Sathish Balakrishnan, senior director, product management, OpenShift Online at Red Hat, says in the world of Platform as a Service (PaaS), flexibility is king. He says it’s possible to find a PaaS solution that can meet the needs of all of your clients “as long as it is based on industry standards and is able to support the broadest range of applications and workloads. “In this case,” says Balakrishnan, “the industry standard for PaaS solutions has become Kubernetes.”
Kubernetes enables intelligent management of containers, automating load balancing, addressing storage and memory requirements, rollbacks, failover, security and other tasks. It enables developers to move more easily from monolithic applications to microservices and to make the most cost-effective use of resources.
Balakrishnan points out, however, “Without the right platform and tools, developer productivity suffers due to increased friction.”
“Even though vanilla Kubernetes is good for managing and scaling container clusters, developer productivity depends on additional developer and DevOps tools on top of Kubernetes,” he says. “The lack of such tools on top of a Kubernetes offering can impact the speed of application deployment, providing sub-optimal ROI for the enterprise.”
To help managed services providers (MSPs) design optimal solutions for their clients, Balakrishnan answers some common questions:
What features should an MSP look for in a Kubernetes solution?
Balakrishnan: Many Kubernetes services in the market focus only on cluster orchestration and management. Enterprises need a more developer-centric platform to reduce friction and increase agility. Developer productivity is one of the key drivers for the enterprise adoption of containers, as they expect the container platform to provide the necessary tools on top of Kubernetes to help create cloud-native apps. Most enterprises are going to want a developer abstraction that significantly increases developer productivity without any additional operational overhead.
Are there features that enhance usability and efficiency?
Balakrishnan: Beyond developer productivity, enterprises expect the Kubernetes service to support seamless DevOps. They expect out of the box support for:
- Deployment from source code and container images
- Easy integration with DevOps and other automation tools
- Uniformity in development, test and production environments
Other requirements include:
- Day 2 operations support
- Fine-grained control over permissions
- Extensible infrastructure services around logging and metrics
- Support single click templates to build and deploy applications using your favorite programming languages, frameworks and databases
How can an MSP ensure the PaaS solution is secure and meets end users’ compliance requirements?
Balakrishnan: Security is a critical need for any PaaS solution. MSPs need to select a vendor that is committed to security at every level of the Kubernetes stack, spanning the underlying operating system, nodes, pods, container images, RBAC and networking.
For enterprises, security is not a checklist, and their requirements are complex. Few enterprise vendors are equipped to provide the necessary security across various layers in the managed Kubernetes service, so picking a vendor who understands the enterprise security across every infrastructure footprint is essential.
Is it Time to Add Managed Kubernetes to Your PaaS Solution Offerings?
Enterprises using PaaS solutions may need additional capabilities to develop applications with the architecture, features, and functionality that they need. Simply reselling a PaaS vendor’s packaged offering may not be providing your clients with the best solution. Adding managed Kubernetes services enhanced with tools that result in greater productivity can allow you to deliver a total PaaS solution that results in real value and ROI.