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Gilad David Maayan
Gilad David Maayan

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How Kubernetes Improves DevOps

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DevOps has transformed the software development lifecycle, making it more agile and reliable. Organizations rely on the DevOps process to deliver continuous integration and deployment to keep up with ever-increasing market demands.

That being said, most of the practices associated with require effective use of cluster computing. Cluster computing allows companies, especially in the financial, or public sector to process data at a large scale. It also helps to keep reliability by improving redundancy, meaning that in case of downtime in one part of the cluster, another part of the cluster can pick up the load.

However, there are often issues when the cluster supporting environments are not identical. Containers solve this problem by containing an entire runtime environment, thus allowing the software to run across devices and environments.

The question is how to control all these containers at cluster scale? Here comes Kubernetes, a production-ready open-source container orchestrator. Kubernetes provides a cost-effective solution for better redundancy, self-healing, and fast container management. Read on to find out more about how Kubernetes can optimize your DevOps process.

What Is Kubernetes?

An open source container ochestration platform, Kubernetes automates the management, deployment and scaling of application containers across clusters.

The main features of Kubernetes include:

  • Auto-scaling
  • Rolling deployment
  • Self-monitoring
  • Load balancing
  • Rollback
  • Resource monitoring and logging
  • Self-healing

It is designed to run on bare metal servers, in the data center, public cloud or a hybrid cloud.

Kubernetes Architecture
Kubernetes containers run in Pods, the basic scheduling unit for Kubernetes. Pods consist of one or more containers on a host machine. Each pod has a unique IP address. The system orchestrates the containers by conducting a search for a machine that has enough capacity for a given Pod, then launching the containers.

Kubernetes controllers manage clusters of pods, for example, using a Replication Controller to ensure that the right number of pods run according to the Kubernetes user’s specifications. A Kubernetes cluster consists of a master node and a set of slave nodes.

Usually, a Kubernetes master consists of the following components:

  • API Server—every operation related to API Objects, like creating pods, uses this server. This server stores the desired state in etcd.
  • Scheduler—it allocates created pods to available nodes according to the resource requirement.
  • Controller Manager—performs operations on the resources according to the cluster state. It performs the necessary changes to bring the current state application to the desired state.

You can learn more about Kubernetes architecture for enterprises in this guide.

Kubernetes flexibility makes it very popular amongst developers since can deploy containers to all type of environments, being cloud, hybrid or on-premises. However, there are more benefits of using Kubernetes such as its collaborative community.

The Kubernetes community of contributors is very active, releasing new features constantly. It boasts thousands of such contributors on GitHub. It has the support from the Linux Foundation and giants such as AWS, Google and Microsoft. In addition, Kubernetes simplifies the DevOps process, eliminating the need for scripting workflows such as deployments and scaling.

How Kubernetes Improves DevOps

The natural flexibility and self-healing of Kubernetes container cluster management tool provide DevOps numerous advantages over other technologies. Here are some of the ways that Kubernetes can help optimize your DevOps process.

Improved continuous integration and delivery
Developers don’t need to adapt the code to different virtual machines and environments since the same code can travel across Kubernetes container clusters.

Consistent testing and development environment
Writing and testing applications inside the containers help keep the environment consistent. Therefore, testers and developers can work in the same containerized environment.

Simplify updates
The DevOps process calls to update applications constantly. Kubernetes helps by distributing apps into microservices and kept in a separate container. Thus you can make updates to part of the app without having to touch the rest.

Multiple frameworks support
The containers can switch frameworks or deployment platforms. Kubernetes is a platform, vendor and language agnostic, means supports any type of app inside the container. Moreover, you can move containers across platforms, for example from Red Hat to Ubuntu.

The container continuous integration ecosystem can scale up or down according to the workload automatically.

Less time to market
You can share code modules across projects, improving the reusable pipeline. Kubernetes can accommodate and redistribute the new loads.

No downtime during deployments
When you use a DevOps model, chances are that you will have several deployments a day. That being said, you cannot stop production to deploy. Instead, you should have rolling updates that don’t disrupt the production traffic. Kubernetes help you set a new environment and switch to it without the need for downtime.

Increased productivity
Kubernetes features a pipeline as code which improves productivity by defining continuous integration configurations close to code in the same repository.

Improved collaboration
One of the most important advantages of using Kubernetes for DevOps is that it allows cross-functional collaboration. Since everyone has the same set of environments, yet they have their roles delimited by the level of access granted, they can collaborate without needing to adapt environments or code to share a project. For example, the infosec team may have access to view, while QAs may only have access to live containers but not to build.

Increases server efficiency
Kubernetes helps prevent issues such as over or under-provisioning by efficiently packing the apps onto servers.

That’s not all. Kubernetes is about portability—its ability to work with different platforms and vendors, as well as its language agnostic nature, can help the various teams involved in DevOps to:

  • Reduce time-consuming tasks—such as setup and maintenance.
  • Build-once run everywhere—for developers.
  • Configure once, run anything—for system administrators.
  • Coordinate environments—between test and production, facilitating QA tasks.
  • Single operational solution—allows the operational team to focus on features and debugging by unifying the building, shipping, and scaling tasks.

The Bottom Line

If used appropriately, Kubernetes can be the best way to achieve CI/CD for DevOps teams. While it can be complex to implement, having a third party Kubernetes enterprise management platform can solve many of the hurdles. You should choose a platform that provides:

  • Automated configuration
  • Supported multi-cloud strategy
  • Integrated automated intelligent monitoring
  • Support and training
  • Easy to use interface

At the end of the day, the benefits of using Kubernetes for DevOps outweigh by large the inconveniences. That’s why for organizations using container orchestration technologies, the flexibility, environment agnostic and self-healing features of Kubernetes can optimize the DevOps process, ultimately achieving the coveted continuous integration and development.

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