Developers often focus on beating the competition to market with high-quality products and features rather than decreasing costs.
Kubernetes, as an orchestrator, can increase or decrease its computing resources as needed. Because of this, it is challenging to estimate how much Kubernetes will cost to run, particularly in a public cloud where different virtual server types and billing policies combine with fluctuating memory, networking, and storage requirements.
Microsoft’s choice to include Kubernetes as a core Azure service is paying off, benefiting both Microsoft and the rest of the Kubernetes ecosystem. This is due to the company’s use of engineers and financial resources to support and contribute to upstream tools and capabilities in addition to its projects.
However, it’s about ensuring that developers can run their cloud-native applications more affordably and, more importantly, with negligible environmental impact. One of Microsoft’s many Kubernetes investments is a suite of pricing and invoicing utilities.
The application will scale to the limitations set by the developers, but how does that impact the final result? Developers often focus on beating the competition to market with high-quality products and features rather than decreasing costs.
However, careful budgeting is still required. Companies can find their spot between price and performance with the help of Kubernetes cost management, which is timely, proactive, cost-effective, and effortless with the right solution.
Kubernetes Cost Management Challenges
Surprisingly, most businesses do not keep track of their actual spending, despite Kubernetes environments continuing to expand and use resources. If companies are not in any way keeping track of Kubernetes costs, developers are blind to the areas where cloud resources are being misused.
On the other hand, attempting to estimate Kubernetes costs using manual spreadsheets and cloud provider invoices is time-consuming, ineffective, and frequently inaccurate. This method might point out a general problem with environmental costs, but that won’t help if businesses don’t understand why their prices are going up in the first place.
The manual method’s slow reaction time is another drawback. Developers cannot react quickly to unexpected cost increases without real-time insight into cost overruns. A few open-source tools are available to assist with managing Kubernetes costs, but they require the setup of additional Prometheus servers to obtain the metrics necessary for cost allocation.
As a result, teams may find themselves spending more time configuring and maintaining their cost-monitoring solution than actually solving pressing business issues.
Must-Have Kubernetes Cost Management Capabilities
All cloud-native teams must have the ability to manage Kubernetes costs. Developers need a commercial solution with deep Kubernetes visibility that comes with everything they need out of the box, allowing them to get up and running quickly with little configuration to manage Kubernetes costs effectively.
When selecting a Kubernetes cost management solution, developers should prioritize the following features:
Utilization, performance, and cost data correlation
The best Kubernetes cost management solution will accurately map utilization and performance data to costs. Combining this data into a single tool allows developers to get immediate, correlated cost visibility. With this kind of solution, administrators can choose the appropriate sizing without worrying about how it will affect performance.
To fully understand how each application affects the costs, developers should be able to drill down into the layers of their environment, such as namespace and workload, using a Kubernetes cost management tool. Additionally, this enables departments or businesses to see how much each team’s environment costs.
The ideal solution to help developers prioritize their work should offer time-saving features like a list of the environment’s most expensive elements ranked from most expensive to least expensive.
Alerting in real-time
The most important part of Kubernetes cost management is the real-time aspect. Instead of waiting for a monthly report, a solution should immediately notify developers of any unusual cost spikes so they can look into and fix the problem. These spikes may occasionally signal a cyberattack, necessitating a quick response.
To maximize ROI, the optimal cost management tool will integrate automatically with cloud providers and Kubernetes without configuring or managing additional components.
Active Cost-Saving Recommendations
The most crucial aspect is that the ideal Kubernetes cost management solution will offer practical suggestions for the environment’s cost-related configuration settings. The tool should demonstrate how much money businesses can save by altering specific configurations rather than just exposing costs. This is the true benefit of a cost management strategy that boosts the bottom line.
FinOps integration in Kubernetes
Costs are typically not a major concern for engineers. After all, most of the time, someone else has to foot the bill for what developers construct and maintain. However, up until the advent of DevOps and DevSecOps, the same could be said about operations and security.
Utilizing the growing importance of FinOps, developers can use cloud services to monitor costs using the same methods they use to track the performance of the applications. With the help of this new discipline, firms can now see the costs associated with maintaining the developer code and find new ways to ensure their allocation to appropriate departments. Instead of grouping everything into one IT operational expense, developers can directly tie code to bills with FinOps tooling.
The open-source OpenCost tooling starts to shine in this situation. OpenCost is a tool for allocating and measuring the costs of Kubernetes applications with the option of assisting developers in keeping them under control.
Contributors to OpenCost come from all corners of the Kubernetes ecosystem, from hyperscale cloud providers like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure at one end of the spectrum to monitoring companies like New Relic and Grafana Labs at the other. Microsoft has declared that its managed Kubernetes platform, Azure Kubernetes Service, will support OpenCost.
Developers can use OpenCost to drill down into the installation and operation of Kubernetes to determine which containers, pods, and deployments cost them the most money. This kind of real-time cost allocation enables businesses to optimize for costs rather than just performance, going beyond simple application tuning.
This method locates the sweet spot where prices are under control and users receive the best commission. It’s a delicate balance that can take some practice to master, but it’s another practical application tuning factor.
Cost data to manage Kubernetes
There is potential for automated management models based on cost with real-time data available through the OpenCost API. There are options here for service providers like Azure who want to offer dynamic pricing to their customers. The business might not have much choice because AWS and Google Cloud are partners in the OpenCost project. It is possible to dynamically optimize the use of Azure infrastructure by ensuring that customers can match their Kubernetes spending with usage.
Additionally, Microsoft could increase customer retention, allowing it to secure new business while reducing its capital expenditure. Building new capacity is even more expensive than maintaining enormous cloud data centers. Microsoft and its customers should agree on an operating system enabling both parties to spend if not less, at least the appropriate amount for their needs.
Nobody should be surprised that Kubernetes on Azure will have a dull future. Since Kubernetes is infrastructure, developers must endure tedious code in exchange for maturity and enterprise acceptance. As society transitions to a Kubernetes-powered future, it will be interesting to see what developers build with that infrastructure and what businesses construct.