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Over the past few years, the rise of containerized application development and a microservices architecture have changed the way the tech sector operates. Across the board, organizations are migrating from outdated monolithic architectures to flexible, scalable alternatives built around microservices. Many factors have contributed to this shift, but one of the biggest has been the widespread usage of Kubernetes.
Kubernetes is an orchestration tool for managing and automating workloads housed in containers in various environments. Each container is responsible for running a single service, or workload, so instead of having one monolithic application that provides hundreds or thousands of services, each container has only a small piece of an application running an independent service. In a large application, services are tightly woven together and dependent upon one another. If one service goes down, it could affect other services downstream. But with an independent service in its own container, if that service goes off line, it doesn’t affect the other services.
With a monolithic application, you only need to manage that one application. But with containerized applications that work together to form one business application, each individual container needs to be managed. Can you imagine having to manage 100 tiny applications to ensure the overall application that a user sees works seamlessly? It would be nearly impossible to manage each of those services individually. But with an orchestrator like Kubernetes, you can easily manage your individual applications.
What is Kubernetes?
Also known as K8s (for the eight letters in between the first and last letter of its name), Kubernetes is an open source container orchestration platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications across multiple hosts. Able to run on-premises, in the cloud, and in hybrid environments, Kubernetes abstracts away the individual machines in the cluster and treats the entire cluster as a single resource, making it much easier to deploy, scale, and manage containerized applications.
Kubernetes helps with the following areas:
- Load balancing: If traffic to a container is high, Kubernetes is able to load balance and distribute the network traffic so that it is distributed evenly across the Pods, which contain and run your containers.
- Scaling: K8s automatically scales the workload to match demand
- Self-healing: If a container or machine fails, Kubernetes automatically redeploys the afflicted container to its desired state to restore operations or replaces it, ensuring that the application continues to run without interruption.
- Rolling updates: Designed to update your workloads without downtime, rolling updates incrementally replace your resource's Pods with new ones.
Below are the top four benefits of Kubernetes:
1. Kubernetes speeds up release and deployment times without sacrificing stability
Compared to a traditional development ecosystem, containerization enables the rapid testing, deployment and release of applications. Kubernetes makes it easier and more efficient for DevOps teams to take advantage of this. Deploying Kubernetes early in the development lifecycle enables teams to test code faster than they would otherwise be able to.
2. Kubernetes promotes increased portability
By automating and optimizing container orchestration, Kubernetes adds an extra level of flexibility to the development process. Kubernetes was originally designed to interface exclusively with Docker but it now works with container CRI-O and any other implementation of the standard CRI (Container Runtime Interface). This means that development teams can take advantage of the inherent portability of containerization without being tied down to a particular vendor.
If there’s a recent DevOps concept that rivals microservices and containerization in terms of proven effectiveness and widespread popularity, it’s the rise of multicloud development environments. Organizations are increasingly seeing the value of having workloads deployed across multiple cloud servers, and Kubernetes is increasingly being used to support this. Though Kubernetes was originally developed by Google, in addition to working with Google Cloud, Kubernetes clusters can integrate with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and many other leading cloud service providers.
3. Kubernetes has a thriving online development community
Kubernetes has built a sizable online community of innovative, forward-thinking developers. This is beneficial when looking for support troubleshooting problems and has also led to the development of complementary tools for maximizing the platform’s capabilities and impact. This highly involved community also ensures that Kubernetes continues moving forward with new innovations and improvements. On top of that, leading cloud providers and containerization tools have embraced Kubernetes.
4. Kubernetes automates container deployment, scalability and optimization
At the end of the day, the biggest advantage presented by Kubernetes is also its central functionality: the optimized (and automated) orchestration of containerized applications. Kubernetes schedules and automates many formerly manual processes and has the ability to automatically scale up or down resources based on need. Kubernetes also includes rollback features that make it easy to get development back on track if things go wrong. When deployed in conjunction with a containerization tool like Docker, Kubernetes has the potential to develop, release and scale applications faster and more efficiently than ever before.
The bottom line? There’s never going to be a better time to learn Kubernetes.
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