Key Kubernetes Concepts: What You Should Know

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Click to learn more about author Gilad David Maayan.

This guide will cover the basics of Kubernetes, an open-source solution for container orchestration that has been growing rapidly to become an industry mainstay. Read on to learn how your enterprise can benefit from adopting Kubernetes technology, and which key concepts of Kubernetes you should know.

Kubernetes Overview

Kubernetes is a container management tool developed by Google as an open-source system. This technology is designed to run and coordinate containerized applications across multiple machines working in clusters. Kubernetes provides a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that you and your team can use to build a platform to develop and deploy applications across various environments and define the manner in which your applications will run and interact with other applications or services.

With Kubernetes, you can scale your applications and services up (or down), roll updates, test features, rollback problematic versions and manage how certain requests will be answered by specified services.

What Can Kubernetes Do and Why Should Enterprises Use It?

Kubernetes provides a framework that automates this process, so you don’t have to stress yourself with managing these operational aspects of containers and focus your efforts on application development and deployment.

The Kubernetes framework provides:

  • Load balancing and service discovery: Exposes rogue containers with high traffic based on their unique IP address and uses load balancers to redistribute the traffic and stabilize the deployment.
  • Orchestrating storage: Provides the ability to automatically mount any storage type you choose.
  • Automate rollouts and rollbacks: Allows you to decide the state of deployed containers and change it to any desired state at a defined pace.
  • Resource management: Allows you to dictate the usage level of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the Random Access Memory (RAM) for each container.
  • Self-recovery: Automatically restarts or replaces containers that fail and terminates unresponsive containers based on user-defined settings to ensure workloads maintain stability and operate smoothly.

Containers are a useful way to combine and run applications, but they can be hard to manage. To ensure that production downtime is down to a minimum, you need to manage the containers in charge of running the applications; so in case one container fails, it will be replaced by another one.

The following are some of the key reasons to choose Kubernetes.

An Active Community

The large and supportive community of Kubernetes is rapidly growing. Like many other open-source communities on GitHub, the Kubernetes community encourages many contributors to collaborate together and constantly release new features.

Flexibility

Kubernetes is highly flexible and can be implemented across multiple environments, both on-premises or in the cloud. This allows you to easily choose how to run and move your workloads across various environments.

Supports DevOps workloads

Nowadays, DevOps is a mainstream method used by enterprises seeking a competitive advantage by improving the development and security of applications. DevOps is all about speeding up the development process and combining the efforts of formerly separate development and IT teams. The flexibility of Kubernetes makes this process much more streamlined—DevOps teams can use Kubernetes to run applications on any environment and automate and scale workflows.

Managed Platforms

While Kubernetes is a great tool to streamline and speed up production and deployment, installing Kubernetes on-premises can be highly challenging and expensive. Luckily, this issue is easily resolved with managed Kubernetes platforms that make the use of this technology much more manageable.

Many companies provide managed platform solutions to run Kubernetes:

  • Google: Offers an all-in-one solution called Kubernetes Engine that allows you to manage, monitor and deploy applications.
  • Platform9: Offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-managed hybrid cloud solution that offers a flexible Kubernetes platform for enterprises for any environment.
  • Amazon: Offers a solution called Elastic Container Service (EKS) that is highly available through the use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) global infrastructure and the spread of Availability Zones.

Key Kubernetes Concepts

Kubernetes is a complex technology—to make the most of it, you should have at least a basic understanding of the most important concepts. For this purpose, I’ve compiled a list with the key concepts that you should know

  • Containers: An isolated piece of software designed to run identically regardless of the environment by excluding the running code from the execution context.
  • Pods: A collection of containers that share the same network, storage and run on a single specification. Each pod, the most basic part of Kubernetes, has its own IP address and containers within the pod that share the same IP address can find one another through the localhost.
  • Replicaset: One of the building blocks for running applications with Kubernetes. The purpose of Replicaset is to run a set of replica Pods and keep it stable at all times. Replicaset is often used to ensure that a specified number of identical Pods are available.
  • Service: Fixes a common problem with the architecture of pods and Replicaset cause by Replicaset. Replicaset scales the number of pods up and down, it becomes hard to reference individual pods. Service fixes this problem by providing an abstraction over pods and a method of communication with pods.
  • Deployment: Used to manage replicasets and roll upgrades between different application versions. Deployment is the most common source for providing an abstraction over pods and replicasets on a single interface.
  • ConfigMap: Allows you to save the configuration, which changes per environment, separately from built applications by mounting configuration files as environment variables or system files into pods.
  • Ingress: Since the IP addresses of services and pods are usually accessible only from within the Kubernetes clusters, we need a solution that enables the services which are isolated from the internet to communicate and run with other applications or services. Ingress is a set of rules that are designed specifically for that, they dictate how the cluster services communicate with outer applications and services.

Wrap Up

Kubernetes allows enterprises to run highly available and scalable containerized workloads, which can run on a wide variety of environments. It also helps streamline and speed up development and deployment. In a very competitive market, Kubernetes technology provides enterprises an edge over competitors.

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