In recent years, the industry has seen an exponential increase in the introduction of Cloud-native technologies. Application modernization led by container and Kubernetes has become a constant topic for many companies. CI / CD based on containers is de facto the DevOps Standard for startups and companies. Kubernetes is the platform of choice for running workloads on the Edge. It has also turned into a hybrid computing platform that enables public cloud providers to use their Managed Services in clusters deployed in local environments.

When moving into 2022, there are five key cloud-native trends to consider:

Trend 1: The increase in WebAssembly in the cloud-native environment

WebAssembly has developed into a high-performance, cross-platform and multilingual software sandbox environment for cloud-native software components. Given the eerie similarity between container runtimes and WebAssembly (WASM), Kubernetes can be used to orchestrate the WASM components.

The projects like WasmCloud, WasmEdge, KubeEdge, and Crustlet made WASM a premier citizen of the cloud-native universe. It is possible to run software packaged as WebAssembly alongside containerized software. Kubernetes can seamlessly orchestrate both workloads from a single control plane.

Startups including Second state, Cosmonic, and Suborbital build the platform and tools that will accelerate the adoption of WASM.

Expect the rise of cloud-native WASM in 2022.

Trend 2: New distributions of Kubernetes

Although the cloud-native ecosystem is flooded with various Kubernetes distributions, we can see new entrants in this area.

Kubernetes comes in three flavors – open source, commercial, and managed.

The open source distributions include the plain vanilla, upstream Kubernetes, Amazon EKS-D, K3s, and RKE2. Commercial distributions include Red Hat OpenShift, VMware Tanzu, Rafay, Mirantis Kubernetes Engine, and D2iQ Kubernetes platform.

The public providers predominantly control the managed Kubernetes offers. Offers such Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service, Azure Kubernetes service, Google Kubernetes Engine, IBM Kubernetes service, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, and Platform9 managed Kubernetes are examples of managed Kubernetes distributions. These distributions are not directly available to customers, but only through the managed environments operated and managed by the providers.

In 2022, I expect Google and Microsoft to announce open source Kubernetes distributions based on their managed offerings – GKE and AKS. These distributions are positioned as production-ready Kubernetes environments that provide the same functionality as the managed services. Customers who take over these distributions can easily switch to cloud-based or hybrid managed services. It helps them to position their offers as alternatives to EKS-D and EKS-A from AWS.

Aside from managed providers, we may see purpose-built, optimized Kubernetes distributions targeting IoT, Edge, and AI workloads.

Trend 3: Increased focus on cloud-native security

With a focus on cybersecurity, I expect open source projects and commercial offerings that focus entirely on cloud-native security.

Two areas will attract attention – software supply chain and eBPF.

The software supply chain closely mimics the real-world trade supply chain in which resources are consumed, then transformed through a series of steps and processes, and finally delivered to the customer. Modern software development is about putting together and integrating various publicly available components as open source projects. In the complex software supply chain, compromised software can cause severe damage to multiple deployments.

Recent incidents with CodeCov, Solar winds, Kaseya, and the ua-parser-js NPM package emphasize the need to secure the software supply chain.

In 2022 there will be new initiatives, projects and even new startups that focus on secure software supply chain management.

The other exciting trend is this eBPF which enables cloud-native developers to create secure network, service mesh and observability components.

We have seen isovalents brought about eBPF for container-native networking through Cilium, Pixie (acquired from New Relic) use it to build an observability stack, Falco and Tracee Using eBPF to monitor and trigger security events and alerts, as well as the introduction of Sidecar-less proxy for service mesh.

Expect eBPF to become the foundation for cloud-native security and networking.

Trend 4: Kubevirt goes mainstream

Kubevirt is an open source project that enables Kubernetes to orchestrate virtual machines such as containers. By running VMs and containers in parallel, customers can easily integrate legacy workloads into modern microservice-based applications. You also benefit from the simplified DevOps workflows to manage both workloads.

Kubevirt is already an integral part of Red Hat OpenShift virtualization, Farmer’s harvester, Platform9 managed Kubernetes, and Google Anthos.

In 2022 we will see a dramatic increase in adoption and integration of Kubevirt with Kubernetes, treating VMs as top notch citizens.

Trend 5: GitOps is becoming the standard for continuous deployment

GitOps brings the well-known Git-based workflow to the release management of cloud-native workloads. The reconciliation of the state by treating Git as the only source of truth combined with the ability to reset quickly makes GitOps a powerful mechanism.

WeavingRiver CD, ArgoCD, Google Anthos configuration management, and Rancher fleet are some of the options available for implementing GitOps.

In 2022, GitOps will evolve to support multitenancy and multicluster deployments, making it easy to manage tens of thousands of Kubernetes clusters running at the edge or in hybrid environments.

GitOps is becoming the gold standard for continuous delivery.

The New Stack is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Partners, an investor in the following companies mentioned in this article: Kaseya, Mirantis.

Image by Gerd Altmann de Pixabay.

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