Technology growth

Growth of cloud-native technology expected to go beyond Kubernetes

Few trends in computing have been as pervasive in recent years as the dominance of cloud native technologies including Kubernetes.

To quantify the current state of adoption of cloud native technologies, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) recently released its sixth annual Cloud Native Survey. The report is based on a survey of developers conducted by the CNCF as well as production data from cloud monitoring providers New Relic and Datadog and additional data from developer analytics firm SlashData.

One of the big findings of the report is that approximately 5.6 million developers are using Kubernetes worldwide.

“The biggest surprise is that Kubernetes has reached the level where developers are using it without even realizing it, much like Linux is everywhere without people realizing they are using it in their phones, TVs or appliances,” said CNCF CTO Chris. Aniszczyk said ITPro today.

Adoption of hosted Kubernetes is fueling cloud-native growth

Kubernetes is not just about developers, it is also about having a target deployment for cloud applications.

Production data from CNCF member Datadog shows that nearly 90% of Kubernetes users are leveraging managed cloud services, up from just 70% in 2020, according to Aniszczyk.

Additionally, CNCF data revealed that 79% of respondents use Kubernetes-certified hosted platforms, he said. The most used platforms are Amazon EKS, Microsoft’s AKSand Google’s GKE.

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Barriers to adopting cloud-native technologies

Although Kubernetes adoption is strong overall, the CNCF report found that large organizations, especially companies with more than 5,000 employees, are much more likely to use Kubernetes than smaller organizations. This pattern was reflected by data from Datadog and SlashData.

“This could be because cloud-native challenges can be prohibitively expensive for small organizations,” Aniszczyk said.

According to the CNCF survey, the biggest challenges with using containers are:

  • lack of training
  • difficulty choosing an orchestration solution
  • complexity

Larger organizations are better able to hire Kubernetes experts and support their ongoing training, while smaller companies may depend on one or two people who learn as they go.

“Trying to fill those gaps is exactly why we launched our Associate Kubernetes and cloud native [KCNA] exam and training – our community has expressed the need for more beginner-friendly training materials and certifications,” said Aniszczyk.

The future of cloud-native technology adoption

Cloud-native is not limited to Kubernetes. The CNCF welcomes a growing number project landscape, including security, service mesh, container, logging, database, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), and storage efforts, among others.

Aniszczyk said that as Kubernetes adoption in the CNCF community approaches 100%, he’s starting to see organizations adopt technologies higher up in the cloud-native stack. Companies are embracing less mature projects to tackle more advanced challenges — for example, with service meshes like Envoy and Linkerd, as well as observability tools like Prometheus and Fluentd, he said.

Aniszczyk pointed out that production usage data from CNCF member New Relic, for example, shows that adoption of Prometheus increased by 43% in the last six months of 2021, while adoption of Fluentd has grown 53% over the past year.

“I think 2022 will be a defining year for emerging cloud-native areas like edge, observability, and security as container infrastructures continue to mature,” Aniszczyk said.