Kubernetes

Why should you love Kubernetes? Let us count the ways. Indeed, there are more than enough to guarantee that you and your organisation will have a long and happy relationship with Kubernetes.

Kubernetes in a Nutshell

Kubernetes is a system for orchestrating containers. It organises multiple instances of a container or containers with the same functions into groups called pods, which it aggregates into nodes. It manages these pods and nodes as services. Instead of interacting directly with a container, your application can request the appropriate service from Kubernetes, which will then manage the details of assigning the required task to a pod, and to a specific container (or set of containers) within that pod. 

So, What Is There to Love?

Now let’s look at the reasons to love Kubernetes, rather than shopping around for other orchestration tools, or trying to manage your container environment without an orchestrator.

1. Kubernetes Manages Your Containers

Traditional monolithic applications typically take care of housekeeping tasks such as memory management internally, and for the most part, those tasks are fairly simple to manage.

When you move to the world of containers, however, housekeeping becomes a complex and sometimes multi-dimensional challenge. You must find ways to manage the creation of not just individual instances of large-scale programs, but swarms of instances of small programs performing individual tasks. You must also find ways of identifying those individual instances, of communicating with them, and of disposing of them when they're no longer necessary.

It is possible, of course, to handle all of this using scripts developed in-house in coordination with individual tools for managing specific elements of your container system. This, however, can be a difficult and challenging task, becoming more difficult as your application grows larger, and as the number of individual instances of a container which need to be deployed increases.

Kubernetes takes care of most of this for you, which is reason enough to love it. It insulates you from the need to deal with individual instances of containers. An instance of a container is simply part of a pod, and a pod is just something that's managed by a service. All that you need to be concerned with is requesting the service. Kubernetes handles the rest.

2. Kubernetes is Efficient

Kubernetes does more than just manage instances of containers, however. It manages your entire container ecosystem with a high level of efficiency. Kubernetes is designed to make optimum use of both pods and the individual container instances which they represent. It includes built-in features for load distribution, scheduling, and rescheduling.

Along with its internal load balancing features, Kubernetes allows you to set up sophisticated, ingress-based load balancing, using a dedicated and easily scriptable load balancing controller.

This built-in efficiency reduces unnecessary use of system resources, and in many cases, results in faster operation by eliminating the wait for non-functional, occupied, or otherwise non-responsive containers.

3. Kubernetes is Scalable and Flexible

Along with managing containers on the level of pods and individual instances, Kubernetes is highly scalable, and can handle large deployments, or clusters. An individual cluster can include up to 150,000 pods, representing as many as 300,000 containers, and organised in up to 5,000 nodes. Kubernetes also handles potential problems, such as the failure of a node, by creating new pods as required. These features, combined with Kubernetes' ability to scale horizontally to meet workload requirements, contribute to its efficiency and overall responsivity.

4. Kubernetes Has a Strong Developer and User Base

The popularity of Kubernetes has given it a strong base of both users and developers. This means that there is now a rich ecosystem of add-ons and support applications, extending both the functionality of Kubernetes and the range of its applicability. If, for example, you find that there's a task which Kubernetes will not perform adequately, or you would like to see its capabilities extended to meet the needs of a particular type of application or deployment, there is a reasonably good chance that someone will develop a script or an add-on program that meets that need within the near future.

Kubernetes' popularity also means that there is a broad community of users and developers on whom you can rely for support and advice when you are faced with technical problems, or simply have questions about the best way to implement some of its features. If you have ever been in a situation where you had to depend on software with a very small and specialised user base, you will appreciate the advantages of this kind of popularity.

5. Kubernetes is the De Facto Standard

Now that Docker has integrated support for Kubernetes, it is clear that Kubernetes is well on its way to becoming the industry standard for container orchestration. In many industries, the mere existence of the standard has a synergistic effect on both the efficiency of individual enterprises and the growth of the industry as a whole.

In software, a standardised platform has a strong tendency to simplify the process of development and to streamline deployment. From the business and management point of view, the existence of an established standard makes the process of planning much easier, both in the short and the long term.

For your DevOps team, this kind of standardisation is important not only for planning, but also for creating a stable infrastructure, and for such seemingly unrelated tasks as analytics and log aggregation, since they generally rely on data from standardised sources.

The adoption of Kubernetes as a standard also makes the process of software design much easier, both on the level of code and overall architecture. You can design not only for containers, but also for the specific kind of orchestrated deployment which Kubernetes makes possible.

Conclusion

Why should you love Kubernetes? You should love it for many, many reasons—not the least of which being that if it didn't exist, we might all be busy trying to invent it.

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  • Benjamin Wootton

    Co-Founder and CTO

    Benjamin Wootton is the Co-Founder and CTO of Contino. He has worked with tens of enterprise organisations on DevOps transformation and is a hands-on DevOps engineer with expertise in cloud and containers.

    More Articles by Benjamin