Kubernetes is Not Your Platform, It's Just the Foundation

Kubernetes helps us tame sprawling microservices architectures and address increased operational complexity. Kubernetes gives developers abstractions and APIs to deploy and run their services. 

But there is a price to pay in terms of both the in-house operational expertise required and the learning curve for application teams. The elephant in the room is that to run, maintain and evolve Kubernetes, we likely need a dedicated Kubernetes team.

Is the tradeoff between better operational tools and introducing a new dependency layer on the path to production for application teams worthwhile? Are we making life easier for application teams or instead reducing their end-to-end ownership? 

Regardless of all the technical benefits that Kubernetes undoubtedly brings, team interactions are still key for successfully delivering and running services. We will look at a couple of organizations that have succeeded by focusing on reducing the cognitive load for application teams. 

Unfortunately, many organizations see Kubernetes as “the” platform, rather than just a technical foundation for a true internal platform. In the worst case, they mandate all teams to adopt Kubernetes, regardless of both the application teams’ and the platform’s maturity levels. 

Successful Kubernetes adoption requires thinking about what a platform really means and learning which team structures and interactions work well. And evolve them over time.


Manuel Pais

IT Organizational Consultant and co-author of Team Topologies

Manuel Pais is an independent IT organizational consultant and trainer, focused on team interactions, delivery practices, and accelerating flow. Manuel is co-author of the book "Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow" (IT Revolution Press, 2019). He...

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Kubernetes and Cloud Architectures


KubernetesContainersDistributed Systems


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