Kubernetes On-Premises: Pros, Cons, and 8 Tips for Success

Kubernetes on-premises refers to the deployment of Kubernetes clusters within an organization’s physical data centers, rather than outsourcing infrastructure to cloud providers. This approach utilizes the organization’s existing hardware and network infrastructure to run containerized applications. On-premises Kubernetes allows full control over the environment, including hardware, networks, and storage systems.

Deploying Kubernetes in-house can help meet specific business requirements, such as regulatory compliance or data sovereignty. It provides the flexibility to design an infrastructure that closely aligns with internal policies and security standards. This setup is especially beneficial for organizations with significant investments in data center resources or those requiring strict control over their workloads.

However, deploying Kubernetes on-premises presents its own set of challenges. Kubernetes is a complex system that requires specialized expertise to deploy and operate. Additionally, by deploying Kubernetes on-premises, an organization takes full responsibility for purchasing, maintaining, and scaling the underlying hardware infrastructure.

This is part of a series of articles about Kubernetes management.

Benefits of Running Kubernetes On-Premises 

Compliance and Data Privacy

Running Kubernetes on-premises caters to stringent regulatory and data privacy requirements. It allows organizations to enforce compliance standards and data governance policies directly. With data stored and managed within the physical premises, businesses have greater oversight and control, ensuring adherence to legal and operational regulations.

On-premises deployments also significantly reduce risks associated with data breaches and external attacks. Controlling the physical access to infrastructure adds an extra layer of security, crucial for sectors like finance, healthcare, and government, where protecting sensitive information is paramount.

Cloud Agnostic Setup

Kubernetes on-premises supports cloud-agnostic strategies, preventing vendor lock-in. It facilitates the use of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments, offering flexibility in deploying applications across different services without dependency on a single cloud provider’s tools or ecosystems. 

Being cloud-agnostic enhances an organization’s bargaining power, allowing them to negotiate better terms and prices. It also provides the agility to move workloads in response to policy changes or performance issues, ensuring resilience and uninterrupted service delivery.


For organizations with existing data center resources, Kubernetes on-premises can be more cost-effective than cloud solutions. It utilizes owned infrastructure, minimizing operational expenses associated with cloud services. Initial investments in hardware and setup can lead to long-term savings, especially for large-scale or persistent workloads.

However, cost benefits depend on internal expertise and the efficiency of managing in-house resources. Organizations must carefully evaluate their capacity to maintain and scale Kubernetes environments against operational demands and potential savings.

Challenges of On-Premises Kubernetes 

Deploying Kubernetes on-premises can also result in several significant challenges for organizations.

No Outsourced Management

On-premises Kubernetes deployments eliminate direct dependence on cloud vendors, shifting the management burden in-house. While this offers control, it requires a committed effort in monitoring, updating, and securing the infrastructure. Unlike cloud services, where vendors manage the underlying platform, organizations are responsible for the entire stack, needing dedicated teams for ongoing maintenance and problem resolution.

Responsibility for Hardware

Managing physical hardware is a significant challenge in on-premises setups. Organizations must handle procurement, setup, maintenance, and eventual upgrades or replacements. This requires upfront capital investment and ongoing operational costs. Hardware failures can lead to downtime, and scaling resources to meet demand involves additional complexity and planning.

Networking Complexity

Kubernetes networking is complex, and requires a dedicated effort to deploy on premises, while in cloud environments it is often pre-configured. This involves configuring and managing internal networks, load balancers, firewalls, and potentially integrating with existing IT infrastructure. Ensuring high availability, security, and optimal performance demands specialized knowledge and continuous monitoring.

Persistent Storage

Managing persistent storage in an on-premises Kubernetes environment requires a careful selection of storage solutions that support dynamic provisioning, high availability, and disaster recovery. Organizations must also ensure data integrity and accessibility across the Kubernetes cluster, balancing performance with cost and scalability requirements.

Kubernetes On-Premises vs. in the Cloud 

Let’s look at how on-premises deployments compare to cloud deployments for Kubernetes.


  • On-premises: Scaling requires physical hardware, which can lead to slower response times to increasing demand. It necessitates precise capacity planning and investment in infrastructure that can handle peak loads.
  • Cloud: Offers almost limitless scalability with the ability to quickly spin up or down resources as needed, providing flexibility to respond to changes in demand without upfront hardware investments.


