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As customer interest in the Kubernetes container management platform rises rapidly, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) arm of the Linux Foundation is gearing up to create a program to help educate managed service providers (MSPs) on how to build a practice around the Kubernetes framework developed by Google for managing containers such as Docker.

“Google is getting a lot of inquiries about Kubernetes,” said Dan Kohn, executive director for CNCF. “But Google is only interested in workloads running on Google Cloud. The rest of those leads they want to be able to pass on to an MSP community.”

Of the three leading container orchestration platforms, Kubernetes has gained the most vendor support. Vendors implementing Kubernetes include Canonical, CoreOS, IBM, Microsoft, Mirantis and Red Hat, while Intel contributes to its ongoing development alongside Google.

The rival container orchestration platforms are Docker Swarm and the open-source Mesos project. Each of the proponents of these three frameworks is racing to make their respective approaches more attractive than the others to the average IT administrator. With that goal in mind, CNCF just released an update to Kubernetes that is simpler to use.

Speaking at a recent Tectonic Summit hosted by CoreOS, Al Gillen, an industry analyst with International Data Corp. (IDC), noted that less than 10 percent of the organizations that have adopted containers have also deployed a container orchestration platform. “But by 2020, that number will reach 50 percent,” he said.

In that same period, adoption of containers is expected to skyrocket, as more IT organizations move to embrace microservices architectures to build and deploy applications. The next big contest will be about which frameworks will be used to manage those microservices.

In general, containers are being used to both build new applications and to make it possible to move legacy applications onto new platforms. Given the size and scope of all the container technology projects, the opportunity this creates for solution providers across the channel is substantial.

The challenge now is going to be investing in advance to create the skill sets needed to master container technologies today before all those opportunities pass solution providers by tomorrow.