New Survey Yields Kubernetes as Mainstream but Requires Significant Expertise to Adopt Across the Enterprise

New Survey Yields Kubernetes as Mainstream but Requires Significant Expertise to Adopt Across the Enterprise

This morning we announced new a study we conducted at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2018. The survey polled over a 150 IT professionals during the conference, to capture insights on the adoption and barriers of enterprise Kubernetes deployment broadly across organizations. Our primary goal is to help organizations navigate the shifting landscape of managing cloud-native applications and improve the way they manage them. We asked for input around attendees Kubernetes environments, insight into applications they are planning to, or already running on Kubernetes and the capabilities they required to manage their applications in a Kubernetes environment. Many attendees shared their insights, telling us that they are well on their Kubernetes journey; let’s see where they are.

Key Finding

The key insight from our survey revealed that while Kubernetes is now the standard for managing containers, more than half (52%) of companies are not widely adopting Kubernetes within their organizations due to a lack of expertise. This finding highlights the operational complexity of Kubernetes deployment and management and the acute need for management solutions which was cited as the second largest adoption challenge by half (50%) of the companies. The third key challenge for organizational adoption was attributed to security (41%) as there is always risk of exposing new attack surfaces.

Supporting Key Findings

The biggest impact is being felt with microservices-style applications where 78% of respondents are deploying Kubernetes in 2019. This shortage of talent which is holding back the advancement of Kubernetes is only further exacerbated with the US unemployment at record lows (3.9%).

Kubernetes Adoption

Today, Kubernetes is not just being used in development and test environments but also in production. In fact, more than 50% of respondents are already using Kubernetes in production and around 30% are using it for development and test environments and moving towards adopting it in production.

Adoption Challenges

While the top hurdle for wide adoption within an organization was lack of expertise, management and operational complexity and security with Kubernetes clusters being deployed in the enterprise IT environments, the challenge has been how to manage them. The survey revealed that organizations are looking mostly for multi-cluster management (38%) capability, followed by cluster Add-ons (25%) and Cluster Configuration (17%)

Lastly, one of the main challenges to adopting Kubernetes is the learning curve on the Kubernetes YAML, which defines running containers. A third of respondents cite YAML management (30%) as the most important capability required in the application management in Kubernetes, followed by Integration (27%), secrets management (24%).


As enterprises adopt Kubernetes deployment, they face several challenges – as with any new technology, there is typically a learning curve. Kubernetes, while powerful, is a fairly complex platform with several components and settings. As a result, it is hard to find individuals with significant expertise in operation and using Kubernetes for enterprise needs. Due to its complex nature, adopters of Kubernetes typically face several challenges when operationalizing them in enterprise environments. Additionally, whenever a new subsystem or a component is introduced, there is always a risk of exposing new attack surface which opens the possibility for security challenges.

The gap in lack of expertise in IT will require progressive enterprises to implement new, innovative solutions that automate complex operations. With the adoption of Kubernetes, IT organizations will be required to acquire training and new operations & management tools that are designed for enterprise Kubernetes and its fast moving open-source community, while avoiding lock-in to infrastructure vendors and opinionated platforms.

The Nirmata team was early in recognizing the enterprise shift towards microservices and the adoption of containers and Kubernetes. Having worked with early adopters of containers, we realized the need for simplifying the operations and management of Kubernetes while giving developers the freedom to innovate. With Nirmata, enterprises can use our open and easy-to-adopt platform to deploy, operate, and optimize Kubernetes clusters and workloads on any infrastructure. Nirmata enables IT operations teams with a solution to manage and govern enterprise-wide Kubernetes clusters and workloads, while developers enjoy the freedom of a pure Kubernetes experience.

You can download the full survey results here.

Please download our free eBook: Evaluator’s Guide to Enterprise-Grade Container Management

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