For a technology that the average person has probably never heard of, Kubernetes surged in popularity in 2017 with a particular group of IT pros who are working with container technology. Kubernetes is the orchestration engine that underlies how operations staff deploy and manage containers at scale. (For the low-down on containers, check out this article.)
In plain English, that means that as the number of containers grows then you need a tool to help launch and track them all. And because the idea of containers — and the so-called “microservices” model it enables — is to break down a complex monolithic app into much smaller and more manageable pieces, the number of containers tends to increase over time. Kubernetes has become the de facto standard tool for that job.
Kubernetes is actually an open source project, originally developed at Google, which is managed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Over the last year, we’ve seen some of the biggest names in tech flocking to the CNCF including AWS, Oracle, Microsoft and others, in large part because they want to have some influence over the development of Kubernetes.
As Kubernetes has gained momentum, it has become a platform for innovation and business ideas (as tends to happen with popular open source projects). Once you get beyond the early adopters, companies start to see opportunities to help customers who want to move to the new technology, but lack internal expertise. Companies can create commercial opportunities by hiding some of the underlying complexity associated with using a tool like this.