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Why Kubernetes Sucks and How to Fix It

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted March 30, 2017


BERLIN — Joe Beda is in a better position than most to understand what's wrong with Kubernetes. Beda helped to start the Kubernetes project while he was at Google; he now runs a startup called Heptio that is aiming to help further enable Kubernetes.

At the Kubecon / CloudNative EU conference in Berlin, Beda delivered a keynote address on what needs to change in Kubernetes to bring in more users.Joe Beda Kubernetes

"Kubernetes sucks," Beda said to an astonished capacity crowd.

He added though that all software sucks in some way or another and that he's often amazed at how close to the abyss modern software really is and that anything actually works at all.

"Kubernetes is system software built by system administrators for system administrators," Beda said. "But not everybody is like that."

The challenge for Kubernetes is that in order to be more consumable and even more widely adopted, the project needs to realize that not everyone is the same and that there is a need to address a broader audience.

Kubernetes Needs to Address a Broader Audience

While adding new features to Kubernetes is a good thing in many respects, in Beda's view, each new set of features adds more complexity, which can also end up becoming a barrier to adoption if not handled properly.

"We need people to use features they need and not be forced to deal with a high level of complexity," Beda said.

As the Kubernetes project tries to reach new users, Beda said the project needs features and enhancements that work for those new users. He added that a big part of getting new users on board is about removing friction.

"There is a certain amount of mental friction to get started with Kubernetes today," Beda said. "We don't do a good job for providing a simpler way for users to get in."

Kubernetes' Incomplete Event Stream

One of the other areas that Beda wants to see improved in Kubernetes is something he referred to as "observability," which is more than just basic monitoring. He noted there are a lot of things that go on inside of applications, and Kubernetes need to do a better job of understanding what is really happening. In his view, the current Kubernetes event stream is somewhat incomplete.

"We need tools so that when users do need to look under the covers, you have the data you need and can figure out what's actually going on," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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