AWS just followed Azure and Google in supporting Kubernetes. This is a watershed moment for the enterprise on the cloud, and is great for business and consumers. This is also Amazon throwing down on Google and Microsoft Azure. Something along the lines of "we can play your game, and still win."

AWS has two significant advantages:

  • Economies of Scale
  • Vendor Lock-In (or more charitably, marketshare & bespoke leveraged APIs)

AWS adopting Kubernetes basically gives up that second advantage, and makes it possible for customers to adopt Amazon technologies - and be able to move to google compute and Microsoft Azure in the future (or run it on-premise). This at a time where amazon is roughly three times the size of their nearest competitor. It's also notable because Kubernetes came from Google rewriting their container management secret sauce (Borg). While I am sure there are going to be some at Google who are unhappy that Amazon basically has a re-written Borg that they wrote as a critical technology, I think in the end they will be happy because Amazon's adopting this technology makes a common interface that both Google and AWS can meet. It's open source at it's best. A monopolistic player just adopted a technology sponsored by a (much smaller) competitor, while customers can improve and adopt the same technologies locally. 

Who is the big looser here? Probably Docker. The cold war[1] between Docker and Kubernetes[2] just went nuclear[3], but is also probably over. It will be a massive uphill battle to displace K8S in the cloud. The Docker folks rightly believe that the container is not done evolving, and are taking steps to move up the stack with the vision of a simple, integrated distributed container runtime. While their move fast and break things approach has caused a number of backlashes by people who would be better off not using containers, Docker is getting some traction on their integrated containers approach everywhere.  I believe that the backlash is more a response vendors such as Redhat and Google viewing Docker as a fundamental challenge to their core business models - swarm threatens K8s, and thus GCP while Redhat is threatened by any world that abstracts away the lock in advantage that Redhat has - the same advantage that Amazon is throwing away here. 

The Kubernetes teams - believes that a container should be simple and dumb, and orchestrated with a number of outside technologies. This also has a lot of benefits. It’s very powerful. It’s also about as intuitive as quantum mechanics, unless you live, eat and breath in the operations space. My hope is that we build on the win of Kubernetes everywhere by finding a way to continually build these management features directly into the container level.