September 22, 2021

Newly released annual report sheds light on the status of Kubernetes use and evolution

  • Conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by Spectro Cloud, the report differs from other Kubernetes studies as it has an executive and production focus — surfacing the massive influx of Kubernetes adoption, and the associated challenges organizations still experience
  • Kubernetes usage is generally expected to continue to rise in the forthcoming years, becoming the de facto container orchestration platform to support an ever-increasing global application landscape. However, 66% of IT executives do not yet believe their business can have both a flexible and usable Kubernetes environment, reflecting a continuous balancing act between empowering application developers and ensuring enterprise controls
  • Ninety-eight percent (98%) of IT executives report challenges including managing multi-cluster and multi-cloud Kubernetes in real enterprise environments. Despite that, the majority (77%) also agree that having different stacks spanning different environments is “vital.”

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Spectro Cloud, a provider of a next-gen Kubernetes enterprise management platform that makes it easy for teams to manage the lifecycle of combinations of new and existing Kubernetes environments spanning data centers and the cloud, today unveiled findings from its first inaugural 2021 Annual Kubernetes Adoption Report.

The independent study, conducted by Dimensional Research, with support from Spectro Cloud, is the first of a series of annual surveys, targeting C-level technology leaders, as well as director and vice president roles with direct responsibility for Kubernetes consumption, production and management within organizations exceeding 500 employees. The survey report is intended to share Kubernetes best practices and key insights about the rapidly growing and evolving use of Kubernetes within businesses.

The findings of the survey highlight the need for continued innovation in the way Kubernetes and its related ecosystem are used and managed in real production environments in order to further bridge the gap between Information Technology Operations (ITOps) and Development Operations (DevOps) teams across organizations. In conjunction with the report findings, Spectro Cloud also issued associated predictions for Kubernetes we can expect in 2022.

Spectro Cloud hypothesizes that as enterprises grapple with providing the balance between flexibility and speed for development teams as well as usability and manageability for ITOps, the most strategic and successful companies will pursue new modern Kubernetes management platforms that: 1) support the full spectrum of multi-cluster environments in any location and of all sizes (including hundreds to thousands of diverse clusters); 2) provide native support for edge and bare metal deployments; and 3) will include service mesh functionality with north-bound and south-bound integration.

Predictions and insights informed by key takeaways from the report include:

  • In 2021, Kubernetes continues to emerge as the leading container orchestration platform across data center and cloud environments. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of technology leaders have used Kubernetes for two years or longer, but only 40% have been leveraging them for production environments over the course of at least two years.
  • Despite rapid enterprise adoption, 66% of survey respondents do not believe they can have both flexibility and usability in a Kubernetes environment. This is reflective of the complicated balancing act for organizations, which want to empower developers with flexibility for their application development efforts and at the same time, provide IT with controls including compliance and mitigating security risks. This effectively limits the adoption potential of Kubernetes.
  • Ninety-eight percent (98%) of survey respondents representing many organizations report challenges with Kubernetes. The top challenges are around implementing consistent management and controls for enterprise environments, and managing multi-cluster and heterogeneous multi-cloud environments. They are followed by challenges to integrate required services, manage security and meet compliance requirements due to configuration drift. Seventy-seven percent (77%) agree that diverse Kubernetes stacks across different environments (such as data centers, public clouds or edge and bare metal environments) is “vital,” but “makes management much harder.”
  • There continues to be debate about best practices for cluster deployments. Slightly more than half (54%) of respondents prefer running a larger number of small clusters, while almost all the remaining respondents prefer running a small amount of large clusters (38%). “Paradoxically, when we looked at the reasoning for these selections, both sets of respondents cited reducing complexity as a reason for their preference,” noted Diane Hagglund, principal at Dimensional Research. “This is indicative of a lack of clear consensus about best practices in terms of Kubernetes management, despite the acknowledgment that this is the challenge on both sides and opens the doors to opportunities for innovation from a technology and implementation perspective.”

“Kubernetes in production has exploded over the past two years, and I expect this dramatic growth to continue,” said Jason Bloomberg, president of industry analyst firm Intellyx. “However, such growth currently faces significant challenges. The rapid adoption across diverse tools and hybrid environments coupled with business drivers for speed and scalability have created speed-killing friction between IT operations and the application development and DevOps teams. Enterprises urgently require a modern approach to managing the full lifecycle of new and existing Kubernetes deployments across varied environments as they scale to meet the business needs of the future.”

“If it is said that software is eating the world, Kubernetes is clearly set to eat software, becoming the fundamental building block for application development,” said Spectro Cloud CEO and co-founder Tenry Fu. “As developers around the world demand the freedom and flexibility to quickly code apps and freely deploy wherever it makes sense across any or many environments, IT teams still have the responsibility to ensure compliance, security and other enterprise-grade controls. This balance continues to be one of today’s main challenges. Spectro Cloud’s intention for commissioning this independent, annual Kubernetes Adoption Report survey is to share our commitment and focus on modern Kubernetes. We are highlighting these insights to put a spotlight on best practices, progress, issues and opportunities in an effort to further advance Kubernetes for all businesses and technology providers. In turn, this enables them to best serve the needs of both developer and IT management teams globally.”

To access the full Spectro Cloud 2021 Annual Kubernetes Adoption Report, click here.

An overview on the significance of these findings for technology leaders is available here.

A breakout of Spectro Cloud’s key 2022 Kubernetes predictions is available here.

Spectro Cloud will be hosting a live webinar with Intellyx to discuss the findings and key takeaways from the 2021 Annual Kubernetes Adoption Report on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 12:00 p.m. EST / 9:00 a.m. PST. To attend, register here.

About Spectro Cloud

Spectro Cloud was founded in 2019 by a team of seasoned technology leaders with a proven track record of creating solutions that enable and simplify transformational technologies. This includes cloud, a focus of the team’s previous company CliQr (which has since been acquired by Cisco), as well as Kubernetes, a priority area of focus for Spectro Cloud. With headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley and operations in India and the U.K., our vision is to unlock the full potential of container-based development. For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

About Dimensional Research

Dimensional Research® provides practical market research for technology companies. Dimensional partners with clients to deliver actionable information that reduces risks, increases customer satisfaction, and grows the business. Dimensional researchers are experts in the applications, devices, and infrastructure used by modern businesses and their customers.