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12 Min Read

Level up your application strategy with Kubernetes-as-a-Service

December 1, 2020 / Anil Kumar Veeramalli

Short on time? Read the key takeaways:

  • Kubernetes, an open-source container orchestration platform, automates the deployment, management and scaling of applications.
  • It offers many advantages over legacy applications, including portability, flexibility, open source, microservices and apps, greater productivity, cost-effectiveness, fault, tolerance and multi-cloud capabilities.
  • Major components include automated self-services, true multitenant support, integrated multi-cloud management, multi-cloud governance, multi-cloud security and compliance, and its software development lifecycle

Many organizations have shifted app development and deployment to Kubernetes-based containers to further strengthen their computing strategies.

As a result, containers are one of the fastest-growing segments of cloud computing.

Perhaps you’ve migrated legacy apps or considered cloud-native development within Kubernetes. Depending on your application state or strategy, your adoption of Kubernetes and containers will typically fall into three categories:

  • A lift-and-shift of legacy applications to Kubernetes
  • Refactoring legacy applications as Kubernetes microservices
  • Made-from-scratch, new cloud-native microservices

Each Kubernetes adoption method comes with its own set of challenges and benefits.

A lift-and-shift strategy for legacy applications leverages the advantages of containers. Still, your legacy apps have too many dependencies to move them to cloud containers quickly. Refactoring these applications may be your best solution in this case. Finally, new, cloud-native applications may be the best approach for fresh initiatives or as a means of distributing multiple processes across many microservice containers.

Regardless of your Kubernetes journey, it’s a path worth considering. Kubernetes has many advantages over legacy applications.

Seven reasons you should adopt Kubernetes

Legacy applications are prone to inefficiencies. If you haven’t already moved to Kubernetes, you might want to evaluate your app environment and see if a move could benefit your organization. Here are the top seven reasons to consider Kubernetes:

Portable—Build your apps on one cloud platform and easily port them to any other. This protects you from cloud vendor lock-in. If you find another cloud that is better suited for your organization, there is no need to rebuild your apps before making the move.

Flexible—Use a variety of languages and frameworks. Your Kubernetes projects can be broken up into a series of connected microservices and with APIs, connect them to other processes, such as databases and CRM systems. Independent scaling of services enables you to put resources where they are needed and when they are required.

Open source—Take advantage of the thousands of pre-made Open Source microservices and apps and adapt them to your needs. In many cases, you can retire entire legacy application software licenses and eliminate the need for costly upgrades.

Greater productivity—Build, integrate and deploy your applications faster with microservice-based applications. Once deployed, resources can be dynamically spun in real-time to accommodate increased demand. And Kubernetes apps and services are easier to maintain and develop than traditional waterfall development projects, allowing continual, non-disruptive improvements.

Cost-effective—Benefit from faster development, resource efficiency, less maintenance and savings from retiring software licenses, all contributing to superior cost savings in your Kubernetes environment.

Fault tolerance – Be reassured that one service can fail without bringing down the entire application. And any failed service can be restarted in another container.

Multi-cloud capable—Enjoy the flexibility of multi-cloud resources. As you expand your cloud strategy, you’ll undoubtedly see the many advantages of deploying these resources. Kubernetes enables you to integrate cross-cloud resources, host and mine big data for analysis, and more easily integrate IoT, and many other cross-cloud implementations.

But not all multi-cloud enterprises are created equal. Kubernetes needs further multi-cloud components to support a modern, Kubernetes-as-a-Service (KaaS) fully.

