94% of organizations run into Kubernetes challenges
October 22, 2020
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Despite issues, a new report from D2iQ predicts production projects using Kubernetes will rise 61% in the next two years.

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The COVID-19 crisis and its dramatic effect on the American office workforce resulted in the acceleration of the enterprise’s digital transformation. It also marked a significant shift to the number of companies adopting Kubernetes. A new report from D2iQ, an independent Kubernetes platform and cloud-native company, revealed the relevance and challenges of enterprise Kubernetes.

Kubernetes in the Enterprise: Uncovering challenges and opportunities on the path to production” found that 89% of organizations run Kubernetes in production or pre-production environments and 77% of organizations consider Kubernetes a critical element of the business’ pandemic-accelerated digital transformation strategy. Organizations expect production projects using Kubernetes to rise 61% in the next two years. Yet the popular container orchestration system has presented challenges, most of which are introduced in the development phase.

While Kubernetes’ positive effect on the enterprise is considered unparalleled, the report found that the path to adoption is not problem free. Market demand is strong and developer teams are increasingly faced with challenges and complexities. To compile the findings, in Q2 and Q3 2020, D2iQ had the independent research firm Vanson Bourne conduct an online survey of 300 developers architects, DevOps employees (200), and senior IT decision makers (100).

SEE: Kubernetes: Ultimate IT pro’s guide (TechRepublic Premium) 

Cloud-native adoption

Day 2 of cloud-native applications operations are critical to their long-term success (36%), per the report. The higher-ups at businesses (54%) place more value on cloud-native applications and the value to the company’s long-term success, only 27% of developers and architects agree with their company leaders.

The majority of organizations noted they decided to begin their cloud-native journey to improve operations (57%), customer experience (50%), and the future of the business (46%).

Building Kubernetes clusters allows developers and architects  to be innovative and creative, and 93% said building cloud-native applications “make them feel excited to come to work every day.”

Eighty-nine percent of organizations run Kubernetes in production (63%) or pre-production (26%), but the method and resources to deploy Kubernetes differs significantly, 64% of organizations that run Kubernetes use outside resources: Kubernetes management platform (64%), a cloud SaaS service (64%), and public cloud (55%).

The most popular workloads for organizations are:

  • Build structures (64%)
  • Distributed (nosql) data servers (61%)
  • Windows containers (59%)
  • Data analytics or machine learning workloads (58%)
  • Traditional data services (sql) (57%)

Common challenges

The challenges of Kubernetes are wide-scope: 94% of respondents said it was the “source of pain or complexity for the organization.” For an already taxed IT department (the responsibilities of spearheading digital transformation), it makes it all the more important to address this challenge as soon as possible. 

The most common challenges for organizations adopting Kubernetes the D2iQ study found were security concerns (47%), difficulty scaling up effectively (37%), and lack of IT resources (34%), but across the enterprise, the impact of these challenges isn’t evenly distributed. 

And this means that those in the position to assign projects do not have the same reaction as those to whom the project was assigned: While 78% of developers said that Kubernetes add-ons cause a great deal of pain and introduce complexity, only 56% of IT decision makers share the sentiment.


The digital transformation for the enterprise was swift, but working with Kubernetes has led to burnout, 38% of developers and architects said their work “makes them feel extremely burnt out,” 51% stated that building cloud-native applications makes them want to find a new job, 32% of respondents said building cloud-native applications causes stress, and 28% said building applications is very frustrating.

A surprising 82% of respondents feel it creates conflict.

The ongoing pandemic has had a disruptive effect on 91% of organizations’ cloud-native journeys. 

Most commonly, this refers to: 

  • Budget cuts to development (41%)
  • Technology acquisition (39%)
  • Freezing or slowing down hiring (39%)
  • Project delays (37%) 

Tech talent needed

As is the case with any essential tech job in the enterprise, it’s a big challenge finding the right talent: 96% of organizations are able to find Kubernetes developers, 24% said their  businesses were unable to find someone quickly. 

And proving Kubernetes skill is one to master, 98% of organizations are currently or planning to invest in Kubernetes training to fill the talent gap.

The report stated that 81% of respondents agree that the adoption of Kubernetes is critical to their career success and future employability.

Coronavirus’ continued disruption

Cloud-native journeys are plagued with the disruptive effect of the pandemic, and 91% of organizations admitted COVID-19 has had a disruptive effect on rollouts, and this is seen through 

  • Budget cuts to development
  • Freezing or slowing down hiring
  • Budget cuts to technology acquisition
  • Project delays

The report found that it takes an organization an average of approximately five months to get Kubernetes platforms into production environments, and 60% of organizations claim that all of their cloud-native applications successfully made it into production in the last years. Cloud-native applications benefits are continually critical as digital transformations rise worldwide, the report found.

“Our research uncovers how the complexities of deploying Kubernetes has made it more challenging for many organizations to realize benefits such as increased agility and time-to-value,” said Tobi Knaup, founder and chief executive of D2iQ, in a press release.

“However, it’s no surprise that organizations still view Kubernetes as a critical part of their digital transformation strategy. With so much at stake, it’s never been more critical for organizations to ensure they have the expert resources and proven technologies required to navigate the often complicated journey to Day 2 operations success.”

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