Government

The Future Development of Kubernetes for Defense

Mission First, a new DoD and National Security podcast from VMware and Carahsoft, explores the latest national security and defense tech news, analysis, challenges, and buzzing topics from thought-leaders in the industry.

In the first episode, Paul Puckett (Director at the Enterprise Cloud Management Agency, Office of the US Army Chief Information Officer) chats with Joe Beda, Principal Engineer at VMware and one of the inventors of Kubernetes.

The Evolution of Kubernetes

The conversation delves into the history of Kubernetes and the problems it was developed to solve, and looks to the future and the opportunities and value the platform creates for its users. Paul and Joe cover how Kubernetes has evolved, lessons learned during development, and the importance of extensibility, specialization, and building for the long term.

Beda explains that Kubernetes came about as a new way to manage applications and infrastructure when trying to solve for a disconnect between the way software was built and how it was managed. And from early on, his team knew that value and flexibility were paramount to success. An early challenge was knowing “you’re never going to be able to add all the features that everybody needs” when developing a platform as a service, so the team took the approach of focusing on the “building blocks” instead of adding more and more features to the platform holistically.

Instead of getting bogged down by adding every feature requested by the community, they focused on “extensibility” — the ability for users to flex the platform to their needs over time and build on top of Kubernetes — and therefore created value for the long term. “Creating that platform extensibility is part of what made Kubernetes so successful,” Beda said.

Kubernetes Tips for Government Agencies

As the conversation unfolds, Puckett and Beda share strategies leaders need to know in order to successfully implement Kubernetes:

  1. Remember that Kubernetes is a tool to achieve solutions, but it’s not the solution in and of itself. Stay focused on your desired outcomes and use the platform to achieve your goals.
  2. Start simple. Identify the right tools for your mission, instead of adding every piece of tech there is. It takes time to build the instinct to know what is most useful, so practice adding features slowly and keep things lean where possible.
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail. Build in time to experiment and pivot based on your goals and team.
  4. Tailor your plan to your organization. Every team has different needs, so take advantage of the flexibility and extensibility of the platform to build what works for your mission.

Another key to success when implementing Kubernetes? Collaboration between Ops and Devs. Developers must understand — and care about — how what they build runs in production. And anyone involved in production needs to be constantly sharing feedback with devs on how their apps are running over time. Many organizations are pivoting to combine these teams (or parts of them) into a holistic DevOps team, but even if these groups still exist separately, they must communicate and collaborate in order to be successful.

Listen to episode 1 to hear more about how Kubernetes became a success and how it can work for your team.

New episodes of Mission First will be available every month on all major streaming platforms. Subscribe today and don’t miss episode 2, which covers Kessel Run and Continuous Authority to Operate (ATO).

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