Ideas and Validation February 14, 2020

Service to make Kubernetes simple

th3mus1cman

I have put a little time into building some pieces of a service that will make Kubernetes simpler for 80% of users. You know the ones that are not at Netflix scale. I have mainly built it for myself but I am wondering if there would be a market for it. My gut says yes, but what do you all think? I am thinking about open-sourcing some of it like a standalone authentication microservice it uses and some other pieces but would like to turn it into a profitable service too.

  1. 3

    Find some potential customers before you build anything.

    My initial thought was: "do you need Kubernetes if you're not at Netflix scale?", but, lots of software developers/teams use tools for the wrong reasons, so, who knows, there might be a business there.

    The main thing to look for in your potential customer interviews is a real business need (entities that spend money to solve problems) vs individuals (read: extremely frugal, think twice about a $5/mo app) telling you "yes! this is a great idea!" but don't have a real need for it. In this "framework", think of "need" as someone telling you "I'm dying to pay money for someone to solve this problem".

    1. 2

      Kubernetes has tons of features that matter from day one. Things like zero-downtime deployments, health checks, API access and more. The truth is that there aren't many alternatives and building these things yourself is much harder than learning Kubernetes.

  2. 2

    I'd be interested in checking it out. I definitely think K8 could use some abstraction layer. But ussually that abstraction layer becomes a PAAS. For example: Google App Engine, Render.com, Heroku etc.

    So you have to figure out whether you will be competing on pricing or functionality with other PAAS.

  3. 2

    Worked on Kubernetes based SaaS/OnPrem software before (and built a UI around it), I'd be interested to hear/see more about this.

  4. 1

    I don't want to fuss with k8s so I use rancher server to manage containers. Is it better than rancher server?

  5. 1

    I most certainly believe, there is lots of room for improvement how to make Kubernetes simpler to use. I personally work on an open source Gitops framework for AKS, EKS and GKE. My goal is to make it easier for teams to maintain their clusters over time in an automated way. Take a look at kubestack.com if you're interested.

  6. 1

    YES.

  7. 1

    Maybe it's just me, but Kubernetes is not that complicated if you don't do anything fancy.

    If you use GKE, you basically just need a Deployment spec and a Service spec and you're done.

    Maybe an Ingress and Cert specs if you want to get fancy and have auto-renewing SSL.

    On top of that, it seems like the natural course would be:

    • Try to use the "simple" K8S
    • Run into an unsupported case
    • Figure out how to do it in "full" K8S
    • Never come back to the simple one
  8. 1

    100% yes. Kubernetes solves a lot of problems, but it's too complicated for most people, more abstraction layers are needed. Rancher is doing some interesting things with Rio, but that's the only player in that sector that I know of.

  9. 1

    Yes very much. We are looking into eventually migrating our entire devops setup to Kube

  10. 1

    I was thinking of something similar, but it was more than just kubernetes.

    I wonder if anyone would pay for Configuration as a Service.

    In short: Create and manage provider specific configuration without the hassle of managing and organizing it in Git repo, and with a cleaner and more powerful interface than Yaml, Json, Toml, HCL, or Jsonnet.

    Democratize features like CircleCI orbs, ConcourseCI resources, Helm, "plugins", etc.

    I think to accomplish this, it means developing a unifying representation language and ui that can handle variables, deep merging and overwriting, and relationships. Existing tools that come close but are developer unfriendly are Terraform (variables and relationships), and jsonnet (variables, merging and relative/and references).

    I'd love to join forces with you on this. Also cc @MaximeHeckel

    1. 1

      Why do you think Terraform is not developer-friendly? It's by far the best tool out there IMO. As a developer, organizing it in a git repo is a valuable feature. :)

      1. 1

        I'm not speaking for myself. I've been using it for years, and personally, I like it. There are some problems with it, such as poor/limited support for conditionals. But I've been at 3 companies now with developers that would rather stay far away from it, and not have to learn the language, state management, etc.

        Maybe I've had bad luck. I'm not sure.