Microservices, Serverless Apps Won’t Take Off in 2019, but Kubernetes’ Importance Is Elevated

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Kubernetes holds the key to integration with important OSS technologies such as Istio and Knative and for easing ongoing complexity around microservices and serverless apps.
  • Blockchain will continue to rise in importance as the digital ledger to modernize business processes, shifting in 2019 from PoCs to the early stages of moving blockchain apps into production.

As GlobalData reflects on what has been a whirlwind year in the application platforms and DevOps space, including mega multi-billion dollar acquisitions, the growing importance of OSS technologies, and a fast growing competitive landscape, we’ve determined Kubernetes will be at the forefront of importance. No other technology in this space maintains the same clout as Kubernetes for its ability to address the most pressing needs of DevOps teams which are looking to refactor apps into new development architectures. Whether operations is deploying monolithic or microservices-based applications into production, Kubernetes container orchestration technology has become the most viable element in the application platform toolkit.

Following is a recap of our 2019 predictions for the DevOps market. For a longer version of this analysis, please see: 2019 Predictions: Complexity Stalls Adoption of Microservices, Serverless Computing Architectures in the New Year,” December 18, 2018.

Blockchain: The stakes are getting higher in the blockchain market segment, with various vendors, SIs, and SPs (e.g., IBM, Microsoft, Accenture, AT&T) looking to differentiate by proving interoperability between disparate blockchain implementations and cloud platforms. So, while mainstream acceptance of blockchain is still five to ten years away, early key projects will unfold in 2019. Vendors and organizations will move beyond the education and PoC stage of blockchain into a second phase of proving blockchain apps in production in the new year. This will be enabled through technology providers’ and systems integrators’ current efforts to actively build points of interoperability between disparate blockchain implementations and cloud platforms. To achieve this, firms ranging from financial institutions to retail and food industries will leverage emerging developer toolkits and templates initially for easy on-ramping. Furthermore, blockchain will be a future enabler of IoT efficiency, scalability, security, and cost management and a facilitator of IoT apps such as supply chain track and trace, so expect to see more solutions in 2019 coupling these technologies.

Microservices Apps: We expect ongoing operational complexity to continue to stall microservices-based apps for two to three years, but cloud providers will heed the call through new solutions which couple Kubernetes with Istio. Over the past year, the promise of increased microservices support appeared in the form of service mesh technologies. Istio, a distributed microservices architecture support technology, represents the most high-profile of the OSS projects currently underway. It’s aimed at reducing the complexity of managing microservices deployments by providing real-time visibility into, and control over, application and network performance through consistency at the infrastructure level. Microservices will get a boost in 2019 from growing awareness and vendor adoption of service mesh technologies, which also include Envoy (distributed proxy) and MicroProfile (microservices architecture/portability), providing enterprises with solutions which help operations manage new app dependencies required during the process of refactoring traditional apps.

Serverless Computing: Serverless computing and functions-as-a-service will be enabled in three to five years through technologies that improve support for DevOps teams tasked with managing, governing, and securing the implementation of new serverless application deployments. Although a number of organizations have begun launching projects aimed at taking advantage of this emerging pay-per-use computing model, most enterprises do not consider the technology mature enough to provide the stability necessary to support their workloads, due to a lack of maturity and established industry standard. The technology holds the promise of reducing developers’ infrastructure obligations, e.g., server and database provisioning and integration with other services, alongside rapid scale and reduction in infrastructure costs. The industry’s two leading public cloud providers, Amazon and Microsoft, are battling it out on event-driven technology and functions-as-a-service, both recently rolling out aggressive serverless strategies and solutions. New solutions (e.g., AWS Firecracker) focus on providing technologies that improve support for DevOps teams tasked with managing, governing, and securing the implementation of serverless deployments, in turn boosting the performance of microservice and serverless apps.

Kubernetes: In 2019, enterprises will have access to pieces of OSS PaaS under a ‘Kubernetes-as-a-service’ distribution, enhanced with management and security features. In 2018, Kubernetes became prominently known as the industry’s de facto container orchestration standard, resulting in a broadening of participants in the DevOps and hybrid cloud market, including Docker, Rancher, Heptio, Mesosphere, VMware, Red Hat, Pivotal, Microsoft, and IBM. Each offers their own distribution of the container orchestration software in an effort to displace perhaps their largest rival: the DIY efforts within enterprises. In 2019, the industry will continue to see a variety of options available in this space in the form of upstream Kubernetes implementations to packaged Kubernetes. The momentum behind the OSS movement – in a cloud era when portability is crucial – is unprecedented, particularly around Kubernetes, which is open source standards body CNCF’s largest and most successful project to date. The big three popular public cloud providers will continue that momentum and disruption with their own support of containerization ease via Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), AWS EKS (managed Kubernetes service), and Google Kubernetes Engine.

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