For over seventeen years of my professional career, I was a systems administrator at one level or another.  I've managed just about every version of UNIX that's ever been, and been a core team member for two related Desktop Linux distributions.  Much of my career was spent managing Red Hat Linux.  I was just like every other sysadmin out there - I was the master of my domain, and knew more than any VAR resource that might show up at our doorstep.  I certainly never needed any help, and I know that's the way many other sysadmins feel.  You can't admit any weakness!

The thing about that mindset, though, is that no matter how smart you are; no matter how much reading you do in your spare time; no matter how fancy your sandbox at home; you simply can't keep up with the pace of change on your own.  I exist on the VAR side of IT now, and I see what's coming down the pike.  The future of IT is only getting more complex.  It's necessarily crossing team boundaries.  It's creating chaos and disruption in IT shops that are insisting on sticking to the traditional lines of battle.

Ten years ago, things were somewhat complex in that we had to understand the way our expensive apps were constructed, which systems have to be built how, which ones need to talk to which other ones, what version of application server is required, etc.  But by today's standards, that was elementary by degrees.  At least then we had a document that called out how it should all be built.  Today we have TRULY complex systems, where there are no fewer than ten completely different products within a function swim lane which could theoretically do the job, but no clear indicator as to which ones will interoperate properly. 

Trying to go DIY on something like a Kubernetes deployment, while earning you Kudos up front for being able to make it work, may indicate your chops as a sysadmin, but in the long term, this a very clear instance of where you should engage the help of your favorite VAR.  Where it's new and interesting (and built atop a plate glass floor that happens to double as the lid for a huge pit of alligators), there are way more moving parts here than you realize. 

Taking on this type of challenge is exactly akin to building your own Linux distribution in order to avoid paying somebody like Red Hat for subscriptions.  Is it doable in the short term?  Absolutely.  Is there a reason why companies like Red Hat employ thousands of engineers to manage their Linux product?  Absolutely.

When you read the blogs talking about Kubernetes and its shortcomings, understand that unless they say otherwise, they refer to the community version that you can download from Google.  To be very clear, that version of Kubernetes is NOT intended for use in production environments.  It is not hardened.  It is not secured.  It does not have any of the controls that an enterprise class customer typically requires to be there, like Role Based Access Controls.  If you want to play with the latest version in a sandbox, it's fine for that.  You need to understand all of that before you install it, then go on your blog and talk about what a piece of junk it is.  Very few things in life play out well when you try to use them in situations for which they were not intended.

If your favorite VAR has no idea how to help you on your DevOps journey,  talk to your Connection Enterprise, or Connection BSG rep and tell them you saw my post. (  You owe it to your longevity in your career to start leveraging your partner resources.  I guarantee to you that there's a lot out there you've never seen or heard about, but they have.  They are presales resources, so it won't cost you anything.. and if they indicate that it will... again, contact Connection and I can tell you that it won't there.

In years past, demonstrating your sysadmin chops was a way of creating job security.  These days it's all about demonstrating how you can do more with less.  If you don't change with the times, your position will, and you'll be wondering why it's so hard to stick with one company.  Leverage your resources.  You'll look smarter for it.