The Business Case for Kubernetes

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How Kubernetes can help your company make money and save money

When I started learning about Kubernetes, I kept asking anyone that would listen, What problems does Kubernetes solve for a business and how does it help make them money or save them money?

To my surprise I kept getting responses about all of the technical benefits and features of K8s (which makes sense given the intrinsically technical nature of the space), but still, no one could explain the business case for Kubernetes. As a non-technical Biz-Dev person I decided to go on a quest to answer my own question, and I found what I think are the four main ways Kubernetes helps the bottom line of a business. 

1. Cuts Infrastructure Costs

Kubernetes allows you to scale resources up and down in response to real time demand for your applications and services – this way you aren’t paying for unused resources. For example, Pinterest reclaimed over 80% of capacity during non peak hours by moving to Kubernetes. Essentially, Kubernetes makes scaling up and down a lot easier and even automatic. If you have increased traffic, Kubernetes can automatically scale applications on-demand. In this way, you are only paying for what you use and no longer need to run extra servers to ensure you can meet demand. Basically, you can save a lot of money on CPU and hardware.

2. Gets applications to market faster 

For many companies, it takes their developers weeks to deploy new applications. Additionally, a lot of tasks like software deployments and patches are manual and time consuming. With Kubernetes, most of this can be automated. For Booking.com, before containers and Kubernetes, creating a new service would take weeks. It now takes them as few as 10 minutes. Likewise, Pearson the education company, set a lofty business goal to double their customers within just a few years. But, in order to do so, they needed to deliver products to market faster. By deploying K8s they were able to achieve 15-20% developer productivity savings, thereby meeting their business goals. “The common theme in all the above is speed, or agility.  Enterprises must be able to deploy new technologies, not for technology’s sake, but to enable rapid iteration and scalability of their customer and employee-facing applications.” This is how enterprises remain competitive in a crowded marketspace. 

3. Reduces staffing costs

It’s not just about delivering products to market faster, it’s also about man power. Instead of overseeing hundreds of virtual machines, one engineer can now manage thousands of containers with Kubernetes. On the operations side of the house, things are made easier too. “Thanks to Kubernetes’ internal cluster monitoring system, there is a dramatic decrease in support issues, and Ops teams can be smaller and more efficient too.” So maybe the question of whether to introduce Kubernetes at your business is as simple as doing some math. How many engineers or ops folks can you avoid hiring by adopting K8s, and what does that save you per year?

4. Keeps the doors open 

Kubernetes is built to be self healing, meaning if a program crashes Kubernetes can automatically start another copy of it or if a server fails, Kubernetes can move workloads to a healthy server. “By using Kubernetes to host your applications and pairing it with failure-tolerant datastores and networking gear, you can ensure that if something breaks, it will often fix itself on its own.” If things go wrong, Kubernetes can save you a lot of money and heartache. For Pearson, the company mentioned above, before Kubernetes, outages were a big issue during their busiest time of the year. Now they are confident in their ability to meet aggressive customer SLA’s and even boast 100% uptime. Again, let’s think about some math. What are your hourly lost revenue costs, hourly recovery costs due to missed SLA’s, and hourly indirect costs like opportunity costs and damage to reputation if you experience downtime? These alone may be good reasons to entertain Kubernetes adoption. 

There are other reasons why Kubernetes is important to a business including multi-cloud (and hybrid cloud) flexibility, improving security (so long as you run it on a secure OS for Kubernetes), avoiding vendor lock-in, the fact that it’s open source, and more, which we can get into in another blog post. For now, I hope this helps you understand some tangible ways that Kubernetes can help your business save money and make money, and why it’s worth a consideration. If you have any questions about the points mentioned here, or how to begin the conversation about adopting Kubernetes in your organization, feel free to reach out to me and my team at Sidero Labs – we always love to hear from you and offer our help!

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