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In the ever-evolving landscape of application development, Kubernetes has emerged as a go-to solution for organisations looking for container orchestration at scale.
Originally developed by Google, the open-source container orchestration platform provides a powerful and flexible framework for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerised applications, streamlining the work of DevOps teams and software developers.
While initially limited to large companies, today an estimated 96 per cent of organisations around the world are using or evaluating Kubernetes, with a whopping 5.6 million developers relying on the platform daily.
There are also a vast amount of managed Kubernetes providers out there, each offering their own unique services powered by the orchestration platform.
But what do organisations stand to benefit from migrating to a Kubernetes container orchestration platform? Why choose Kubernetes?
In this top 10, we’re taking a closer look at the benefits of Kubernetes, exploring how the platform is revolutionising the way organisations deploy and manage applications.
With its advanced orchestration capabilities, Kubernetes allows organisations to effortlessly scale applications to meet rising demands. Through horizontal scaling, the platform automatically replicate and distributes containers across multiple nodes, allowing it to seamlessly handle spikes in traffic and workload. This dynamic scaling allows applications to seamlessly accommodate growing user bases without compromising performance or availability.
Kubernetes also leverages its robust load balancing mechanisms that evenly distribute incoming requests among container instances, optimising resource utilisation and preventing bottlenecks. This ensures that applications can efficiently handle high volumes of traffic, whilst also maintaining responsiveness, and monitoring the health of containers and nodes to automatically detect and replace failed instances, preventing service disruptions.
Simplified Container Orchestration
Another key benefit of Kubernetes is that it simplifies container orchestration, providing organisations with a powerful framework that streamlines the deployment, management, and scaling of containerised applications. By abstracting away the complexities of managing individual containers, Kubernetes enables developers and operations teams to focus on building and delivering software rather than dealing with infrastructure intricacies.
Kubernetes boasts a robust set of built-in features and abstractions that simplify container management. At the core of Kubernetes is the concept of a "Pod," which encapsulates one or more containers and their shared resources. Pods act as the fundamental scheduling unit in Kubernetes, making it easier to manage related containers together and ensuring they are co-located and share network and storage resources.
Automated Rollouts and Rollbacks
Application updates can be a complex process – since they may introduce bugs or compatibility issues that can impact the user experience. But with Kubernetes, organisations can define their desired application state through configuration files known as manifests. These manifests specify the desired resources, dependencies, and behaviours of the application.
When it comes to rolling out updates, Kubernetes allows for controlled deployments through its Deployments and ReplicaSets features. By defining the desired number of replicas and rollout strategies, such as rolling updates or canary deployments, Kubernetes ensures a controlled and gradual transition from the previous version to the updated one. This allows organisations to monitor the progress of the rollout, verify its stability, and minimize the impact on users. In the event that issues or failures occur during an update, Kubernetes offers automated rollbacks as a safety net. If the updated version of an application fails to meet certain criteria or health checks, Kubernetes can automatically roll back to the previous stable version, ensuring the application's availability and reducing downtime.
Portability and Vendor Independence
It’s important to remember that Kubernetes is an open-source platform, meaning it is not tied to any particular vendor. Instead, it is governed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and its development is driven by a community of contributors. This vendor-neutral positioning makes Kubernetes one of the few solutions that can be implemented on different cloud providers, on-premises infrastructure, or hybrid environments, providing organisations with the freedom to select the best environment for their specific requirements.
The portability of Kubernetes is made possible through its standardized APIs and declarative configuration files. Kubernetes defines a set of APIs that abstract away the underlying infrastructure and allow applications to be deployed, managed, and scaled in a consistent manner across different environments. This means that the same Kubernetes configuration and manifests can be used to deploy and manage applications regardless of the underlying infrastructure.
One of Kubernetes' standout features is its ability to heal itself autonomously. The platform continuously monitors the health of containers and nodes, automatically detecting and recovering from failures. For instance, if a container crashes or fails, Kubernetes automatically restart it or replace it with a replica to bring the application back into a healthy state, preventing service downtime and reducing the need for manual intervention.
Kubernetes also supports scaling and load balancing as part of its self-healing capabilities. With its horizontal scaling feature, Kubernetes can automatically scale the number of replicas of an application based on resource utilisation or defined metrics. This ensures that the application can handle increased workload demands without overloading individual containers or nodes.
