What SME Owners Need To Know About The Cloud And Kubernetes

by | Oct 15, 2020

Jay Keshur, Co-Founder and COO at Appvia, which provides developers and DevOps teams with a range of cloud-native enablement tools and solutions, explains one of the key technology trends in the market, and what it means for your small business. 

Small and medium sized business owners aiming for high growth and seeking a competitive advantage are well aware of the benefits harnessing the latest technology can bring to their company. However, many new solutions can seem geared entirely towards large companies or highly technical users. Much of the marketing and online advice available ignores the simple fact that many SME owners don’t have the time to become technical masters. As a result, making a decision on what technology to use or how to get the most out of their existing tech stack can feel out of reach. The reality is that knowing the potential, drawbacks and costs of the technology decisions your team are making is now as important as knowing the numbers, having a solid marketing plan and understanding your customer’s wants and needs.

My view is that there’s no need for linguistic gatekeeping. Advice and information can be provided in a clear and no nonsense fashion that can make the latest technology accessible to any entrepreneur or business owner. With that in mind, let us explore one of the most important trends in business – cloud infrastructure, and more specifically, a piece of technology called Kubernetes. 

The big picture – a world built on clouds

Any small business who didn’t have some cloud-based aspect to their business will most likely have had to adopt this over the past few months – whether for storing client information, delivering services over the web, or enabling teams to work from home.

As part of this bigger picture, there are other technologies which make running a business in the cloud possible. Kubernetes is one of the most important underlying business infrastructure technologies out there. It is the type of technology which needs to be made accessible to the most nimble and visionary businesses out there – SMEs and high-growth startups. 

What is Kubernetes and why it matters

When you use the cloud as the basis of your business model – perhaps you deliver a service via an app or website to people around the world (or would like to), your development team will typically build the service in smaller pieces – called microservices. 

This makes your business more resilient – different parts of your service can be updated at different times, and you can add new features in stages. Kubernetes is a technology which makes this entire process more efficient and manageable. It is a system of managing how these microservices are run in order to deploy the bigger applications efficiently. 

While there are numerous benefits for your technical team, from a business and entrepreneurial perspective there are also significant advantages. You can quickly respond to the demands you see from customers and new opportunities you see in the market. This is because by building your business’ technology infrastructure around Kubernetes, you can automatically scale up and down your cloud resources (ie when your demand is soaring up you want to make sure your services won’t crash, or when things are calm around holiday seasons). Additionally your development team (either in-house or external contractors) can quickly build new features and easily test changes with a smaller group of users to A/B or canary test.

Increasingly, what was once a niche technical offering has also started to become more open to small businesses. In the same way entrepreneurs have been able to outsource development of ideas and applications, you can now outsource the management of your applications to specialised managed service and product providers. There are numerous cost-effective products in the market and security options that make a potentially overwhelming technology accessible, and consultancies who lend a guiding hand.

It’s also likely that, whether by choice or necessity, you’ll be changing the way you operate to adapt to new surroundings and opportunities. As the world has digitised, your customer’s expectations and needs have changed too – you need to harness the technology that can make this a reality. You’ll be able to outcompete bigger competitors too – Kubernetes can help you scale up your ideas and service a global customer base.

Taking action today

Now, as I’ve mentioned, the day to day management of your infrastructure won’t be handled by you. However, as the most senior decision maker in the business, it’s often up to you to lead by example when it comes to best practice and encouraging a culture of innovation. 

Whether it’s the cloud more generally, or specific aspects like Kubernetes, there’s a wider culture change that comes with the new technology. Adopting a positive mindset, which sees technology as central to your business success is essential. It frees your team to try out new, innovative feature ideas, and you should encourage these – your development team could have them rolled out even more quickly now. 

Digitalisation is inevitable, and this could be your opportunity to get ahead of the curve and the competition. Are there new ways to reach your customers? New services you could offer? New ways of delivering your existing services? Kubernetes could be the key to propelling your business to new heights. 

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