As web applications become more complex and tasked with doing more, the demand puts stress on IT teams and their infrastructure. If you pair that with the expectation that development timelines should be shorter to accommodate quicker deployment strategies, then software companies are in a bind. Tech companies have a trump card they can use to make development easier, even under the increasing pressure of time constraints.
With containers, developers can compartmentalize everything their application needs to function, such as the files, the runtime environment, and all dependencies to use across multiple environments. Using containers, developers can move the whole application to development, testing, production environments, and more. The best part is that the application remains functional no matter where it's moved.
Containers can also maintain security during development. To make these movements more fluid and controlled, companies use container platforms that manage and automate the process of deploying containerized web applications. Kubernetes is one such platform, and this article discusses the usefulness of the platform. Also known as K8s for short, Kubernetes boasts 15+ years of success in the area of Container Management at Google.
What is Kubernetes?
Virtual containers are becoming a standard structure in web development due to the increasing demand and evolution of the industry. Platforms like Kubernetes are devoted to managing these containers efficiently so the developers can focus on deploying applications successfully. With an open-source container management platform like Kubernetes, deployment and scaling processes can be automated and more manageable.
Who Created the Kubernetes Platform?
Many developers are privy to this information, but according to Google, everything runs on containers, which is how cloud technology works so well. Naturally, this means that Google engineers developed the Linux container technology as part of a larger project. Because of Google's experience creating Borg, the predecessor container technology platform, they gained more perspective and designed Kubernetes.
As part of an ongoing effort to maintain open-source technology for everyone, Kubernetes was given to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in 2018 by Google. The CNCF is responsible for creating neutral cloud computing technologies. Since then, Kubernetes has become the standard for deploying and operating containerized web applications.
What is the Purpose of Kubernetes?
As a cluster management system, Kubernetes provides automated container reliability and reduces the demand for operational resources. More importantly, the platform allows businesses to compete in an industry that's constantly changing by rapidly building apps and services. We hope this definition answered the question, what is Kubernetes used for?
How Does Kubernetes Work?
As web applications expand, they become harder to operate, especially when spanning across several servers. To make operating these applications simpler, Kubernetes controls clusters of virtual machines and schedules them to run when the requirements for resources are met. More than that, Kubernetes uses groups of containers together, which are scaled to the desired level.
Pods are the basic unit of Kubernetes, and containers can share resources efficiently for workloads. There's more to it than that, but why is Kubernetes so beneficial to developers in the first place?
The Benefits of Using Kubernetes
Once you know the response to, what is Kubernetes used for? one of the best things about Kubernetes is its ability to scale up or down based on your changing business needs. The platform monitors and automates applications with efficient container management; there are built-in commands to deploy and roll out your creations at will. Here are a few of the platform's benefits in the following sections.
Kubernetes has built-in commands that handle much of the hard work in app management. With this feature, users can automate the daily operations just how they need to run.
Build Easier Extension Apps
App extensions are becoming a preferred format for many consumers, and with Kubernetes' open-source design platform, imbuing applications with this capability is easy. Developers can also build security and monitoring features into the applications.
Building intelligence into your applications is challenging, but with Kubernetes, it's possible. Developers can utilize the software to optimize resources and identify which nodes are available for containers. The software also does load balancing to allocate traffic among all the containers in the cluster.
While it makes sense to know why Kubernetes is an excellent software for deploying extensive applications, how does it accomplish it? Kubernetes creates and deploys applications anywhere, and it does this by utilizing a strict set of components that act together.
Understanding the Components of Kubernetes
Kubernetes provides web developers with portability, scalability, and reliability when deploying containerized applications, but how does it manage your applications to make this process happen? Discussing some common Kubernetes terms will help to better understand the software and what Kubernetes is used for.
What are Kubernetes Clusters?
Kubernetes clusters are a powerful tool for managing and scaling container, node, and cluster deployments. They provide a straightforward programming model, which simplifies the process of handling application deployments. Companies perform the necessary actions in Kubernetes by using the control plane.
With any web software, a control panel that dictates instructions to the various operational controls. The control plane governs how the Nodes in Kubernetes operate by sending instructions to them, which brings you to the next component.
Nodes are like minicomputers that do the tasks assigned by reading instructions from the control plane and carrying out those instructions. They can run containers and organize tasks; nodes also help with networking and storage for containers.
Pods are fundamental to Kubernetes operations, but they are the smallest units in the platform. A Pod is a group of containers that connects application containers with other more complex concepts in the Kubernetes platform structure. They provide a private environment for runtime application and can be managed together as a single unit.
Pods can manage and scale applications within a cluster since all grouped containers can be deployed together. Pods also provide resource sharing between containers, such as memory and CPU usage. Pods are temporary and are created and destroyed depending on the state of your cluster.
Essentially, a service provides a specific function to a group of Pods, usually assigned a name and an IP address. The names and IP addresses are unique, and if they don't change, the group of pods maintain the same services. Services target Pods based on a set of rules or policies you set, but Pods don't track other Pods, even if they provide the functionality.
