GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating Kubernetes for Edge Computing Solutionsv2.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Kubernetes for Edge Computing Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analysts’ Outlook
  5. About Matt Jallo

1. Executive Summary

Connected and smart devices are now in widespread use across all areas of business. In every industry—from retail to transport and logistics, healthcare to manufacturing, remote wind farms to autonomous vehicles—embedded computing devices are generating vast quantities of data on their own. This data is being created in a wide variety of locations well outside traditional data centers and cloud environments. Processing this data in traditional, more centralized locations presents a variety of challenges. Connectivity can be intermittent and unreliable, bandwidth is constrained, and latency is high due to transport over great distances. Given these limitations, it makes sense to process data closer to where it is being created.

As the de facto standard for container orchestration at scale, Kubernetes—when adopted at the edge—brings the same orchestration and management capabilities that have made it so popular in cloud and data center environments. The diverse use cases and varied challenges of edge environments sorely need something like Kubernetes to help customers manage the complexity.

Business Imperative
The addition and use of edge Kubernetes to enhance an already oversaturated market of hybrid computing capability is driven by a number of compelling business imperatives. These imperatives primarily revolve around the necessity for efficient, scalable, and secure data processing that is closer to the source of data generation.

From the perspective of the CxO, the following business drivers necessitate the use of edge Kubernetes variants.

Edge computing allows for data processing to take place closer to the source of data generation. This approach significantly reduces latency and improves response times, which is particularly crucial for applications that require real-time or near-real-time responses. Examples of such applications include internet of things (IoT) devices, autonomous vehicles, and certain industrial processes. The capacity to process data with speed and efficiency is a crucial business requirement, particularly when the mitigation of latency is vital to the successful execution of the use case.

Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform that is designed to manage and scale applications across multiple servers. This makes it particularly well-suited for managing the potentially large number of edge nodes in an edge computing environment. As businesses grow and evolve, the ability to scale operations efficiently is essential.

Security of operations is a major business imperative too. Kubernetes provides features such as role-based access control (RBAC), network segmentation, and encryption, which can help secure applications at the edge. Given the distributed nature of edge computing, this is crucial because edge computing presents additional security challenges. In today’s digital age, when cyber threats are increasingly sophisticated and prevalent, edge computing reintroduces classical security risks such as physical theft and vandalism, especially in remote locations. Edge computing can reduce the amount of data that needs to be sent across a network for processing. This can potentially result in significant cost savings. Kubernetes, with its ability to efficiently manage and scale applications, can further enhance these cost savings.

Finally, there is the potential for innovation and competitive advantage. The use of edge Kubernetes variants can enable new types of applications and services, leading to a competitive advantage. For example, it can enable more effective use of AI and analytics at the edge, leading to more insightful and timely decision-making. In a competitive commercial landscape, the ability to innovate and gain a competitive edge can be the difference between success and failure.

It is important to note that while Kubernetes offers many benefits for edge computing, it also introduces complexity and requires specific skills to manage effectively. Therefore, organizations need to carefully evaluate their needs and capabilities before deciding to adopt edge Kubernetes variants. Managed Kubernetes solutions can help address some of these challenges by shifting the operational burden of maintaining Kubernetes clusters to a vendor. This can help businesses to effectively leverage the benefits of Kubernetes while minimizing the associated challenges.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of a Kubernetes for edge computing solution deployment to the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters adoption of a Kubernetes for edge computing solution, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score (Figure 1) of 3.8 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that a Kubernetes for edge computing solution is a credible candidate for deployment and worthy of thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for Kubernetes for edge computing are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating Kubernetes for Edge Computing Solutions

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for Kubernetes for Edge Computing

This is the second year that GigaOm has reported on the Kubernetes for edge computing space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and nonfunctional requirements (business criteria) for selecting an effective Kubernetes for edge computing solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the market, identify leading Kubernetes for edge computing offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and nonfunctional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.

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