In this article, we’ll analyze the reasons for why Google Open Sourced Kubernetes.  Before that a bit of history on Kubernetes.

Brief History of Kubernetes Kubernetes

Google uses Docker Containers  to run all its apps.   Google realized the potential of Docker Containers much before the rest of the world.

To manage Docker containers running at cloud scale, Google developed a container management platform called Borg.

Kubernetes is an offspring of the Borg Project.

Google donated Kubernetes to the Open Source Community.  And that almost put the sinking container ship, Docker Inc., in a titanic mode.

Docker Containers

Kubernetes is widely popular in the industry because nothing comes closer to it in terms of the features and the scalability numbers.  Moreover, there is the backing of Google which parents it.

All cloud service providers including AWS, Microsoft Azure, and IBM Cloud support Kubernetes in their cloud.

Why Google Open Sourced Kubernetes

The answer is,

According to Canalys, a market research firm, Google has a very low market share in the cloud infrastructure service market.

Kubernetes - Cloud Infrastructure Services - Market Share

Google makes roughly 700 Million USD in annual revenue from the Cloud Business, while Amazon Web Services makes 3.5 Billion USD in annual revenue.

Google wants to gain popularity and market share in the cloud business.

Google doesn’t have many business applications that are popular in the enterprise market segment unlike Microsoft.  Microsoft has MS SQL Server, Microsoft Email Exchange, Microsoft Office 360, Microsoft Windows Server(VM) and so on.

Google knows that Docker Containers are becoming widely popular across the industry.  Google knows that Docker Containers will be the next big wave in the enterprise software industry  after the virtualization wave triggered by VMWare ESX Hypervisor and the vSphere orchestrator for Virtual Machines.

Hence, Google open sourced Kubernetes to attract customers who want to orchestrate and manage Docker Containers in the cloud.

Google expects to gain more market share in the cloud infrastructure services market, by giving away Kubernetes for free.

Though AWS, MS Azure, IBM Cloud all support Kubernetes Cluster in their cloud, only Google knows how to better use Kubernetes.

Infact, it is intriguing that Google did not follow the freemium model followed by Docker for its Docker Swarm container management platform.

Google could potentially throw a cold blanket over the other cloud providers, by releasing a much better version of the Kubernetes from its internal Borg project, with many more fancy features, bells and whistles added, only for its GCP customers.  This is just a possibility.  Right now, I believe, Google is just trying to bait the community by giving away a free stuff to learn and familiarize themselves with.

If it doesn’t see its ROI on the free Kubernetes – meaning some noticeable delta change in its Cloud Infrastructure Service business revenue growth, Google might pull the trigger.

Google cannot be a 3rd player in the market segment for life-long.  Google has to do something.  Infact, more things.  In the lines of Google GSuite.