When Not to Use Kubernetes. Ostride Labs


Hamish Ostride Labs

Hamish Lister

Senior Content Manager

Hamish is a senior content manager at Ostride Labs. Hamish’s diverse background in technical research, analysis and market demand are the main drivers behind the topics he enjoys exploring and writing about.

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When Not to Use Kubernetes

Updated 22 Aug 2023


In the vast expanse of modern computing, Kubernetes (often affectionately known as K8s) stands as a colossal entity, virtually synonymous with container orchestration. Initially developed by Google and now managed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Kubernetes is an open-source platform designed to automate deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications. It has swiftly gained popularity and is seen as the industry standard for container orchestration, being used by enterprises globally to manage their application infrastructure.

However, like any powerful tool, Kubernetes isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and its application is not always the smart choice. It has its strengths, but also, inevitably, its weaknesses. It’s the understanding of these pros and cons that will allow you to make an informed decision about when to, and equally as important, when not to, use Kubernetes.

Understanding the Strengths: When to Use Kubernetes

Kubernetes excels in complex, multi-container environments where application scaling, high availability, and service discovery are paramount. It provides a comprehensive and extensible architecture, giving organizations flexibility in choosing how they wish to implement their applications. Kubernetes also supports a wide range of storage solutions, networking plugins, service meshes, and CI/CD tools, thereby creating a highly robust platform.

Additionally, Kubernetes is cloud agnostic, meaning it can run on any cloud platform such as AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure, or even on-premises. This ensures that your applications remain portable across various cloud providers and minimizes the risk of vendor lock-in.

Furthermore, Kubernetes’ immense popularity has created a massive community and ecosystem. This means vast resources are available for learning and troubleshooting, including thorough documentation, active forums, and many third-party tools and extensions.

The Flipside: When Not to Use Kubernetes

Despite its many strengths, Kubernetes isn’t the correct solution for every situation.

First and foremost, Kubernetes is complex and has a steep learning curve. It introduces many concepts and abstractions, and understanding how to use them effectively can be daunting. Setting up a Kubernetes cluster and maintaining it requires skilled engineers, which might not be readily available or could prove expensive for smaller businesses.

Moreover, if your application stack is simple, not distributed, or doesn’t require advanced features like auto-scaling, self-healing, and service discovery, Kubernetes might be an overkill. Its complexity and overhead may lead to more problems than solutions. There are lightweight, less complex alternatives like Docker Swarm or HashiCorp’s Nomad that might be more suitable in such cases.

Lastly, if you are running your applications in a serverless environment or you prefer a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering, where the platform handles all infrastructure management, Kubernetes may not be required.

Emerging One-Size-Fits-All Tool vs Smart Choice?

Kubernetes, with its many features and widespread adoption, might seem like the emerging one-size-fits-all tool for container orchestration. However, the concept of one tool fitting all scenarios is more of a myth than a reality in the field of technology.

To illustrate, let’s consider a startup developing a simple web application. Their primary focus is speed, ease of development, and they have a small DevOps team. In this case, a smart choice would be to use a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering like Heroku or Google App Engine. These platforms handle all the underlying infrastructure, allowing the team to focus on developing and deploying their application. They wouldn’t require Kubernetes’ advanced features and could save significant time and resources by avoiding its steep learning curve.

The best tools are often those that are selected after carefully considering their alignment with your project requirements, your team’s expertise, the complexity you are willing to manage, and the resources you are ready to allocate.

In conclusion, Kubernetes is no doubt a powerful tool, and it is excellent for managing complex, multi-container environments. However, it is not always the smart choice, especially for simpler applications or when resources and skills are limited. It is, therefore, imperative that when you choose Kubernetes (or indeed any technology), you do so not because it is popular, but because it is the most suitable tool for your specific use case.


Kubernetes is a versatile and powerful platform that has a lot to offer, but it’s not always the best fit. As always, it is about understanding your needs, constraints, and capabilities, and choosing the right tool for your task. As the saying goes, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Don’t let Kubernetes be your only tool in the box.

At Ostride Labs, we understand that every business is unique, and so are its tech requirements. Our expertise lies in helping you navigate the complex world of modern technology, from assessing your needs, recommending the most appropriate technology stack, setting up your infrastructure, to providing ongoing support and optimization.

Whether you’re exploring the potential of Kubernetes or considering alternative solutions, our team of experienced engineers is ready to guide you. If you’re unsure if Kubernetes is the right choice for you or if you’re seeking help to implement it, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our goal is to empower you to make informed decisions and ensure your technology serves your business in the best way possible.

Remember, it’s not about using the most popular tool, but about using the right tool for your specific needs. Let us help you make that smart choice. Contact Ostride Labs today.



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