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The Managed Kubernetes Opportunity for MSPsThe Managed Kubernetes Opportunity for MSPs

MSPs can meet demand for managed Kubernetes, or Kubernetes-as-a-Service, which is currently available from only a handful of providers.

Christopher Tozzi

September 24, 2017

2 Min Read
The Managed Kubernetes Opportunity for MSPs

Brought to you by MSPmentor

Kubernetes, an open source orchestration platform for Docker containers, is an increasingly important part of computing environments.

But managed Kubernetes services are difficult to find — which creates an opportunity for MSPs.

A container orchestrator is a tool that automates the provisioning and management of containers.

In a large-scale Docker environment, an orchestrator is an essential tool.

Kubernetes is not the only container orchestrator.

Alternatives exist, such as Swarm and Mesos.

However, Kubernetes has emerged as probably the most popular orchestration solution for containers.

(Hard, objective numbers on Kubenretes market share are difficult to find, but it’s a pretty safe bet that Kubernetes takes the cake.)

Managed Kubernetes

Surprisingly, despite Kubernetes’s importance in production environments, few managed Kubernetes options exist.

The lack of Kubernetes-as-a-Service offerings can make it tough for some organizations to start using Kubernetes.

While Kubernetes is free for anyone to download, installing and managing Kubernetes requires a fair amount of time and expertise.

A managed Kubernetes service is therefore a compelling option for organizations that want to focus on their applications, rather than the orchestration tools that help to deploy them.

A handful of managed Kubernetes offerings exist.

Most are tied to major public cloud computing platforms, such as Google Container Engine (GKE) and Azure Container Service.

If you want to use these managed Kubernetes services, you have to run your applications on the public cloud that hosts them.

You don’t get to choose your own cloud (or build a private one).

In addition, there are a handful of pure-play managed Kubernetes providers.

They allow you to run Kubernetes-as-a-Service on any cloud.

Examples of such providers include Platform9 and ContainerShip.

But the number of such cloud-agnostic managed Kubernetes offerings is very limited.

Managed Kubernetes for MSPs

Therein lies an opportunity for MSPs.

MSPs that can deliver Kubernetes setup and management services can leverage the demand for such offerings and the paucity of existing solutions.

To be most competitive, MSPs should offer managed Kubernetes services that work on the infrastructure of their customers’ choosing.

As Docker container adoption continues to rise, demand for managed Kubernetes will only grow greater.

So will the opportunity for MSPs in this niche.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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