Jul 11, 2022

Alex Hisaka


Is Kubernetes Free? Yes, Like a Puppy. Here's Why.

8 min read

The common misconception of open-source Kubernetes is that it is free—but in reality, it has a lot of associated costs, including labor and potential business losses from wasted time, effort, and being late to market. Just like a puppy, Kubernetes software itself might be free, but a do-it-yourself (DIY) deployment involves a lot of care, patience, and unforeseen costs.   

DIY Kubernetes vs. a Kubernetes Distribution

Kubernetes itself is the core that requires many complementary services to comprise a production platform. Building a Kubernetes platform from scratch requires choosing, assembling, and integrating services from among thousands of available open-source components. 

Assembling and managing a Kubernetes platform requires highly skilled Kubernetes architects, engineers, and developers. And if you lack this talent, the time to value and time to deploy gets exponentially longer, if not impossible. 

On the other hand, while cloud service providers can automate a lot of the Kubernetes management, they require lots of professional services to get it deployed and managed. Depending on what tools and processes you use to manage them, DIY Kubernetes   cloud service deployment can result in much higher costs and overhead than you initially anticipated.

It is at the Day 2 phase that many Kubernetes deployments falter and fail. On Day 2, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are ratified and guaranteed, as organizations place stringent requirements on applications such as resilience, scale, agility, security, governance, and compliance. Day 2 failure often is the result of lack of skills, operational complexity, and security issues.
That’s where the D2iQ Kubernetes Platform (DKP) comes into play. DKP provides a central point of control for managing multi-cluster environments and running applications across any infrastructure for faster time to value and easier operations. 

Below are eight production-grade capabilities that DKP offers that can help you streamline workflows and reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO).

1) Integrated Enterprise-Grade Cloud-Native Stack

Organizations require a broader set of services for their production operations, such as security, networking, storage, and more. However, navigating the rapidly changing cloud-native ecosystem is complex, making it difficult to build a robust production platform. Not only that, but the collection of required open-source services needs to be integrated, automated, and tested for resiliency, which requires experienced personnel to build and maintain. In addition, open-source projects can be abandoned, leaving you with no support or upgrade path for a component you selected.

D2iQ takes care of the heavy lifting by selecting the proper platform services for key needs, such as security, load balancing, monitoring, and more. These services are selected from the CNCF ecosystem, automated, integrated, and tested before being included in your stack. And customers are welcome to customize and replace any of these services with others that they prefer. 

2) Independent Solution Provider

Kubernetes provides the flexibility to run applications across different environments without limiting its capabilities. While there is no guarantee that a Kubernetes solution provider won’t be acquired or disappear from the market, it’s critical that the platform itself doesn’t lock you in.

Engineered from the beginning to be an open platform, DKP is built on pure upstream open-source Kubernetes, immune to the lock-in of proprietary solutions. D2iQ is not beholden to the agenda of IT behemoths, such as IBM, VMware, or SUSE. Vendors with an agenda will sell specific cloud platforms, hardware, software, and services not necessarily in your best interest. Our independence enables us to focus on the success of our customers. 

3) Unmodified Open-Source Adoption

Because you are free to use open-source software for any purchase, those with access can “fork” (modify) and redistribute the source code into their proprietary software. A forked version of Kubernetes runs the risk of breaking application functionality. While a modified version of Kubernetes will work with a particular vendor’s application stack and management tools, it might not integrate with additional open-source projects across the ecosystems without lock-in.

DKP guarantees your Kubernetes services will work by embracing standard interfaces, such as logging, monitoring, networking, and more from the CNCF ecosystem. There are no forks or modifications “under the hood” that cause things to break. Our Kubernetes distribution and add-ons are all pure open-source and work out of the box, so you can manage it independently and choose the most innovative apps to fit your objectives, immune to the lock-in of proprietary solutions.

4) Infrastructure Agnostic 

Most organizations run their applications and workloads on two or more infrastructure types to serve different customer groups or for different use cases. Having a Kubernetes platform that is truly infrastructure agnostic means that you can run Kubernetes on any infrastructure. Restricting this portability creates roadblocks to agile development and slows down the speed of production. 

DKP provides a stable, reliable, and scalable environment for stateful applications that is consistent across different infrastructures, including multi-and hybrid-cloud, edge, on-premise, bare metal, and air-gapped environments. This versatility ensures that software developed on one infrastructure will work the same on another, enabling tremendous flexibility to deploy anywhere.

5) Integrated, Robust Cloud-Native Data Workloads

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are increasingly becoming an essential skill in almost every organization, but building an AI/ML platform is difficult to set up and operate. Most enterprises lack the technical skills to deploy and configure AI/ML tools, especially in highly restrictive and isolated environments that are complex and costly to install and maintain. And few Kubernetes distributions offer a well-rounded AI/ML platform that is ready for production from the installation onward. 

Kaptain AI/ML is the only Kubernetes AI/ML platform that has made Kubeflow ready for the enterprise. Data science teams can go from prototype to production in a matter of days or hours (instead of weeks or months) and manage their entire pipeline on any infrastructure. 

6) Proven Scalability

Testing the scalability of your Kubernetes platform ensures that it’s responsive to changing requirements and that everything works well before going into production. Addressing these issues up front can eliminate problems and ensure fast time to resolution with lower infrastructure costs.

DKP is engineered to scale and support both stateful and stateless workloads. We back that up by conducting mixed workload validation and performance testing to ensure enterprise-ready operation of your Kubernetes stack of services. There is no extra tuning or configuration required to make DKP highly available—what you get out of the box is tested at a range of scales and with a variety of workloads, including complex, stateful ones. This gives organizations the peace of mind that they can successfully run mission-critical stateful workloads.

7) CNCF Certified Training Partner

When adopting and using new cloud-native technologies, learning the intricacies of the landscape and nuances of each technology can be quite complex. Acquiring the necessary talent through hiring is cost prohibitive, extremely competitive, and challenging to source. When organizations get good people, they might not be able to retain them. As a result, they need to uplevel their existing teams with training to quickly adapt and leverage industry standard certification as a means to measure their team’s competencies.

D2iQ helps its customers build and retain winning teams. D2iQ is a Certified Kubernetes Training Partner (KTP) and delivers instructor-led courses that can equip your teams with the skills and knowledge to successfully plan, build, and operate on Day 2 in production, both for Kubernetes and its supporting cloud-native applications. This reduces the need and pressure to find and hire those rare resources that are already skilled in cloud-native technologies. 

8) Lowest TCO 

Executives want to understand the financial impact on their Kubernetes investment. When evaluating different Kubernetes offerings, decision-makers should look not only at the product’s purchase price (or short-term price), but also at its operating costs over its lifespan (or long-term price), which is its total cost of ownership. The item with the lowest TCO usually is the better value in the long run.

DKP provides deep expertise, market-leading technology, and automation that radically simplifies the development and operations needed for enterprise Kubernetes in production at scale. In addition, DKP includes integrated real-time cost management functionality that ensures granular cost visibility across lines of business. This deep awareness enables you to know which teams are using a particular service, how often they are using each service, how much each application is costing, and where there are opportunities to optimize resources and infrastructure spend. 

Kubernetes Is Not Free, but You Can Dramatically Reduce Your Costs and Ensure Your Deployment’s Success with DKP

Although open-source Kubernetes isn’t free like a puppy, you can overcome all the operational barriers of a Kubernetes deployment, increase your organization’s agility, and reduce your TCO with DKP. 

To learn more or to see DKP in action, contact the experts at D2iQ.

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