Why Kubernetes should be central to your digital transformation journey

When the pandemic took hold in early 2020, organisations no longer had the luxury to think about their digital transformation journeys as something that would take place over a five or 10 year period. The accelerated pivot to digital offerings was forced almost overnight, and those organisations that were already well into their transformation journey reaped the rewards.

Findings in an October 2020 McKinsey report found that the pandemic has propelled the creation of digital or digitally enhanced offerings forward by up to 10 years for organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. Meaning that digital transformation initiatives with a 10 year roadmap were completed in 2020. For large organisations in banking, finance and insurance, this was a huge undertaking. They had to rethink how they were managing fundamental things like their software infrastructure, how they were servicing their apps, and they needed to pick a tool or mechanism to help drive their digital transformation.

Kubernetes - a container orchestration platform - has proven to be a popular choice. 

With Kubernetes, organisations are able to act fast on a centralised platform where teams can rapidly deploy new features or applications, scale them automatically, and easily make changes or roll back deployments if needed. In fact, Kubernetes is so popular that adoption rose by 48% in 2020, and it was rated as the most-loved DevOps tool in 2021

Furthermore, according to New Relic's 2021 Observability Forecast, organisations surveyed across India and ASEAN are leading the way in terms of global Kubernetes adoption. ASEAN is leading the charge with 44% of respondents in Kubernetes development and 25% in production, and India isn't far behind with 37% of organisations surveyed in development and 33% researching the benefits of the orchestration platform. 

What is driving this growth? Here are the top three reasons why organisations are embracing Kubernetes and making it a key platform that underlines digital transformation initiatives.

Rapid scalability

Kubernetes allows for rapid scalability to account for unforeseen peaks in demand, and it takes the manual work out of releasing microservices by automating deployment, maintenance and scaling of groups of containers that are already in production. This reduces the risks of application downtime resulting in better user experiences, and leads to better utilisation of the underlying infrastructure. 

Kubernetes also happens to be cloud agnostic, making it very appealing for organisations that have adopted a hybrid cloud strategy. It also works just as seamlessly with on-premise systems. This is important because despite public clouds' extraordinary growth, our research shows 76% of respondents across Asia, Pacific and Japan are still using a hybrid cloud strategy.

Uncompromised agility

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. The pressure placed on engineers to keep up with surges in demand for goods and services across nearly every industry is something we’ve never witnessed before. They need to be able to deploy new features fast, learn from them through canary deployments, and roll them back just as quickly should they need to. This kind of agility is a key benefit of Kubernetes and one of the core reasons why many operators in critical sectors including edtech, financial services and enterprise IT are in the process of, or have already, adopted it.

Community mindset

Together with its suite of benefits, the platform’s popularity and success is largely due to the exceptionally passionate open source community. The community rallies behind these kinds of tools due to their technical merits, so it makes sense that only the best tools gain significant momentum.

The 2021 Observability Forecast found that 54% of Australian and New Zealand and 52% of Indian respondents chose to adopt open source technologies due to their ability to contribute to the community. The Kubernetes community represents one of the largest and most engaged parts of the open source ecosystem, providing the perfect environment for engineers to learn, implement and perfect their craft. In addition, the commonality of standards that the community has built allows for more and more developers to understand and participate in that ecosystem. 

Unless other tools come along to gain the support of the community and knock Kubernetes off its pedestal, it will continue to be the de facto container orchestration platform of choice, thanks to its ability to scale, be agile, cloud-agnostic and drive developer community engagement. Because of this, its use should be central to any digital transformation effort.