Kubernetes is a powerful container management tool that automates the deployment and management of containers. Kubernetes (k8’s) is the next big wave in cloud computing and it’s easy to see why as businesses migrate their infrastructure and architecture to reflect a cloud-native, data-driven era.
Whether you’re a developer, data scientist, product manager, or something else, it won’t hurt to have a little Kubernetes knowledge in your back pocket. It’s one of the most sought after skills by companies of all sizes, so if you’re looking to gain a new skill that will stay with you throughout your career, then learning Kubernetes is a great option.
Today, we will go over:
Get a firm grasp on Kubernetes and the skills to deploy your own clusters and applications.
Containers are great. They provide you with an easy way to package and deploy services, allow for process isolation, immutability, efficient resource utilization, and are lightweight in creation.
But when it comes to actually running containers in production, you can end up with dozens, even thousands of containers over time. These containers need to be deployed, managed, and connected and updated; if you were to do this manually, you’d need an entire team dedicated to this.
It’s not enough to run containers; you need to be able to:
You might ask: aren’t containers supposed to do all that? The answer is that containers are only a low-level piece of the puzzle. The real benefits are obtained with tools that sit on top of containers — like Kubernetes. These tools are today known as container schedulers.
With many of today’s businesses gearing towards microservice architecture, it’s no surprise that containers and the tools used to manage them have become so popular.
Microservice architecture makes it easy to split your application into smaller components with containers that can then be run on different cloud environments, giving you the option to choose the best host for your needs.
What’s great about Kubernetes is that it’s built to be used anywhere so you can deploy to public/private/hybrid clouds, enabling you to reach users where they’re at, with greater availability and security. You can see how Kubernetes can help you avoid potential hazards with “vendor lock-in”.
Kubernetes allows teams to keep pace with the requirements of modern software development. Without Kubernetes, large teams would have to manually script their own deployment workflows.
Containers, combined with an orchestration tool, provide management of machines and services for you — improving the reliability of your application while reducing the amount of time and resources spent on DevOps.
Kubernetes has some great features that allow you to deploy applications faster with scalability in mind:
“Before Kubernetes, our infrastructure was so antiquated it was taking us more than six months to deploy a new microservice. Today, a new microservice takes less than five days to deploy. And we’re working on getting it to an hour.”
Containers allow applications to be broken down into smaller parts which can then be managed through an orchestration tool like Kubernetes. This makes it easy to manage codebases and test specific inputs and outputs.
As mentioned earlier, Kubernetes has built-in features like self-healing and automated rollouts/rollbacks, effectively managing the containers for you.
To go even further, Kubernetes allows for declarative expressions of the desired state as opposed to an execution of a deployment script, meaning that a scheduler can monitor a cluster and perform actions whenever the actual state does not match the desired. You can think of schedulers as operators who are continually monitoring the system and fixing discrepancies between the desired and actual state.
If you have transitioned or are looking to transition to a microservice architecture then Kubernetes will suit you well because it’s likely you’re already using software like Docker to containerize your application.
If you’re unable to meet customer demands due to slow development time, then Kubernetes might help. Rather than a team of developers spending their time wrapping their heads around the development and deployment lifecycle, Kubernetes (along with Docker) can effectively manage it for you so the team can spend their time on more meaningful work that gets products out the door.
“Our internal teams have less of a need to focus on manual capacity provisioning and more time to focus on delivering features for Spotify.”—Spotify
Kubernetes uses an efficient resource management model at the container, pod, and cluster level, helping you lower cloud infrastructure costs by ensuring your clusters always have available resources for running applications.
If your application makes use of a monolithic architecture it may be tough to see the real benefits of containers and a tool used to orchestrate them.
That’s because the very nature of a monolithic architecture is to have every piece of the application intertwined — from IO to the data processing to rendering, whereas containers are used to separate your application into individual components.
Kubernetes notoriously has a steep learning curve, meaning you’ll be spending a good amount of time educating teams and addressing the challenges of a new solution, etc. If you don’t have a team that’s willing to experiment and take risks then it’s probably not the choice for you.
Overall, Kubernetes boasts some pretty great features that can have a positive impact on your developing/DevOps teams and for the business as a whole.
If you’re looking to get started with Kubernetes, you can check out A Practical Guide to Kubernetes, written by Viktor Farcic, a Developer Advocate at CloudBees, a member of the Google Developer Experts.
This course will help you get familiar with all the basics of Kubernetes through hands-on practice. You’ll start with the fundamentals of Kubernetes and what the main components of a cluster look like. You’ll then learn how to use those components to build, test, deploy, upgrade applications, and secure your deployments.
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