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Hybrid Cloud: Unlocking App Modernization With Kubernetes

Tom Christensen Tom Christensen
Global Technology Advisor & Executive Analyst, Hitachi Vantara

April 12, 2021

Last month, we were proud to launch our Hitachi Kubernetes Service, a true software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering to improve the performance and management of multiple Kubernetes environments. By enabling users to manage their clusters simply and securely across any major cloud provider and on premises, Kubernetes can play an instrumental role in businesses’ modernization efforts. It’s for this reason that we are always working to get it on the radar of our existing clients.

While the industry is already on its way towards greater Kubernetes platform adoption, I’ve recently had the opportunity to discuss some of the concerns that IT and business leaders continue to have regarding this shift. In this article, I will address some of the most frequent questions I have received regarding Kubernetes and containerization more broadly, to help others make an informed decision.

What Time Scales Are Involved?

Just weeks ago, I wrote about how 18% of the 49 clients I had spoken to about hybrid- and multicloud responded that 11-20% of their workload runs in a containerized application environment. These findings are in line with other industry studies, which indicate that 20% of companies’ applications will run in a container environment over the next three years.

While these findings are positive, and we appreciate that many organizations are wanting to modernize their applications and get them cloud native as quickly and efficiently as possible, we also believe they need to be realistic about how long this will take. Modernization is not a quick-fix solution, and businesses should not be pressured into rushing the process. To put things into perspective, a number of financial services organizations have estimated that it will take an average of 35 years to modernize their applications at the rate of current transformation. Hence, when it comes to modernization, a careful and measured approach is always the best practice.

Which Areas Should Be Prioritized?

We often advise clients to prioritize the applications that will deliver the most value to a business and can provide a return on the expensive investment that cloud modernization or application modernization requires.

For example, containerization offers a range of benefits, but it’s important to recognize whether it’s the smartest choice for your business. When businesses do consider greater containerization, they should be looking for advantages, including:

  • Fast delivery of modern applications to stay competitive in the market.
  • Business agility and the ability to use public cloud for value-adding services.
  • A hybrid-cloud platform to host modern applications.
  • “Cloud First” strategy – where cloud is seen as the strategic platform.
  • Quick deployment and consumption-based models.
  • Ability to meet customer and business expectations.

When Is Kubernetes the Smart Choice?

Kubernetes is often considered for distributed applications, but when managing legacy static and mainstream applications, the approach could be a little heavy handed. This is due to the in-built complexity of Kubernetes, which in this circumstance could diminish any business advantage. As a platform designed to improve performance and reduce the operational effort of a distributed systems architecture, it’s always important to be selective when choosing applications for Kubernetes modernization.

At present, we understand that technology leaders are looking for cloud-based management tools with portability to multicloud and consumption-based models. With this comes a need to manage containers at scale to both support portability and improve development, all without leaving current investment in IT behind. For this reason, many of these leaders tend to focus on supporting DevOps and DevSecOps, and creating a hybrid-cloud platform for running their microservices.

How Can We Manage Kubernetes at Scale?

Amidst the pandemic, the business demand for innovation and agility as a means to make money, save money and stay competitive has resulted in a growing need for containerized applications. One the hurdles, however, is the scaling and management of these container applications. Because of this, there appears to be a need for an agnostic container management service that spans both on- and off-premises locations, including software- and service-based offerings.

In fact, we value the container management market to approximately $300 million today and expect it to grow to $1 billion over the next three to four years.

Recognizing this, many IT decision-makers often ask if it’s worth continuing with deployment of their legacy applications, or if it’s the right time to bring in Kubernetes as the new platform for hosting workloads. Since launching the Hitachi Kubernetes Service, we’ve received a significant number of questions relating to this and, as an organization committed to providing our customers with greater control over the scale and management of their platforms, we’ve made sure our Kubernetes service works in harmony with the systems our customers already have in place. This ensures that every customer can benefit from Hitachi Kubernetes Service without the need to undergo a complete platform overhaul, or require an expert-level understanding of Kubernetes deployment.

Why Choose an Agnostic Kubernetes Service?

On the operational level the main concerns we see are complexity, security, automation and management, and then comes an urgent need for cloud expertise for every chosen public cloud provider. Simplifying the deployment and closing the skill gaps is key for success. This is what the agnostic Kubernetes service addresses.

The Bottom Line

The containerization market is quickly maturing, which is why we have made it a priority to guide our customers through this journey. Through the Hitachi Kubernetes Service, our customers benefit from world-class customer training courses – which range from introductory courses to certification level-training – alongside access to the Hitachi global support teams. Together, these resources guarantee that development teams have the tools needed to drive the desired business results.

Likewise, to ensure that our customers get Kubernetes right the first time, we never offer advice in a vacuum. We work closely with our customers to build app-first infrastructures around their own needs and objectives, and to effectively maximize the benefits a hybrid-cloud platform can offer.

These app-first infrastructures can be supported with VMware, Red Hat or EverFlex from Hitachi Vantara solutions.

If you’d like to discuss any of the points raised in this article or learn more about how we can support you with Kubernetes, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Visit us at or register here to get a front-row seat to the future of social innovation at Hitachi Social Innovation Forum 2021.

Tom Christensen is CTO and Customer Advocacy for Northern EMEA at Hitachi Vantara.

Tom Christensen

Tom Christensen

Tom has +30 years' experience in data center modernization, from compute and data infrastructure to hybrid and multicloud, applications, DataOps and big data analytics. He writes extensively about technology and advocates for sustainability and social innovation.