KubeCon 2022: From DevOps to PlatformOps

By , Tuesday, November 1st 2022

Categories: Analyst Blogs

This is the third KubeCon I have attended in person.  The first was in Los Angeles during the fall of 2021 (a first for most during the Covid period).  LA was lightly attended for obvious reasons, and could be characterized by a feel-good; “yeah-we-are-back” and “isn’t what we are doing wonderful?”  The second was May 2022 in Valencia, Spain.  It was well attended with over 6000 in-person attendees, more than expected.   The general theme in Spain from the CNCF crowd was, while cloud native development was gaining great traction, there were issues of operational maturity and security.  This was highlighted by Jim Zemlin’s talk on security coming from his recent gathering with the Biden administration.  Also, Priyanka Sharma’s keynote was on the maturing of the projects, the process for graduation and recognition that releases needed to be consolidated to lessen the burden on operational deployment.

Five months later we were in Detroit, MI.  Priyanka Sharma led the sessions with the recognition of the open-source project maintainers.  With 146,000 contributors, 120 projects and 18 graduated projects, there are only 1000 maintainers – clearly not enough to keep up with the updates, fixes, and documentation.  Thus, a call for more to participate and a HUGE thank you to the heroes that are already in the mix of maintenance.

But, there was more to the Kubernetes Platform and operationalizing.  In multiple sessions we heard issues of:

  • Open-Source is not Free Source – Organizations benefit from open-source, but the community must be responsible and contribute.  While it is fun to work on the latest project, maintenance is critical for the operational advancement of these new applications.
  • There is too much to rationalize – With 1000’s of open-source projects (of which 120 are CNCF projects), your normal IT organization (whether development or operations) has a difficult time rationalizing and analyzing what should be used.  Thus, the rise and adoption of vendor Container Management platforms and going back to the first point, Open Source is not Free Source.  The show floor was full of vendors showcasing their capabilities plus all the ancillary technologies that will become necessary as the container-native applications scale.
  • Developers do not want to interface with Kubernetes (or YAML) – As the platform grows and scales, operations become more complicated.  Scale, orchestration, performance, cost, security, protection, data persistence and more – all come in to play and need software and people to manage.  It was pointed out on the panel discussions that the hyperscalers have groups of ‘developers’ and ‘platform engineers.’  They have already figured out these are separate, yet related operations.

The expectation is that we will now see the switch from “DevOps” to development and PlatformOps. However, while development does not want to interface with YAML or Kubernetes, they also do not want to be restricted in how or what they deploy.

To effectively scale, IT leaders will require changes to enable high development efficiency. This means presenting the developers with easy, self-service selections including configuration options, DBaaS, security, data storage, availability and protection, just to name a few.  The hyperscalers do this well, though at scale, SRE and cloud architects are needed.  Again, this points to adoption of Open Source is not Free Source Cloud Platform Management offerings, and the need for platform operations.

The transition will require strong collaboration between platform operation and developers.  In fact, we expect for developers to to be part of the operational team, influencing the self- service requirements, especially as they work towards standard platforms. Standards will be required, if even for the issue of governance and the security.

There is more on these shifts covered in a recent report from Evaluator Group.  It is free to download and dives into some of the issues platform operations will face in the coming years.

The next KubeCon event will be in Amsterdam on April 17 – 21, 2023.  Expect to see more platform operations personnel in attendance as they take on this latest challenge.

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