the business. He co-lead EDB’s effort to liberate companies from database vendor lock-in, allowing them to invest in other digital initiatives to drive growth. From 2005 through 2015 Pierre was director of product marketing for Red Hat JBoss Middleware products. He co-led product strategy and expansion into the application and data integration market. In 2008-2009, Pierre co-led the launches of JBoss SOA Platform and JBoss BRMS, which laid the foundation for a complete open source integration, process and decision automation strategy. By 2015, these products were the unit volume market leader and emerging strong challengers to long time incumbents, and had become significant Red Hat businesses. Pierre was chief analyst for D.H. Brown Associates’ middleware and product lifecycle management infrastructure services in the early 2000s. Before that, he held a variety of engineering, engineering management, product management and strategy roles at IBM. You can find him on Linkedin at linkedin.com/in/pfricke, and Twitter @pfricke

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