Kubernetes-as-a-Service: containers on steroids

Until recently, organizations have lacked tools to enable consolidation, better automation, innovation and greater management in multi-cloud environments. The “missing pieces” for deploying true enterprise-grade, KaaS are:

  • Reliable, automated and fully integrated self-service
  • True multi-cloud/multi-tenancy support
  • Multi-cloud management
  • Multi-cloud governance, visibility and insights
  • Kubernetes security and compliance

Enterprise Kubernetes-as-a-Service

There are many cloud capabilities, infrastructure requirements and tooling required for you to fully benefit from enterprise KaaS. Here’s your checklist for turbocharging Kubernetes for your organization:

  • Self-service
  • Automation
  • Security and compliance
  • Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD)
  • Monitoring
  • Service catalogs
  • Serverless
  • Configuration management database
  • Cloud management
  • Upgrade strategy
  • Multi-cloud support
  • Governance
  • Compliance

Here’s more information on major components and capabilities:

Automated self-service

One feature missing from many Kubernetes solutions is the ability to deliver automated self-service of apps and features. With a truly automated solution, your users can choose the right apps and processes, enabling them to be up and running from a continually updated service catalog without intervention.

Meanwhile, unlike legacy applications, apps and services can be continually updated and improved throughout the application lifecycle, with no disruption in services. Users spin up and use only what is necessary, and there are no licensing restrictions or user counts for you to keep tabs on.

With a self-serve portal, your users can launch their cloud resources and manage, schedule and operate the container resources of their choice.

Build blueprints using technology-neutral or portable cloud-native templates (i.e., Azure ARM, Amazon Web Services (AWS) CFT, Google GDM, third-party Terraform) that can be used as service catalogs. The blueprints let the cloud architects or designers drag and drop the components to canvas to provision resources and link them with pre- and post-provisioning processes.

True multi-tenant support

Multi-cloud often means public cloud multi-tenancy. With true multi-tenancy support, your KaaS environment will keep user data, traffic and application access separate from all others—both within your organization and from all other public cloud users.

Integrated multi-cloud management

Keeping tabs on KaaS containers and microservices on one cloud is the norm, but in multi-cloud, it is essential you have a management capability that encompasses all cloud-based processes and containers and their interdependencies. Even more useful is the ability to automate management for greater efficiencies.

From KaaS, you can manage and simplify automation Kubernetes clusters from four providers: Azure Kubernetes Service from Microsoft Azure, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service from AWS, Google Kubernetes Engine from Google Cloud and vSphere from VMware.

Multi-cloud governance

With KaaS spread among multi-cloud or various containers on a single cloud, you must ensure that app development, deployment and access rights, accounts and permissions can be easily configured and maintained, regardless of use across multiple clouds. Central functionality lets you create users, service accounts, associate the user to the group and the permissions, and assign budget limits. Quotas are assigned at the group level. Financial approval can be enabled and triggered when the developer requests a larger, out-of-budget cluster, so the request needs approval before the commission.

Multi-cloud security and compliance

Securing one cloud is a partnership between you and the cloud vendor. When you move to multi-cloud, your KaaS resources may be spread among many vendors. Taking complete control of the security and compliance of these distributed KaaS resources requires a single, consistent appraisal of compliance and a unified, comprehensive security solution that removes complexity.

Kubernetes-as-a-Service software development lifecycle

Many current Kubernetes environments lack the tools to adequately address the enterprise-wide application SDLC. With KaaS, you can take your microservices to new levels of efficiency, flexibility and security. In addition, multi-cloud KaaS is enabled with automated self-services, true multi-tenant support—and most importantly, multi-cloud governance and management.

In pre-cloud native environments, many SDLC steps or processes were entirely manual—from design through implementation to analysis. Multiple iterations required interaction and changes at every step in the process before and after your deployment. In cloud-native Kubernetes environments, change management and testing can be built into every step of the SDLC, thereby “automating” many steps by using continuous integration and continuous development CI/CD.

Every DevOps practitioner is likely familiar with CI/CD—but its efficiency and usefulness are blunted in many hybrid and multi-cloud environments, especially if systems are hosted on disparate systems. Cross-platform self-service is difficult to achieve on your own. Still, recent tools such as Morpheus, CloudBees and others automate the process considerably, but do they integrate and ease multi-cloud security, compliance, and governance as they do?

Similar integration and manual operations are required for multi-cloud, hybrid, multi-tenancy, multi-cloud management integration, multi-cloud governance, visibility and insights. And even with DevSecOps, your security and compliance can be challenging to automate, verify and implement across multiple clouds.

Explore how Unisys can help optimize your hybrid and multi-cloud investment.

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