For any DevOps engineer, learning innovative technology is the biggest motivation as well as a challenge. When it comes to the latest obsessions in cloud, Kubernetes also known as k8s definitely is on the top! Experts project that Kubernetes will continue to become a necessary tool in any DevOps professional’s tech stack. This is due to the massive advantages that a Kubernetes architecture brings for tech companies.
In this article you will find out why becoming an expert in Kubernetes is advantageous, and how you can start your own journey of learning Kubernetes with valuable industry insights from Dhruv Bundheliya, a DevOps associate at IAMOPS.
Why should DevOps learn Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is a container orchestration tool; it is a system for operating containerized applications on a large scale including allocating resources in advance.
What is a container orchestration system?
A container orchestration system is a tool or a platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Containerization is a lightweight form of virtualization that enables the packaging and running of an application in a portable and isolated environment. Some popular container orchestration systems include Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, Apache Mesos, and Amazon ECS.
What are the advantages of using Kubernetes?
Since there are many advantages of using Kubernetes as a container orchestration system, the demand for a DevOps Engineer with hands-on experience in using Kubernetes is rising. From large-scale companies to start-ups, everyone is choosing Kubernetes to deploy, manage, and scale their containerized applications. It provides the following benefits:
Resource optimization: Kubernetes successfully packs containers into nodes and nodes into clusters, simplifying their management with fewer API services. Reduced API services help to save expenses and provide better protection against system failure.
Portability: Kubernetes provides a consistent API that allows developers to simply deploy their programs on-premises, in the cloud (AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud), or in a hybrid deployment across several clouds, whether public or private. Companies also have the option to move their application from one platform to another without having to change the way it’s deployed or managed.
Improved App stability and uptime: Kubernetes monitors and automatically balances workloads in apps. As a result, when workload increases, Kubernetes expands its clusters to meet the increased demand. This guarantees that the app’s operation is steady, and that the system is operational. Furthermore, if one of the app clusters fails, Kubernetes will transfer the workload to other clusters, ensuring that the app remains available to its consumers. Another outstanding aspect of this platform is its ability to run system diagnostics and replace containers that fail. This minimizes the likelihood of app outage.
How is Kubernetes the obvious choice for Start-ups?
Kubernetes has emerged as the dominant container orchestration platform, largely due to its ability to solve many of the shortcomings of other container orchestration platforms. Here are some of the key shortcomings in other container orchestration platforms like Docker Swarm, Open shift and Apache Mesos that Kubernetes solves:
Architecture: Kubernetes is built around a distributed architecture with a master node and multiple worker nodes. This architecture allows for greater scalability and availability, as well as more advanced features like self-healing and rolling updates. Docker Swarm, on the other hand, has a simpler architecture with a manager node and worker nodes.
Networking: Kubernetes has a more advanced networking model, with a built-in service discovery and load-balancing system. This allows for greater flexibility in how containers are networked together and accessed by external clients. Apache Mesos and Docker Swarm have a more basic networking model, with limited support for service discovery and load balancing.
Resource Management: Kubernetes has more advanced resource management features, with support for CPU and memory limits, as well as more advanced scheduling policies. This allows for better control over how resources are allocated and used across multiple containers and applications. Docker Swarm has more limited resource management capabilities, with only basic support for resource allocation and scheduling.
Extensibility: Kubernetes has a larger and more active ecosystem of third-party tools and plugins, allowing for greater extensibility and customization. This includes support for a wide range of storage and networking plugins, as well as custom controllers and schedulers. OpenShift and Docker Swarm have a smaller ecosystem of third-party tools and plugins, with more limited options for customization and extensibility.
Kubernetes has emerged as the leading container orchestration platform due to its ability to address many of the shortcomings of other container orchestration platforms. Since many providers have started creating their own interfaces to use Kubernetes, it is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for large-scale application deployment.
How do you start learning Kubernetes?
Learning on-the-job is an advantage, Dhruv says. According to him it provides the right opportunity to learn while implementing, which helps you remember concepts better. All that matters is to keep practicing.
- Start with the basics: It’s essential to do self-learning and understand everything that makes up the foundation of Kubernetes like creating a pod, deploying and exposing the deployment and running a Ngnix server and using kubernetes ingress. If you start with AWS, you will feel it’s challenging because the terminology is so different, but the concepts are similar once you dive deep. You can also take real-time workshops from industry leaders, working with an expert will be so beneficial, because you can ask doubts.
- Take up projects: “One of our clients who has their infrastructure on AWS wanted to configure a service called Rabbit MQ, you can deploy it on Kubernetes, or ECS. So, I took the chance and asked them if we could deploy it on EKS.” Says Dhruv about working hands-on. For those who have no opportunity to work with clients, you should grab the chance to suggest improvements to any of your client’s services. If you aren’t learning on-the-job, then there are plenty of projects available online that you can try. Dhruv also notes, “When we were starting, we did basic things like deploying “Hello world” so beginners should take it step by step.
- Research about resources: Once you start working on projects you will get to explore the vast number of community resources that come with Kubernetes. “I did not know that there were open-source tools and helm charts. I was creating my own files for everything, but I did not know that Linux and Bitnami were providing trusted open-source files to create a Kubernetes infrastructure.” The research on projects will help you expand your knowledge about the K8s community and how to customize resources for your needs.
What are the challenges, and is it worth it?
Practical application of some things does not go smoothly. “Managing Ngnix ingress controller is more complicated than it seems, but it’s nothing practice can’t solve. It took time learning how to use the controller.” Remarks Dhruv when asked about his challenges.
Some topics that need attention are load balancers, managing requests, and containers. Using Google Kubernetes Engine is also a very different user experience than using Amazon EKS, so you should work with the one you’re familiar with.
Since Kubernetes has a huge demand, it is worth taking the time out to learn how to use it in deployment of simple applications, microservices applications, ML and more. DevOps engineers should research on the use cases of Kubernetes and work on projects that help them understand Kubernetes better.
Dhruv ends the discussion with an appreciation “I’m very thankful to IAMOPS, they started the workshops so we could learn better. Roy, our CTO was also always very supportive and recommended resources to everyone. IAMOPS is never limiting us to using specific tools, we take out time to learn more every day. Kubernetes is only the start.”