As we discussed in the article on Docker, it enables faster development as well as deployment, improved security, digital transformation, reduced costs, improved productivity and microservices architecture that can be easily ported to a hybrid cloud model. Kubernetes is currently the de facto tool for orchestrating containers and any project of scale can benefit from the goodness that Kubernetes brings to the table.
What is Kubernetes?
Google used Kubernetes internally for about 15 years of experience before finally open sourcing it. As we can imagine Google probably has the highest production workload given that Google.com and Youtube.com are the two top websites in the world currently (July, 2018). Kubernetes is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It groups containers that make up an application into logical units for easy management and discovery. After making Kubernetes open source, Google has done a great job of incorporating these practices from the community. It was built way before Docker even existed so it’s container-agnostic. That means it works with Docker and can be used to make it work with other containers too. All major cloud platforms including AWS and Azure support it.
Features of Kubernetes
- Scale: Kubernetes can scale as much as your systems can. Google is known to run billions of containers a week. The best part is that this automation and orchestration can scale without increasing the DevOps team.
- Enterprise friendly: It’s flexible enough to not just support local deployments and orchestrations but also Enterprise grade applications and use cases that are extremely complex.
- Portability: The best thing about Kubernetes is that it could be deployed on premise or on any public cloud. You can also make it work in a hybrid model which is a combination of on premise and public cloud infrastructure.
- Orchestration: Kubernetes helps us eliminate the burden of operations and maintenance by being able to provision and upgrade our applications without having to take them offline. It allows help us scale resources on demand.
- Vibrant community: The community behind Kubernetes is very vibrant and active. Microsoft offers AKS (Azure Kubernetes Service) which is a managed service that makes it quick and easy to deploy and manage container orchestration without requiring any orchestration expertise whatsoever. With the support from major cloud platforms, it’s here to stay.
Benefits of Kubernetes
Kubernetes has a lot of advantages. Some of the notable ones are:
- Self-healing containers: It’s smart enough to restart containers that fail. It kills containers that do not respond to the user-configured health checks and replaces them with new ones. It automatically assigns the new container and address and exposes it to the clients when they are ready to serve.
- Configuration Management: It helps deploy and update application configuration without having to rebuild the image.
- Auto-bin packing: One of its best features is placing containers automatically based on the resource constraints. This leads to increased utilization while saving more resources.
- Scaling out: It can automatically scale the application up-and-down based on user-defined resource usage configuration. This can also be done via the user interface, if needed.
- Load balancing / Service discovery: It gives containers their own IP addresses. It can facilitate load balancing across containers by providing a single DNS name for a set of containers. The benefit lies in not having to modify the application to use an unfamiliar service discovery mechanism.
- Secrets Management: It helps deploy and update secrets without having to rebuild the image.
- Automated rollbacks: Not only does it facilitate automatic rollouts, it also does a great job rolling back the changes in case something goes wrong. This is because while it is capable of rolling out changes to your application, configuration or secrets, it’s also capable of monitoring application health.
- Continuous Integration Workloads: It can manage all the continuous integration workloads. As mentioned briefly above, it can also replace containers that fail.
- Orchestration: It’s fully capable of automatically mounting the storage system of your choice. This could vary from local storage to a public cloud provider (like Azure, AWS or GCP) or even a network storage system (such as Ceph, Flocker or NFS).
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