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Top Alternatives to Kubernetes to Overcome Business Challenges

Kubernetes provides container orchestration with increased flexibility and reduced release time. However, it has challenges that you need to overcome for optimized costs, scalability and security. So, searching for an alternative to Kubernetes becomes an organic decision. Here are some of the best alternatives to Kubernetes for you to choose from, with pros and cons.

Concurrent configurations and continuous delivery need something out-of-the-box! For Airbnb, it was Kubernetes. They used it with an internal tool to support 1000 engineers. Kubernetes helped them with 500 deployments per day and 250 critical services.

However, it is not a magic wand and comes with challenges. Kubernetes has issues with security policy implementations due to its massive cluster size. Fortunately, many alternatives to Kubernetes, such as Azure Kubernetes Service and Rancher, provide role-based access control(RBAC). However, the choice of alternatives depends on specific business needs. So, choosing an option can be dicey for many businesses.

As a decision-maker, why do you need an alternative? It is a question that comes first to your mind. This is why analyzing the challenges of Kubernetes, and its impact is key to decision-making. Further, we will help you decide the best alternatives to Kubernetes to overcome challenges.

Top challenges of Kubernetes

Kubernetes provides scalability, reduced IT costs, and shorter release timeframes. However, it does not mean there are no bottlenecks with Kubernetes. According to research by D2iQ, 94% of surveyed participants believed that Kubernetes added complexity to their organizations. Identifying these challenges can help you decide on a suitable alternative.

1. Application consistency

If you have a stateful app, data persistence is a challenge with Kubernetes. Containers are temporary, and it’s not one but a group of them keeping the service running. However, you can use the YAML template to create a manifest. It allows you to achieve the desired state in stateless apps.

However, if your application is stateful, data persistence is complex in Kubernetes. Further, there is data fragmentation over many services, data centers, environments, etc.

Containers can be problematic. Everything, including the app’s state and configuration files, is deleted on the termination of temporary containers. So, maintaining the state of the app and consistency becomes challenging. So, you need an alternative to Kubernetes that provides higher app consistency.

2. Infrastructure management

Kubernetes single-node clusters can range from 500-600 to large 15,000- 20,000 clusters. Each node is a virtual machine or physical machine based on clusters. Scaling the single-node clusters can increase the scale of managing, tracking, and maintaining activities.

Further, unplanned downtime due to the failure of a single container is time-consuming to rectify. It also needs more effort to mitigate the error than a planned downtime. So, you need a solution with higher multi-cluster visibility and better configuration management.

3. Scaling Kubernetes

Kubernetes does offer scalability, and this is why many organizations use it. However, when it comes to dynamic scaling, Kubernetes pauses a challenge. This is because Kubernetes comes with a pre-built Horizontal Pod Autoscaler(HPA).

It allows you to automate the deployment of pods as per scaling needs. However, the problem lies in the configuration of HPA. During the deployment, it does not allow you to configure an HPA on the ReplicaSet or Replication controller.

A Replication controller is a structure that enables the replacement of pods, especially when one of them crashes. So, while HPA helps auto-scale Kubernetes, it does not allow the replacement of pods if there is a crash.

4. The total cost of ownership

One of the reasons Kubernetes allows you to reduce operations and development costs is by automating several tasks. However, in a survey by FinOps/CNFC, 68% of respondents reported increased Kubernetes costs.

Kubernetes provides the ability to spin up codes from existing repositories for rapid time-to-market. However, such codes may not be optimized for resource usage. So, as the applications scale up or down, there is a wastage of resources due to suboptimal regulations.

A survey by StormForge on cloud spending for 2021 indicates that 48% of cloud resources are wasted due to Kubernetes-based complexities. In addition, it increases the total cost of ownership for any organization. Therefore, the best option is to choose an alternative to Kubernetes with minimal TCO.

5. Securing Kubernetes

Kubernetes does not come with an Identity and Access Management(IAM) capability out of the box. So, monitoring is complex if you have several teams and users using the app across multiple environments.

Another critical challenge is to ensure that security patches reach every container within a short time. As cluster size grows, adding security patches across servers and enforcing policies becomes challenging.

Security issues in Kubernetes are not uncommon. For example, according to a Red Hat survey, 55% of respondents had to delay their app releases due to security issues in Kubernetes. So, the security issues in Kubernetes can impact the overall time to market.

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