Kubernetes and cloud portability — it’s complicated

I’m so sorry. You were told that Kubernetes was your key to the golden age of multicloud nirvana. You believed that Kubernetes would give you portability to move applications seamlessly between clouds, whether running in your data center or on a public cloud. It’s not really your fault. Vendors have been promising all sorts of magical things with regard to portability and Kubernetes.

Unfortunately, Gartner just weighed in to put the kibosh on the Kubernetes-for-portability panacea. As analyst Marco Meinardi writes, when asked whether companies should embrace “Kubernetes to make their applications portable… the answer is: no.”

It’s not that Kubernetes can’t be used to make applications portable. It can. But the nature of that portability differs from how it’s commonly conceived. So how should companies think about Kubernetes-driven portability?

Can’t get there from here

First, let me suggest that the whole idea of multicloud might be wrongheaded. Now, I could be biased. After all, I do work for a cloud provider (AWS). However, I like to think that my bias against multicloud, magical-application-portability thinking stems from it being a really bad idea. As I wrote long before I joined AWS, “Vendors are cleaning up by selling multicloud snake oil while customers keep getting stuck with lowest common denominator cloud strategies and sky-high expenses.” 

Of course I’m not the only one with this view. Corey Quinn of the Duckbill Group, who has made a living by snarkily trashing bad IT practices, believes multicloud is “the worst practice” for a host of reasons. As Quinn has written:

[T]he idea of building workloads that can seamlessly run across any cloud provider or your own data centers with equal ease… is compelling and something I would very much enjoy.

However, it’s about as practical as saying “just write bug-free code” to your developers—or actually trying to find the spherical cow your physics models dictate should exist. It’s a lot harder than it looks.”

Which brings us to Gartner.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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