With services, you define the endpoints so clusters are correctly managed and perform actions that make deployment across the business seamless. All of these services go into the overall picture, you that you can answer the question, what is Kubernetes used for?
Kubelet is another crucial part of Kubernetes. As a service, it runs on every machine in the cluster and monitors the containers to confirm they are running properly. Kubelet also helps with getting and starting container images, making sure all the virtual machines connect to each other, and keeping the cluster healthy. Kubelet also helps manage resources for all the tasks running on the cluster.
The purpose of kubectl is to deploy and manage applications on Kubernetes clusters using command-line tools. Kubectl is necessary for changing the configuration settings and adjusting the number of applications being used, making it a versatile tool for cluster management.
Now that you've learned some standard Kubernetes terms, you're ready to start using the platform. Are you ready apply what you learned with regard to the question, what is Kubernetes used for?
How to Get Started with Kubernetes
By understanding Kubernetes, you can learn how to manage your deployments across your business while focusing on app development. The Kubernetes dashboard is a graphical interface used to view and manage the Nodes, Pods, services, and other resources that make up a Kubernetes cluster.
Getting started with Kubernetes isn't difficult if you stick to the basics and build upon the knowledge you gain while using the software. Kubernetes' control plane is designed to run on Linux machines, but in the cluster itself, you can run applications on other operating systems like Windows. To get started with Kubernetes, follow these steps:
- First, you'll need to install Kubernetes.
- Then download and install various tools (such as kubectl, kind, minikube, kubeadm) to interact with Kubernetes. The main tools to download would be kubectl to run commands, kind to run Kubernetes on your local computer, and Docker, which is commonly used to better control your containerized applications.
- Find a container runtime for your cluster. Runtimes are installed in each node in a cluster so that Pods can perform their responsibilities. Any installed runtimes must be compatible with the Container Runtime Interface (CRI).
A CRI is a plugin interface that lets Kubelet run on any node in the cluster. Developers can use this interface to work with different container runtimes. With these steps completed, you can start implementing some best practices for your cluster. Then, you can maximize what Kubernetes is used for.
Best Practices for Deploying Applications with Kubernetes
The idea is to develop clusters that are simple to manage and are inherently secure. To guarantee that your setup fulfills these obligations, you should follow some best practices.
Use a Secrets Vault
Using an integrated vault will facilitate strong security policies in your cluster. These digital vaults act like any physical counterpart and store passwords, access keys, and any other sensitive data used to access resources. By exposing these secrets on an as-needed basis, they are safer and easy to share. See the How to Store Secrets in Kubernetes article for more information.
Enable Resource Minimums
Users can enact resource minimums for any workloads in Kubernetes. The minimum setting considers a set percentage of CPU and memory resources contributed to each workload deployed. Having these minimums in place keeps your workloads on track and not starved for resources. This setup allows you to automate your cluster scaling efforts instead of manual allocations.
Keep Configurations Inside Deployments
In Kubernetes, any deployments are identified by the files, meaning the files have instructions for deploying the containers. Keeping your configuration data centralized is best because you get better application performance and lower risks of configuration errors leading to bad application behavior.
Challenges to Overcome When Running a Kubernetes Cluster
Most web applications have ways to monitor and manage risks while dealing with any potential challenges. While every containerized application is different, they generally face similar challenges.
Bad actors do their best to exploit weaknesses in any product, service, or web application. Kubernetes is a complex system, and potential vulnerabilities deserve attention. Developers can address these security vulnerabilities using Kubernetes Role-Based Access Control or the (RBAC). With RBAC, developers can make authentication a necessary hurdle for users accessing pertinent information.
Issues With Interoperability
Unfortunately, interoperability is an issue with Kubernetes, meaning that app communication doesn't always work as intended. Cluster deployment doesn't always work well, either. Developers can alleviate these issues by using cloud-native applications to increase portability. They can also use the same application programming interface (API).
Every business wants to expand their operations, but poor setup leads to improper scaling. Kubernetes operations create a lot of data output, and addressing issues can be overwhelming. For customer-facing services, this is a disaster. Using Kubernetes' autoscaling features is a solution, especially since it has a user-friendly interface.
Kubernetes simplifies managing and scaling container, node, and cluster deployments. Although challenges may arise when working across cloud providers, you can overcome them by developing solutions tailored to the problem areas.
With Kubernetes, organizations can quickly deploy and manage their products and services simply and efficiently — what Kubernetes is used for. We can help facilitate your Kubernetes technology solution. Liquid Web provides customized hosting solutions that are tailored to the needs of its customers.
Partnering with Liquid Web benefits businesses that want scalability and reliability while leveraging the expertise of Liquid Web's team in managing and deploying Kubernetes-based services. With Liquid Web's managed hosting solutions, companies can deliver on their core competencies while leaving the management of their products and services to the experts.
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