If you want to deploy cloud-native applications, then Kubernetes is a powerful system that you can’t ignore.
Since Google open-sourced Kubernetes in 2014, its usage has grown rapidly. According to Redmonk, 54% of Fortune 100 companies use Kubernetes. There are many reasons why Kubernetes is the go-to system right now.
What is that? Should you use it? What benefits does it give you?
Let’s jump right in…
What Exactly Is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is simply a platform that you can use to deploy, configure, automate and scale containerized applications. This powerful tool helps lower cloud computing costs. It facilitates declarative automation and configuration.
To save you the effort, here's a video showing exactly how it's pronounced. In Greek, "kubernan" means to steer, while "kubernetes" means "helmsman of a ship". So, it basically means one who steers a ship.
It was open-sourced it in 2014, building upon Google's over 15 years' experience running high scale production workloads. It is loved by multiple developers, from those who do custom software development to those developing and managing different types of applications.
Container Usage and Its Challenges
So, Kubernetes is basically a container management tool. But what are these containers? And where does Kubernetes come in?
Containers are like a small version of virtual machines. They are light executables that have their own file systems, memory and CPU among other features, but they don’t require their own operating systems.
They simply package up code and its dependencies, making sure applications run quickly and reliably between different cloud computing environments.
Containers run on both Windows and Linux. You can therefore easily create your packaged application on your development platform, and then deploy it in any platform that supports containers.
There's a challenge though:
Containers don't work best on their own. You need a way to manage, automate and scale the deployment process. You need a container orchestration system. And that's where Kubernetes (K8s) comes in.
Containers are hot right now. And Kubernetes is currently the go-to system for container orchestration. But, exactly what do you get when you use Kubernetes? Here's a list of benefits:
1. It Solves The Multiple Computer Nightmare
Using different containers is amazing. Until you learn that something's missing; that you're running several containers across many machines and struggling to figure out how each can run seamlessly.
It can be insanely frustrating to do so. But, not with Kubernetes. This container orchestration platform ensures multiple containers work together seamlessly. It can:
- Scale containers up or down when demand changes
- Distribute load between containers
- Keep storage consistent among other features
All this is done automatically, freeing up your time and resources so that you can focus on your core activities. This is one of the biggest reasons why Kubernetes is loved by developers.
2. It Makes It Easy to Configure Services
The Kubernetes engine uses pods (a collection of containers deployed together in one host) to orchestrate modular parts. Kubernetes ensures one container image is not overwhelmed with too much functionality.
It groups together a collection of pods that take care of similar functions. This way, services can be configured easily for load balancing, observability and horizontal scaling.
3. Automatic Load Balancing
Occasionally, containers can suffer from high load. If such traffic gets too high, Kubernetes can balance it and distribute it to ensure deployment is balanced and stable. Thus, you don't get cases where some machines are doing too much while others do close to nothing.
When more memory, storage or CPU is needed, Kubernetes ramps them up. On the other hand, when less is needed, Kubernetes can shut some machines down.
4. It Simplifies Large Scale Updating and Deployment of Software
Using Kubernetes makes it easy to manage how software can be deployed and updated. This is partly done using Kubernetes Controllers. It enables you to:
- Deploy software at scale across pods.
- Quickly identify what is complete, what's processing, and what has failed
- Automate rollbacks and rollouts
- Orchestrate rolling updates
It enables you to use different types of applications, without restricting supported language runtimes. If you can run an application in a container, you can run it in Kubernetes.
Kubernetes Has Been Growing Rapidly, Here's Why
There are many benefits of using Kubernetes that span across different fields. This system has grown so much since June 2014 that it has literally dominated its space. Here are four reasons that have led to its rapid growth:
1. Optimized responsiveness: With Kubernetes, you maintain replica sets. This means that multiple pods run at the same time. You therefore don't have to worry about replicating an entire application, triggering a load balancer, and switching over to a secondary application. This keeps your application resilient, having maximum responsiveness and uptime.
2. Scalability: It allows you to multiply workloads and scale up and down with minimal issues. Its autoscaler service can replicate pods automatically to different nodes to maximize the usage of resources.
3. Flexibility: It's easy to adjust applications that are comprised of granular components. You don't have to deploy feature improvements. This doesn't have to be done in massive overhauls that mess up usability. It can be deployed in smaller steps that are more manageable.
How to Use Kubernetes With Docker
Docker is an enterprise container platform. Kubernetes is a container orchestration system. These two are not to be confused for one another, since they're totally different. In other words, Docker is like a bus, and Kubernetes is like a bus station. They work together.
With the Docker hub, you can create containers that pack and isolate software with whatever it needs to run. These containers allow you to be agile and build portable, secure apps. Docker makes it easy to pack and ship apps.
Once you've set up your containers in Docker, you still need them to be deployed and scaled using an orchestration system. This is where Kubernetes comes in. You don't have to manually start servers and run commands when a container dies.
Kubernetes ensures that deployment, scaling and management of your containerized applications is done automatically.
Kubernetes: A Remarkable Breakthrough for Developers
Kubernetes enables you to deliver and scale consistently and predictably. It makes it easy to use and manage containerized applications. You're then left to focus on creating new features and fixing bugs rapidly, without worrying much about deployment.
It also ensures that you fully optimize your usage of machines. For that reason, it lowers the cost of cloud subscriptions and simplifying operations.
Once again, Kubernetes is one powerful system that you simply can’t ignore!