November 18, 2020

Introducing the Kubernetes Maturity Model

Whether you are new to Kubernetes or you have deployment experience, Kubernetes has complexity that you’ll need to overcome. At USNL, we have been helping companies build production-grade Kubernetes clusters since 2019. We’ve built, tested and managed hundreds of Kubernetes production instances with a focus on secure, reliable and scalable environments.

We are in a unique position because of this end-to-end experience. That’s why we created the Kubernetes Maturity Model. Our team of Kubernetes SREs spent time considering the entire end-to-end journey, what phases you go through and what skills and activities you need to learn/undertake in each.

The Kubernetes Maturity Model exists to help you self-identify what stage you are at, understand gaps in your environment and gain insights into enhancing and improving your Kubernetes stack.

As you use the maturity model, know that if you do reach a certain phase, you may still need to revisit previous phases. Also, understand that Kubernetes maturity doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time. The Kubernetes Maturity Model should be used as a tool to help you understand where you need to focus attention, or require help, during your journey to cloud native.

Here we provide a quick summary of each phase.

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Phase 1 Prepare: You are contemplating how cloud native and Kubernetes will help you drive your business and technical objectives, what it will cost, and what you intend to achieve.

Phase 2 Transform: You are setting up your Kubernetes infrastructure and shifting workloads to the platform. You must translate and transform your existing mindset, workflows and practices.

Phase 3 Deploy: You have reached a baseline understanding of Kubernetes concepts and are practicing the usage of fundamental concepts by exercising development, deployment, administrative and troubleshooting skills. You will implement process, CI/CD, empower developers and introduce some monitoring and observability.

Phase 4 Build Confidence: You are building confidence in your core competency to regularly deploy and ship features with success. You are also gaining a deeper understanding of Kubernetes allowing you to customize and experiment and deploy across your organization.

Phase 5 Improve Operations: You are actively deploying Kubernetes across business successfully. Now you want to improve Kubernetes security, efficiency and reliability of Kubernetes clusters.

Phase 6 Measure & Control: You are learning what you want to measure and implementing sophisticated monitoring and alerting. You are also identifying what behaviors you want to control around security, configuration and standards.

Phase 7 Optimize & Automate: You are employing more sophisticated tooling to remove human error and toil, improve reliability and maximize efficiency.