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How to Successfully Deploy Azure Kubernetes Services at Scale

Friday, June 28, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gary Hotze
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Mitch Northcutt, Bradley Clerkin, Westly Edge, Ryan Schubert, Richard Giraldi

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The future of enterprise IT applications is in the cloud, and enterprises understand that containers and cloud-native design are the promised land. It’s safe to assume that container popularity and usage will grow even more significant with Microsoft’s introduction of Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS), a secure and fully managed Kubernetes service from Microsoft Azure that makes deploying and managing container applications easy.


However, AKS is like chess. It’s simple to learn but challenging to master. The effort to operationalize AKS should not be underestimated and requires broad expertise. It can be extraordinarily complex if you don’t have the correct foundational components in place or your IT team lacks the necessary skills. The value and the benefits of containers will certainly justify these efforts for enterprises looking to modernize software development by providing native, mature automation and DevOps capabilities.


In this Insight Report, you will find an actionable roadmap that includes critical success factors, a reference architecture, an overview of the AKS deployment plan and a breakdown of backlog components necessary to fully establish and operationalize Azure Kubernetes Services.


Critical Success Factors


Leadership buy-in


It’s imperative that right from the start your leadership team understands utilizing Azure and AKS means building out a whole new development platform. You will essentially be building a product that you will be actively enhancing and improving over the next 5 – 10 years. When you deploy AKS, you establish minimally viable functionality with the idea that additional layers

of functionality will be added over time. A team and investment for the long haul are necessary to be successful with AKS.


Cross-Functional DevOps Team


Having a cross-functional DevOps team is essential not only to deploy AKS but to meet the demands of today’s evolving technology capabilities. Cross-functional teams eliminate silos, which often plague enterprise IT, by improving communication and collaboration. When instituted, cross-functional teams foster a culture of learning, promote innovation, enable quicker feedback loops and connect the team to the end goal through the use of Agile Scrum, which means sprints, daily meetings, product artifacts, and team dynamics.


If your current IT organization doesn’t employ the use of cross-functional DevOps teams, make setting up teams a priority. Cross-functional teams ensure you have the right people and skill sets needed to develop or deploy. For a successful AKS deployment, your cross-functional

team must include the following two key roles: Application Development and Infrastructure Operations. Your application development role needs to understand how to communicate with, support and test your applications, while your infrastructure operations role needs to

understand your infrastructure concepts, such as VNets, and have a strong networking background.


Infrastructure as Code (IaC)


Your AKS deployment must be built using branch-driven release automation Infrastructure as Code (IaC). Cloud should never be configured like on-premise infrastructure. Instead, cloud is configured through IaC, which is infrastructure built via source code. IaC requires the same software development lifecycle capabilities and Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines used in application software development. CI/CD pipelines are a must for cloud-native development platforms.


Automated Guardrails


In this new automated cloud-native world, automated guardrails are used to keep your system safe and secure without sacrificing delivery velocity. Platform-centric guardrails from Microsoft including Azure Policy and Azure Automation runbooks, as well as third-party guardrails such as Twistlock or Aquasecurity, will provide the ability to automate the management of security.


To continue reading, download the entire Insight Report at


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