Powered by intelligent scheduling and resource management capabilities, Kubernetes ensures that containers are always effectively utilised, maximizing performance and minimising waste. Kubernetes automatically schedules containers onto available nodes based on resource requirements and constraints, taking into account factors such as CPU and memory usage, network bandwidth, and storage requirements when making scheduling decisions. This ensures that containers are allocated to nodes with sufficient resources, avoiding over-provisioning or the under-utilisation of key resources.
Kubernetes can define resource limits and requests for containers. Resource limits specify the maximum amount of CPU and memory that a container can consume, preventing any single container from monopolizing resources and impacting the overall performance of the cluster. Resource requests, on the other hand, define the minimum amount of resources required by a container for proper operation. By setting appropriate resource limits and requests, organisations can allocate resources efficiently and prevent resource contention within the cluster.
Service Discovery and Load Balancing
As well as resource optimisation, Kubernetes provides organisations with robust service discovery and load balancing features that simplify communication between containers and ensure efficient distribution of network traffic. Service discovery in Kubernetes allows containers to discover and connect to other services without needing to know their specific IP addresses or locations. Kubernetes provides a virtual IP address and DNS name for each service, which acts as a stable endpoint that can be used by other services or external clients. This decoupling of services from their underlying network details simplifies the communication between containers, as services can be referred to by their logical names rather than dealing with low-level network configurations.
When multiple instances of a service are running, Kubernetes can also automatically load balances the incoming network traffic across those instances. This ensures even distribution of requests, preventing any single instance from being overwhelmed with traffic and optimizing the utilization of resources. Load balancing in Kubernetes is accomplished through the use of a load balancer or a proxy that sits in front of the service, intelligently routing incoming requests to available instances.
From isolation and access controls to secrets management and network security, Kubernetes offers multiple layers of security measures to protect applications and sensitive data. One of the fundamental security aspects of Kubernetes is the isolation of containers through its underlying architecture. Kubernetes leverages Linux namespaces and container runtime features to ensure that each container runs in its isolated environment with separate filesystems, process trees, and network stacks. This isolation prevents containers from interfering with each other and provides a level of security between workloads.
Kubernetes also provides fine-grained access controls through its Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) system. RBAC allows administrators to define and enforce access policies, granting specific permissions to users, groups, or service accounts. This ensures that only authorized entities have the necessary privileges to interact with the Kubernetes API and perform actions on resources, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or tampering.
Ecosystem and Extensibility
One of Kubernetes’ stand-out benefits is its vast ecosystem and extensibility, which contribute to its widespread adoption and make it a highly versatile platform for container orchestration. The ecosystem and extensibility of Kubernetes offer organisations a wide range of tools, plugins, and integrations that enhance their capabilities and enable seamless integration with existing infrastructure and workflows.
The Kubernetes ecosystem comprises a rich collection of complementary projects and tools developed by the open-source community. These projects address various aspects of application development, deployment, monitoring, and management. Kubernetes also provides extensive support for integrations and extensions. Custom resources and custom controllers allow users to define and manage their own resources and controllers, extending Kubernetes' functionality to fit specific use cases. This extensibility empowers organisations to build custom solutions and automate processes within their Kubernetes clusters, ensuring that organisations have access to a diverse set of tools and solutions that extend and enhance Kubernetes' functionalities.
By optimising resource utilisation, enabling efficient scaling, and facilitating workload consolidation, Kubernetes helps organisations maximise their return on investment and minimize infrastructure costs. Kubernetes dynamically schedules containers based on available resources, ensuring efficient utilization of computing power, minimising resource wastage and reducing infrastructure costs. This resource optimization helps organisations make the most out of their hardware resources, ensuring they are not over-provisioning or under-utilizing their infrastructure.
Kubernetes also supports workload consolidation through its ability to run multiple containers on a single node. This consolidation allows organizations to maximize resource usage and reduce the number of nodes required to run applications. When paired with features like auto-scaling based on resource utilization, this ensures that resources are scaled up or down in response to workload demands, optimizing cost efficiency by dynamically aligning resources with application needs.
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