Gartner Research

Assessing Kubernetes for Hybrid and Multicloud Application Portability


Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes for the promise of abstraction and a common control plane to make applications portable across hybrid and multicloud. I&O technical professionals can use this research to assess Kubernetes for application portability, and its risks and limitations.

Published: 03 June 2020

ID: G00465142

Analyst(s): Alan Waite Marco Meinardi

Table Of Contents


  • Determine Your Goals: What Are You Trying to Achieve?
    • Application Portability Goals
    • Consistency of Operations Goals
  • How Kubernetes Helps With Application Portability
    • Kubernetes Standardizes Application Definition and Deployment
    • Kubernetes Standardizes the Operational Model
    • Kubernetes Design Concepts That Support Portability
  • Limitations, Constraints and Risks of Using Kubernetes for Application Portability
    • Kubernetes Is Just an Alternative Point of Lock-In
    • Containerizing Apps Is a Prerequisite
    • The Cost of Ignoring Cloud Provider Native Services
    • Kubernetes Still Requires Infrastructure Management
    • Infrastructure Dependencies Are Inevitable
  • Assessing Portability Characteristics of Different Kubernetes Consumption Models
    • Self-Managed Open-Source DIY
    • Public Cloud Managed CaaS
    • Commercial PaaS or CaaS Distribution
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Choose Your Point of Lock-In Explicitly
    • Accurately Measure the ROI of Engineering for Portability or Consistency
  • Don’t Adopt Kubernetes Only for Application Portability Reasons
    • Abstract the Kubernetes Cluster Management Control Plane From a Specific Implementation to a Federated Manager

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