  • On-premises: Requires a high level of expertise in both Kubernetes and infrastructure management, including networking, storage, and security. Teams need to be capable of handling all aspects of the setup and maintenance.
  • Cloud: While expertise in Kubernetes is still necessary, much of the infrastructure management is handled by the cloud provider. This can reduce the burden on in-house teams and lower the expertise barrier for entry.


  • On-Premises: Can be more cost-effective in the long term for organizations with existing data center resources. However, requires significant upfront investment in hardware and ongoing costs for maintenance and upgrades.
  • Cloud: Offers a pay-as-you-go model that can be attractive for its flexibility and lower initial costs. However, operational costs can scale with usage, potentially becoming more expensive than on-premises solutions for large-scale deployments.

Security and Control

  • On-premises: Provides complete control over the security and compliance posture, allowing for tailored security measures. Physical access to infrastructure adds an extra layer of security.
  • Cloud: While cloud providers offer robust security features, organizations have less control over the physical security and must rely on the provider’s compliance certifications and security practices.

Resource Requirements

  • On-premises: Demands significant resources not just in terms of hardware, but also in terms of manpower required to manage and secure the Kubernetes environment. This typically involves a dedicated in-house team for ongoing operations.
  • Cloud: Reduces the need for physical resources and can also lessen the demand on in-house teams for infrastructure management, though still requires Kubernetes expertise for setup, deployment, and management.

8 Tips for Success with On-Premises Kubernetes

Let’s look at some of the measures that organizations can take to make the most of their on-premises Kubernetes setup.

1. Infrastructure Planning and Network Configuration

Proper planning is crucial for on-premise Kubernetes success. It involves assessing workloads, designing a compatible network architecture, and ensuring high availability. Detailed network configuration, including segmenting cluster traffic and integrating with existing systems, optimizes performance and security.

2. Staffing the Team

Building a skilled team is essential. It should consist of individuals familiar with Kubernetes, infrastructure management, and security practices. Continuous training and access to resources empower the team to manage and scale the Kubernetes environment effectively.

3. Using Standardized Hardware 

Employing standardized hardware streamlines operations and makes the clusters easier to manage. It simplifies procurement, reduces compatibility issues, and eases maintenance. Standardization also aids in troubleshooting by providing a consistent reference point, improving efficiency and reducing downtime.

4. Deploying the Control Plane Across Multiple Physical Servers 

A distributed control plane setup prevents single points of failure, enabling Kubernetes clusters to remain operational even if one server goes down. This approach involves deploying key components such as the API server, scheduler, and controller manager across several servers, and configuring them to work in a high-availability mode.

5. Regularly Updating Kubernetes and Its Dependencies 

Keeping Kubernetes and related software updated is crucial for security and functionality. Regular updates fix vulnerabilities, provide new features, and improve performance. An effective update strategy involves testing in staging environments before deployment to production.

6. Automating the Provisioning and Management of Kubernetes Clusters

Automation simplifies the management of Kubernetes environments. It speeds up deployment, ensures consistent configuration, and reduces human errors. Tools for infrastructure as code, continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) practices, and enterprise Kubernetes platforms like OpenShift or Rancher, can streamline cluster lifecycle management.

7. Maintaining Documentation of the Kubernetes Environment

Comprehensive documentation supports operations and troubleshooting. It should include infrastructure details, configuration settings, update histories, and operational procedures. Well-documented environments improve team coordination, knowledge sharing, and onboarding of new staff.

8. Using Kubernetes Monitoring and Troubleshooting Tools

Kubernetes monitoring and troubleshooting tools provide insights into resource utilization, cluster operations, and potential issues, enabling timely interventions. Employing these tools facilitates proactive management, ensuring high availability and performance of Kubernetes on-premises deployments.

Simplifying Kubernetes Management with Komodor

Komodor is a Continuous Kubernetes Reliability Platform, designed to democratize K8s expertise across the organization and enable engineering teams to leverage its full value.

Komodor’s platform empowers developers to confidently monitor and troubleshoot their workloads while allowing cluster operators to enforce standardization and optimize performance.

By leveraging Komodor, companies of all sizes significantly improve reliability, productivity, and velocity. Or, to put it simply – Komodor helps you spend less time and resources on managing Kubernetes, and more time on innovating at scale.

If you are interested in checking out Komodor, use this link to sign up for a Free Trial.