Over the last few years, we have witnessed a rise in cloud computing, containerization, and container orchestration conversations. When we talk of these trends, it is hard to ignore some of the accompanying names, like Kubernetes and Docker, which have revolutionized how we develop and deploy software at scale.
Today, we will look at what Kubernetes is and why you could benefit from it. Kubernetes is an open-source platform that automates operational tasks of container management, and includes built-in commands to deploy, scale and manage containerized applications. Kubernetes comes from a Greek word meaning Governor. In English, it is often shortened to K8s, with the 8 standing for the number of letters between the K and the s. The reasoning behind this moniker is simple – the Governor is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their subjects; similarly, Kubernetes is responsible for carrying and guiding the containerized applications safely to locations where they can be used.
To understand the importance and usefulness of this portable, extensible, open-source platform, one needs to go back in time.
Image courtesy – docker.com
Traditional Deployment: In the past, organizations ran applications on physical servers. The challenge that came with this method was if there were multiple applications on a server, and if one of them consumed a high percentage of resources, the other applications would be left with too little and would underperform. The solution to this problem was to allocate a single server to an application, which meant that it was a waste of resources and the maintenance of the physical server became a burden in the long run.
Virtualized Deployment: To fix the above problem, virtualization was introduced. With the adoption of this new type of deployment, a single physical server could host multiple virtual machines (VM’s). The isolation of the VM provided a high level of security since one application could not easily access another application running on a different VM. This meant better utilization of resources in a physical server, and allowed for better scalability as an application could be added or updated easily, reducing hardware costs and much more.
Container Deployment: Containers are very similar to virtual machines; however, the fundamental difference lies in their isolation properties. Containers share the operating system (OS) among the applications, making it extremely lightweight. While VM’s are an abstraction of hardware turning one server into many servers, containers are an abstraction at the app layer that package code and dependencies together. Since they are decoupled from the underlying infrastructure, they are portable across clouds and different operating systems.
And this brings us to Kubernetes. Kubernetes is a powerful container management tool that automates the deployment and management of containers. When it comes to running containers in production, you will often find a build-up of thousands of containers that need to be deployed, managed and updated – if done manually, it would require a large team and long hours.
What Kubernetes can do:
- Service discovery and load balancing: it can load balance and distribute network traffic to ensure stability. It can also identify if a container is using its DNS or IP address, thus allowing it to monitor the traffic load.
- Storage orchestration: there is a provision to mount a storage system of choice- local or cloud.
- Rollouts and rollbacks: the desired state can be set for the deployed container. For instance – you can create new containers , remove existing and adopt resources to the new containers.
- Framework and language support: if an application can run in a container, it will run well on Kubernetes, period.
- Security: Kubernetes ‘Secrets’ feature lets you store and manage sensitive information such as passwords, OAuth tokens and SSH keys. Storing confidential information in ‘Secret’ is safer and more flexible than putting it verbatim in a Pod definition or a container image.
Adoption to Business
Though enterprises can build their Kubernetes cluster from scratch, it requires a lot of work, and the process itself can be complex and time-consuming. The in-house resource would need to be highly skilled and available around the clock to ensure the cluster environment has all the containers running properly and there is no application downtime. While there is an abundance of SaaS providers who offer Kubernetes solutions, most of them provide Kubernetes management and solutions in terms of a simplified user interface, rather than addressing the challenges of working with a containerized application. In most cases, the degree of customization is limited, and enterprises can find themselves back to square one.
It is easy to see why Kubernetes is so popular. This flexible, scalable, open-source tool streamlines container management and gives numerous benefits post-implementation. With Opteamix’s help, you can learn how Kubernetes can be an integral tool towards producing better, stable and secure software. Learn more about our DevOps practice or get in touch with us today to find out how Opteamix can assess your specific needs and guide you through the design and implementation process.