Tired of Kubernetes-induced headaches? Check out how it compares to Koyeb, the serverless platform delivering the fastest way to deploy applications globally.
It may seem strange at first glance to compare the Koyeb Serverless Platform to Kubernetes, but a lot of developers and businesses come to us because they are looking for a solution that is more efficient to operate and use than Kubernetes.
This type of comparison reveals exactly why we decided to build Koyeb: modern applications need resilient and high-performing global architectures without the heavy management cost. Building this kind of infrastructure is no small feat; it usually requires significant investments in time, manpower, and financial resources. Luckily, there are completely managed solutions like Koyeb.
While Kubernetes is a powerful technology that enables teams to build resilient and scalable infrastructures, it is also highly complex and challenging to learn and properly implement.
We compare Kubernetes and Koyeb to help you identify the most efficient and cost-effective way to obtain a resilient, scalable, and high-performing architecture.
An application today needs to be constantly available, scale at a moment's notice, and provide end-users an enjoyable experience through low response times and fast loading times. Determining how you will dedicate resources to scale and manage your web applications and services is a decision that carries long-term and strategic importance.
When adopting Kubernetes, you're completely responsible for deploying and operating the infrastructure. You have no guarantee on the availability of the hosted applications and services.
Kubernetes is a completely serverful solution where you need:
In comparison, the Koyeb Serverless Platform:
Building scalable and resilient architectures include numerous responsibilities. Here is a table we created to visualize the responsibility breakdown when using Kubernetes or deploying on Koyeb:
|Responsibility||Kubernetes managed||Koyeb managed|
|Operating System Security||❌||✅|
|Data residency and compliance||❌||✅|
High-availability: Accomplishing high-availability on Kubernetes requires you to provision enough machines in addition to properly configuring and monitoring your desired pod and ReplicaSet topology. In comparison, high-availability is natively provided out-of-the-box with Koyeb, infrastructure autohealing is built-in and we transparently manage failures of physical servers.
Operating System Security: Kubernetes doesn't manage the OS (Operating System), you're responsible for selecting the OS and ensuring there is no security vulnerability on your nodes. This can be mitigated by using managed versions of Kubernetes, but you will still need to take care of rebooting your production servers. With Koyeb, you will never need to think about the OS of the nodes, this is 100% managed by Koyeb.
Version upgrades: With Kubernetes, you need to deal with upgrading the software used on your cluster. In other words, you need to manage whatever errors occur on your side between releases. Kubernetes has a rapid release cycle with each version phased out after 9 months, generating a lot of upgrade costs. Koyeb manages all the orchestration stack and software for you, so there is never a version upgrade for you to do.
Infrastructure Skills: You need a considerable system engineering and site reliability engineering background to achieve robust and reliable production environments with Kubernetes. There are no system engineering or DevOps skills necessary to deploy on Koyeb.
Networking: You need to deal with the complete networking setup, from network addressing to load-balancing and there is no simple solution to enjoy native inter-service communication. With Koyeb, everything is managed with a built-in service mesh and service discovery layer.
CI/CD: Blazing fast continuous deployment enabling continuous integration is built-in to the Koyeb platform. Koyeb builds and deploys your app after you git push. As for Kubernetes, CI/CD is not built-in to the technology, you'll need to use another software.
Container Security: As Kubernetes doesn't manage the build of your container, you need to select and secure the OS supporting your containers. If you use continuous deployment with git on Koyeb, we also take care of the container's OS security.
Deploying globally: To deploy globally, you'll need to deploy a Kubernetes cluster per region and use a global load-balancer. This is a complex and manual process. On the other side, Koyeb provides 10 core locations with global network and load-balancing out-of-the-box.
Data residency and compliance: You are responsible for managing these requirements when using Kubernetes. Koyeb can help you respect sovereignty requirements with the possibility to deploy in multiple regions and helps achieve compliance requirements with certifications.
The Koyeb Serverless Engine runs directly on top of high-end bare metal servers and uses the latest generations of Intel and AMD high-end CPUs. All workloads on Koyeb are transparently deployed in MicroVMs thanks to the lightweight virtualization provided by Firecracker. Discover the benefits of Firecracker and how the technology works.
Koyeb's cutting-edge serverless technology is fueled by its powerhouse stack. When we first started building the Koyeb platform, we chose to use Kubernetes. After a few months, we decided it was not meeting our needs, so we switched to a custom stack based on Nomad, Kuma, and Firecracker. Learn more about these technologies and the reasons why we switched with The Koyeb Serverless Engine: from Kubernetes to Nomad, Firecracker, and Kuma.
In comparison, the performance of Kubernetes is highly variable depending on your setup. For starters, are you managing your Kubernetes clusters or are you using a cloud service provider to manage them? If you choose to self-host your Kubernetes clusters, you are responsible for the performance of your clusters.
