In our conversations with customers unlocking the true potential of Kubernetes is a frequent topic of discussion. Popular IT lore presents Kubernetes as an antidote to most of the ills facing the modern enterprise. This perception is definitely true to some extent. Kubernetes can indeed improve workload portability across cloud providers and on premise, make enterprise workloads more scalable and - when configured just right - improve resource utilization.
On paper these improvements should also feed into IT processes on multiple levels. These include but are not limited to empowering developer and DevOps teams to quickly create and evaluate new features, help IT departments be more agile and allow organizations to innovate faster and be more responsive to changing customer demands.
In practice however, enterprises that we frequently speak to struggle to replicate these improvements. There are multiple reasons for this. Below we outline some of them.
When deployed in production, Kubernetes environments throw up multiple day 2 challenges. In addition to the mechanics of operating and managing clusters in production, these challenges include cost allocation, chargeback, governance, cost control, security and efficiency.
While being central to future proofing, forecasting and the security posture of the Kubernetes environment, they also have a direct bearing on the IT processes outlined above. Cost control, cost allocation, showback and chargeback are especially important in this context since they tend to limit the extent to which developer or DevOps teams can experiment with Kubernetes.
CTOs and infrastructure team leads actively limit the organic growth of Kubernetes and avoid giving cloud architects and DevOps teams free rein over Kubernetes in the absence of tools that allow them to control costs or improve cost visibility.
By default Kubernetes presents cloud architects minimal control over resource provisioning. Developers and DevOps teams are free to provision underlying cloud resources with a couple of commands.
Kubernetes does allow platform architects and Devops team leads to implement strict controls over provisioning of Kubernetes resources. To avoid ballooning costs, CTOs frequently implement strict controls over resource provisioning. These controls however hamper the ability of DevOps teams and developers to experiment with Kubernetes and reduces the speed with which they can iterate on and release new features.
Implementing a tightly controlled provisioning regime is no different than the days of legacy on-premise infrastructure provisioning where developers and DevOps teams had to jump through frequent loops to get their feature ideas up and running.
When CTOs and DevOps team leads have no way of knowing who used what and how much, they naturally tend to implement strict controls to avoid ballooning costs. Add to this the inability to co-relate the costs of the underlying cloud infrastructure with the Kubernetes artefacts running on top and their unwillingness to open up the Kubernetes environment increases even more.
Most developers first encounter kubernetes either in an atmosphere of tight control, which is the complete opposite of how it was intended to be operated by its creators, or one which allows unfettered access to provisioning resources in the underlying cloud layer. None of these scenarios is conducive to improving transparency or implementing cost control mechanisms.
Replex enables the modern enterprise to unlock the true potential of Kubernetes by allowing complete cost control over Kubernetes environments as well as providing granular cost insights without hampering the agility of IT departments or the freedom of developers to run frequent experiments.
On top of providing cost visibility for native Kubernetes artefacts like Namespaces, Replex also allows team leads and platform architects to pool Kubernetes costs into custom groupings like teams, projects and apps. This helps CTOs and team leads understand internal cost structures, monitor and manage their costs and implement benchmarking mechanisms.
With Replex, CTOs and DevOps teams can give developers unbounded access to Kubernetes and let them run wild, while configuring targeted budgets and alerts in the Replex system. These alerts provide them timely notifications of any actual or forecasted budget overruns allowing them to intervene only when strictly necessary. Notifications also enable CTOs or DevOps team leads to make targeted interventions to improve utilization and control costs.
Developers and DevOps teams can also leverage these notifications to make informed resource allocation decisions when spinning new workloads.
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