Will complexity kill Kubernetes? | InfoWorld

Kubernetes may be the current darling of the open source crowd, but Hadoop was no less revered before it. Hadoop ultimately ran out of gas because it was incredibly hard to use. Kubernetes, though making strides, remains “no picnic to operate,” as Capital One’s Bernard Golden has stated. That’s a very diplomatic way of saying, as others have, that the Kubernetes “experience [can be] a pain in the ass.”

Is Kubernetes heading toward a Hadoop-style exit?

Probably not. While Hadoop got more complicated with age, Kubernetes keeps getting easier. While Kubernetes will likely never be “easy,” per se, its complexity differs from that of Hadoop in critical ways, paving the way for Kubernetes to remain an industry standard for years to come.

Hadoop, the complex gift that kept on taking

Let’s first be clear about Hadoop. Or not clear, as the case may be. Apache Hadoop was complicated enough when it roughly translated to “MapReduce.” Over time, however, it kept evolving, and while that evolution led to more powerful options, those options proliferated. They also weren’t necessarily easy to get working together. As Tom Barber stated, “What does Hadoop actually do? MapReduce was replaced by Spark was replaced by other stuff and so on. Of course you can plug a lot into it but it’s still clunky.”

Why clunky? VMware’s Jared Rosoff captures the problem nicely: “Hadoop’s complexity comes from the fact that a typical Hadoop setup basically consists of dozens of independent and complicated systems that had different lifecycles and management models.” Flume, Chukwa, Hive, Pig, ZooKeeper, and so on. Clever names but a nightmare to get everything working together. Hadoop is a “complex stack of solutions,” argues Host Analytics CEO Dave Kellogg, and all that complexity is born by the user.

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Perhaps most differently from Kubernetes, however, is the model used to extend Hadoop. As Rosoff notes, “Hadoop didn’t think about how people would extend it and the result was an ecosystem of incompatible extensions.” By contrast, he continues, “One thing Kubernetes gets extremely right is structuring the way it gets extended. Operators, CRI/CSI/CNI, ensure that as more vendors pile on, they do so in sane ways.” In other words, unlike Hadoop and its incompatible extensions, “Kubernetes with dozens of operators is still Kubernetes.”



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