NEW! Mirantis Academy -   Learn confidently with expert guidance and On-demand content.   Learn More


How to scale Kubernetes with a small team

Sophia Harris - February 24, 2023

Here’s what you already know: Kubernetes is a game-changer. It’s amazing, and everyone wants to take advantage of it—for good reason. By allowing teams to deploy containerized apps at scale, Kubernetes delivers flexibility and scalability that previously would have been impossible

You also probably know that learning Kubernetes is hard. Like, really hard. 

Like, take-a-sabbatical-from-your-job-to-even-get-started hard. 

Asking developers to learn and do Kubernetes along with their daily work can begin to feel quite unmanageable, and it can start to put the dreaded damper of burnout on even the happiest, most productive developers you’ve got. 

Does that mean you and your small team can’t use Kuberentes, and you’re doomed to be cluster-less for all eternity? 

Not exactly. 

If you’re currently lacking DevOps expertise, or you’re actively trying to hire a DevOps person for Kubernetes, stop. Or at least pause, while you hear me out. Because in my opinion, the best solution for scaling Kubernetes with a small team actually isn’t to add another person, as tempting as it may be. 

No, instead of adding people to your team, we recommend adding skills - in layers of strategic tooling, platforms, or third-party services to assist your existing team, instead of adding to it. 


Well, answer this question: 

Do you want to hire another person every time you want to add a new skill to your team? 

We’re guessing not, because your team would end up too large to stay “agile.” And recent data does suggest that the best-functioning teams are small, agile, and communicate intensely with one another. 

Smaller teams = better collaboration

Have you heard of Jeff Bezos’ two-pizza rule? It applies here: Bezos claims that he keeps his teams small enough that he could feed them with two average-sized pizzas, because the smaller teams are, the better they collaborate. 

This is the first reason why adding Kubernetes skills to your teams through tooling instead of new hires will benefit your team. 

The second reason may be even more relevant to our economic climate right now: the reality is, DevOps roles are hard to fill. And finding the right person for your team is even harder. 

When I think of DevOps, it’s a function, not a role. There’s been a lot of buzz lately about how “true DevOps” engineers are unicorns, and that finding someone who can really do it all is rare. And we’re guessing you don’t have the time to go out in the woods, unicorn-hunting - because you just want your darned Kubernetes clusters up and functional. 

If you’re looking for a solution to give your team back its speed without increasing its size, I urge you to consider DevOps-as-a-Service, which is basically exactly what it sounds like: DevOps, for your business, on your team, but as-a-Service. 

DevOps-as-a-Service is a powerful addition to small teams who want to scale up with Kubernetes, because it infuses teams with the expert DevOps knowledge and expertise needed to expand container and Kubernetes deployments. These deployments can be a serious challenge to scale, with roadblocks like managing upgrades, auditing and remediating security issues, and maintaining CI/CD pipelines.

Even if you do have a dedicated team member handling DevOps, you might be functioning more slowly than you’d like. Kubernetes can be slow to work with. Securing your clusters is hard. Keeping track of all the monitoring and alerts can steal hours from your day. And worst of all, these issues steal focus from your developers. 

DevOps-as-a-Service doesn’t let that happen, because its main function on our team is to remove all day-to-day Kubernetes and DevOps hassles, meaning your team members don’t have to worry about Kubernetes at all. Say goodbye to Sunday emergencies.

DevOps-as-a-Service is much more powerful than one person, or two people, or even three people could be. Typically, these services are powered by world-class experts, robust automation, and advanced technology to take your team much further than you could go alone. The DevOps-as-a-Service model is helping teams see results such as….

  • Dramatically increased application deployment speed 

  • Hugely increased security and fewer vulnerabilities 

  • Quicker fixes 

  • Insane reduction in operational cost

Making Kubernetes easier and cheaper

If you’re one of those companies (or developers, or leaders) who see DevOps or Kubernetes as a headache, you’re not alone: There's a growing trend in tech to add skills to teams through platforms and services, instead of new hires and building it all yourself from scratch. (Some call this “platform engineering.”) It’s better for your business. It’s better for your applications. It’s better for your security. 

And most importantly, it’s better for your developers. You don’t want unhappy developers, trust me. There’s always a company lurking around the corner, ready to scoop them up… and they might have a ping-pong table or “beer-at-work” Fridays. Can you beat that?

Actually, yes, you can - by providing the tooling your developers *actually need* so they can get things done, enjoy their jobs again, and leave at 5 p.m. every day. Or maybe even 4:30. 

If you’re interested in learning more about DevOps-as-a-Service and how to scale K8s with a small team, join the Mirantis team on March 16 for a webinar. 

We’ll be diving even more deeply into the how-to aspect, so you can make K8s as painless as possible for your developers.  You can register here.


How to implement continuous proactive security to safeguard Kubernetes

Choose your cloud native journey.

Whatever your role, we’re here to help with open source tools and world-class support.


Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter for exclusive interviews, expert commentary, and thought leadership on topics shaping the cloud native world.