From 2016 to Now: Continuing the Kubernetes Journey

22 November 2021 by Tennis Smith

If you’re looking to deploy containerized applications at scale, you’re most likely looking at implementing Kubernetes. But before this container orchestration platform became the go-to choice, it was a new open-source project eager to make a splash in the tech world.

When it comes to Kubernetes history, you can certainly go pretty far back. For this article, we will explore how Kubernetes has grown since those early days of the project back in 2016.

Post-2016: Mainstream Kubernetes adoption

2015 was a big year for Kubernetes. While it wasn’t the true genesis of what we now know today as Kubernetes, it marks the release of Kubernetes v1.0 — a big milestone in the project’s development. Before it was Kubernetes, though, it was the Borg Project, but more on that in another blog.

Today, we’re going to talk about the development of Kubernetes and the major milestones since that initial launch in late summer 2015 — starting with the first mainstream adoption in 2016.

If you go into any major tech company these days, you’re sure to find a few folks who work with Kubernetes. While Kubernetes is complicated, it has become one of the hottest technologies changing the way we approach application development and deployment. But that’s today. Jump back just half a decade, and you’ll see quite a different story.

While Kubernetes saw some major developments throughout 2015, it wasn’t until 2016 that we saw some significant implementation of the platform. The first major development was the release of Helm. This helps users deal with Kubernetes applications, manage complexity, easily update architecture, and share across public and private servers.

Other major developments of that year include:

While each of these events plays an important role in Kubernetes history, the combination of these milestones, and previous developments, helped Kuberentes crack mainstream success and adoption.

2017: Enterprise adoption

In early 2017, the world saw the release of Kubernetes 1.6. This stabilized release ushered in some specific updates like etcd v3 enabled by default, direct dependency on a single container, and other features like automatic provisioning of StorageClass objects. That’s just what’s happening within Kubernetes itself. Around the platform, many significant changes were about to take place.

Around that time, we saw many big names in tech jump on the Kubernetes train. First, Github fully adopted the platform with all web and API requests served by containers running Kubernetes. Other notable companies working with Kubernetes include Oracle joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation as a platinum member and Microsoft giving the world a preview of Azure Container Service (AKS).

Another major development was the full embrace of Kubernetes by Docker. If you don’t know, Docker was the real innovator of the application container. Allowing developers to build apps with Docker and seamlessly work with Kubernetes was a real game-changer.

Onward from 2018

By this point in the history of Kubernetes, we’ve seen the project go through quite some development. From the early days of 2016 to 2018, Kubernetes went from an unknown tech to a widely used orchestration platform.

Our story certainly doesn’t stop here. In 2018 alone, Kubernetes saw Amazon’s Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Microsoft’s Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), and Google’s Kubernetes Engine (GKE) become widely available. These cloud service providers made developing a Kubernetes architecture much easier on the enterprise level. 

Kubernetes also saw the culture behind the platform grow. KubeCon 2018 saw four times as many developers in attendance than previous years, and several Kubernetes-specific podcasts and other media hit the air. 

From 2018, Kubernetes saw some breakthroughs that helped cement the technology as the standard for working with containerized applications. Even so, the orchestration platform was not without its problems. 

The fact is, while we’ve seen Kubernetes become wildly popular, it’s still quite a complicated landscape to navigate. Combine that with the skills and knowledge gap most businesses face when implementing the platform and the difficulty of managing Kubernetes, and you can see that we still have a ways to go in terms of mass adoption. So, what are the next steps for Kubernetes?

The Future of Kubernetes

It's becoming pretty clear that containerized applications are here to stay. The future of IT is most certainly going to center around key factors like:

These are just a handful of some of the buzzwords you should probably expect to see jamming up marketing channels. To keep up with the future means creating environments for applications to run effectively with the greatest amount of flexibility and agility. Frankly, these goals may not be possible without the power of Kubernetes.

Additionally, the fundamental shift toward cloud-native systems is a trend that doesn't seem to be abating. Combine this with the increasing popularity of computing on the edge, and you can see the demand for platforms that can handle both multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud systems as a necessity to meet these growing tech needs.

As cloud-native and edge-deployment paradigms become fully embraced by modern companies, the need for established standards will grow. Kubernetes can provide these standards and help future companies tactfully react to changing circumstances. 

The future will most likely be something built on top of Kubernetes. If we face the facts, we’ll see Kubernetes as an important foundational technology, but it's not without its downsides — the main one being the sheer complexity of it all. Businesses will be clamoring for simplified approaches to Kubernetes, and the companies that can provide this will not only help usher in this new age of IT infrastructure but also position themselves for success.

Wayfinder can change your approach to Kubernetes

At Appvia, we’re helping write the future of Kubernetes history. Wayfinder is an abstraction layer that sits on top of the cloud providers, obscuring most of its complexities so that teams can harness the power of Kubernetes easily and safely without having to be Kubernetes experts. It’s having a Kubernetes team in a box.

If you’re looking for a way to implement Kubernetes but are struggling to figure out how, reach out to our team to learn more about how we can help.

Share this article

About the author

Picture of Tennis Smith

Tennis Smith

Head of US Pre-Sales

Tennis has spent over 40 years in the business, starting from a stint in the US Air Force he's worked in various capacities from equipment installation, software QA, app development and DevOps. During his 30 years in Silicon Valley, he worked for the likes of Apple, Cisco and Visa International.

On the personal front, he's been married for 25 years, is an enthusiastic martial artist and spends too much money on his cats.

Related articles