This late in the game, it seems amazing to me that I have to write this, but there are plenty of you who aren’t there yet—so let’s try a different approach.
A huge part of DevOps is reducing redundancy. We have cut the fat until it hurts, then refocused and cut some more. There is a blog here about burnout, but we’ll save that for another day. The point is, we don’t do the same thing over and over unless there is a quantifiable benefit—like rebuilding and testing new iterations or spinning up base images to start a new project.
We insist that our applications run in as standardized an environment as possible, with images from a repository and standardized software installed.
And then we promptly put it into a unique environment where deployment is completely different. Yes, I’m talking about which cloud or which data center; if it’s deployed via a data center, then hardware, virtual machine or container? The work to standardize the important bits and leave the less impactful bits to teams to decide has been astounding on the Dev side of DevOps (for those new here, what I call DevOps), but have been far less effective in DevOps. Even companies that claim to be pure cloud generally have two or more cloud vendors, each of which is doing things differently.
So, with all that said, I can say what I should not have to say after all these years:
Make standard containers. I don’t care which flavor and management tool you use, but add in that portability layer. It will protect you from a future where your preferred hosting environment (be it cloud, local or hosted) becomes hostile or overly expensive—or simply ceases to exist. And it will standardize the rest of your DevOps processes. Yes, your preferred cloud vendor offers Kubernetes, and no, that’s not enough. Kubernetes offerings today are like Microsoft in the 1990s. Embrace and extend to build the lock-in barrier higher. You do get some great functionality from the cloud vendors I pay attention to, but processes become non-standard. Better to limit platform-specific work to “spin up a server” and have everything else be reusable wherever you are deploying. The benefits here are far-reaching; there will be configuration and security issues that are different when you move from cloud to cloud or cloud to data center or data center to cloud, but the core of DevOps will remain standardized. There are tools to help with baseline cloud security and risk management, so those in addition to using Kubernetes as a portability platform will make current work less onerous, and massively increase portability from deployment location to deployment location.
You’re short of staff. It does not take a rocket scientist to predict that this situation will not change. Adopt the things that will reduce your workload—like DevOps standardization on Kubernetes (or OpenShift or whatever) as a deployment platform—and keep rocking it. You can’t wave your hand and get more staff or hours in the day, but you can implement containers as the sole deployment option to save time. And use those hours to solve other company problems—because that’s what we do, solve problems for the business. And keep smiling, because you’re rocking it. If you weren’t, they’d find someone who could.