Developed by Google in 2014, Kubernetes is an open-source, container-orchestrated system that allows organizations to scale, automate, and deploy their applications. While its roots are in Google, it is now under the jurisdiction of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and continues to expand at lightning speed, as so many cloud service providers choose to operate on a Kubernetes-based platform.
Kubernetes has made headlines across many industries lately. DigitalOcean released a PaaS based on Kubernetes to help small-to-medium sized businesses. Even the DOD has gotten on board, with headlines that a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft was able to successfully fly with Kubernetes, meaning military weapon systems will be able to utilize even more of its on-board computing power to accomplish missions.
In general, organizations are making the move towards containers, the unit of software that keeps all the code needed for each application. By some predictions, 75% of businesses worldwide are projected to operate these types of systems by 2022, which is a giant leap from the scant 30% who are running container systems today.
What does this mean for healthcare? The healthcare industry was forced to rapidly change in many ways this year, not only due to the sudden need to manage an influx of patients and data, but also because of the normalization of telehealth and virtual visits. Kubernetes provides a way to automate applications and systems, meaning that time previously spent on menial administrative tasks and data entry can be transferred to more time for patient care.
Not many healthcare systems currently employ Kubernetes, but its ease of deployment and immediate time-saving benefits should appeal to healthcare IT departments. The container technology inherent to Kubernetes also fosters a safer data environment. When new versions of applications are run, previous container clusters are destroyed, leaving much less of a cyber-footprint behind.
The self-monitoring nature of the platform also cuts down on user error and worries over malware and security patching. In an industry were security, speed, and agility are most needed, Kubernetes could provide a straight-forward way to meet those requirements and enable healthcare IT systems to function more dynamically.