If you opt for managed Kubernetes, you have to consider how performances vary between different providers. Managed Kubernetes providers use different underlying architectures, offer different features and possibilities, and come with their unique limitations. In terms of cluster nodes, Azure's AKS clusters run in Azure Virtual Machines while Google's GKE uses Compute Engine VM instances to run workloads, and Amazon's EKS can run either on AWS Fargate or Amazon EC2.
Koyeb's pricing model is a linear pay-as-you-grow model based on your resource-use whereas the cost of Kubernetes is highly variable. Honestly, discerning the true cost of Kubernetes is quite challenging as there are so many factors that affect the actual price you can pay for using Kubernetes. That being said, our estimates below represent our best and fairest efforts.
Our price comparison is only going to look at the costs for professional use cases because we believe using Kubernetes is overkill for side projects. There is a debate surrounding if Kubernetes is still a worthwhile choice for businesses. While some believe it is worth being flexible, others find it takes up too much precious time and energy for most companies.
On the other hand, Koyeb is a cost-effective choice for all deployments, from small projects to large enterprise applications since it uses a linear pricing model according to actual resource usage.
While it is an open-source technology, Kubernetes has a considerable amount of hidden costs. When choosing to use Kubernetes you have one of two paths:
If you choose to self-manage your Kubernetes clusters, your total cost of ownership (TCO) includes:
|Nodes to host the control plane of your clusters||$0.096 x 24 x 365 x 3 = $2523||We went with D3s v3 Azure VMs machines, they have 2 vCPU and 8 GB RAM. We multiply by 3 for redundancy purposes.|
|Salary for each member on your DevOps team||$105,000 x 4 = $420,000||Average DevOps salary in the US according to GlassDoor.|
Multiply by 4 for a team of four DevOps engineers.
|Sanity of DevOps team when issues arise||Priceless||😇|
Annual total base cost (without app nodes): $2523 + $420,000 + Priceless
Then there is the managed Kubernetes route. The 3 biggest managed Kubernetes providers are GCP, AWS, and Azure. At first glance, their prices appear identical.
|Managed Kubernetes Provider||Cost to run one cluster|
|AWS EKS||$0.10 x 24 x 365 = $876|
|Azure AKS||$0.10 x 24 x 365 = $876|
|GCP GKE||$0.10 x 24 x 365 = $876|
For all these offerings, there are no automatic version updates or autorecovery and you still need to pay for the computing resources like CPU, memory, and ephemeral storage that your pods consume.
You also need to account for the maintenance responsibilities not covered. You'll need at least one dedicated DevOps person to monitor this managed solution and handle the responsibilities not covered by these offerings.
Annual total cost: $876 + $105,000 - which is a very conservative estimate.
While this option buys you a lot more time and energy to focus on developing and improving your applications, you will still be stuck with some of the Kubernetes responsibilities depending on the cloud service provider you use.
The true cost of nodes also varies across cloud service providers and depends on the amount of computing resources you need as well as where your servers are running. We went with D3s v3 Azure VMs machines, which have 2 vCPUs and 8 GB RAM. We multiply by 3 for redundancy purposes.
|Nodes to host your applications||$0.096 x 24 x 365 x 3 = $2523|
With that, you should have 5.4GB of RAM per node, so ~16GB of usable RAM and 6vCPU.
When you deploy on Koyeb, your only responsibility is developing and innovating with your code. There is no DevOps or infrastructure management, Koyeb takes care of it.
|Self-Managed Kubernetes on Azure||$425,046||16GB of RAM and 6vCPU|
|Managed Kubernetes on Azure||$107,523||16GB of RAM and 6vCPU|
|Koyeb||$2054||16 services with 1GB of RAM and 1vCPU, so 16GB and 16 vCPU|
This cost varies across cloud service providers and depends on the amount of computing resources you need and where your servers are running, but we believe this is the lowest amount you will pay for a Kubernetes cluster in production.
We're not even accounting for CDN services, global load-balancing, networking features and everything else which is highlighted in our responsibilities section.
Koyeb's linear pricing model charges for the resources your services consume depending on the number of hours you use your service and there is no upfront setup cost:
The Koyeb Serverless Platform provides your apps and services the infrastructure features it needs to be distributed and global from the get-go. All of the features mentioned in this comparison come built-in to the Koyeb platform, without any management or code modification from you.
All in all, to successfully use Kubernetes and leverage its powerful capabilities, you will need to have a profound understanding of the technology, its unique concepts and functionalities, as well as the time to handle its implementation and maintenance.
We built Koyeb to be the fastest way to deploy applications globally. Since you can count on Koyeb for your underlying infrastructure — like autoscaling, high-availability, auto-healing, and so much more — you can develop and innovate faster, meaning your new features and applications enjoy a faster time-to-market and your users enjoy a faster time-to-value.
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