Kubernetes in the DevOps Space: Everything You Need to Know

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Kubernetes in the DevOps Space: Everything You Need to Know

See how Kubernetes and container orchestration can strengthen your DevOps implementation.

· DevOps Zone ·
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It can be rightly said that Kubernetes and DevOps are the power couple of the cloud! They run hand-in-hand for enterprises looking to develop complex applications. You may be thinking, both DevOps and Kubernetes have a different context — how this is possible?

In our previous blog, we described every bit about Kubernetes, but how are Kubernetes and DevOps related to each other? What output can software developers and enterprises get if all these terms are mapped together?

Terms like Kubernetes, DevOps, cloud, and containers may seem too high for non-technical leaders, but, in this article, we'll explain Kubernetes and DevOps in a very simple manner.

Read on to clear up the scenario of how Kubernetes can be a real strength for DevOps implementation.

What Is DevOps?

The software delivery cycle is getting shorter and shorter while application size is getting bigger and bigger. Software developers and enterprises were looking for a simpler solution. Hence, there came a process called DevOps, which is solely dedicated to supporting software building and delivery.

The main goal of DevOps is to unify application development and its operations throughout the software development lifecycle, from strategy, planning, coding, building, and testing through deploying, operating, and monitoring. DevOps tools automate tasks and manage configurations at different stages of configuration delivery.

The real challenge arises when the application becomes more complex and diverse. So, how does DevOps help to build and deliver larger and more complex applications to the user? To go in-depth, we need to add another Swiss-army tool to our container.

Before jumping into Kubernetes, let’s understand the gist of containers.

Quick Overview of Containers

Containers make it easier to host and manage the lifecycle of web applications in a portable environment. Containers package up the application code other dependencies into building blocks to deliver consistency, efficiency, and productivity. Docker is a tool to deploy containers in a cluster and treat it all as a single unit.

Containers and DevOps, although totally different concepts, are part of the same conversation.

The real challenge is deploying multi-container applications, as multiple applications can’t just live in one container. And what if there is a need to scale out services as per the business needs? What can we do to provide services across multiple machines without dealing with cumbersome network and storage settings? That’s how Kubernetes comes into play!

What Is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform, enabling multiple containers to work together in harmony, reducing operational burden. It manages application containers across multiple hosts.

Features like auto-scaling, rolling deployments, computer resources, and volume storage are some of the exceptional weapons of Kubernetes. Similar to containers, it is designed to run on bare metal, in the data center, public cloud, or even a hybrid cloud.

How Can Kubernetes Be a Strength for DevOps?

With the help of Kubernetes, developers can share their software and dependencies easily with IT operations. It minimizes the workload and solves conflicts between different environments. Container orchestration brings IT operations and developers closer together, making it hassle-free for the team to collaborate effectively and efficiently with each other.

Kubernetes provides tools for developers that respond to customer demands while relying on the cloud for the burden of running applications. This is done by eliminating manual tasks related to deploying and scaling containerized applications to enable software to run more reliably when moved from one environment to another.

For instance, it is feasible to schedule and deploy any number of containers onto a node (across public, private, or hybrid clouds) and Kubernetes manages those workloads, enabling you to do what you intended. With the help of Kubernetes, container tasks are simplified, including operations like horizontal auto-scaling, rolling updates, canary deployment, etc. Opting for a Kubernetes workflow can simplify the build/test/deploy pipelines in DevOps.

How Kubernetes Can Help Different IT Operational Teams

Kubernetes is all about portability, giving the flexibility to be a platform agonistic on any level, whether it’s a language, technology or the platform itself.

  • Developers: Build once, run everywhere.

  • QA/testing: Reliable and coordinated environments between test and production.

  • Sys-admin – Config once, run anything.

  • Operational team: A unified solution for building, shipping, and scaling software. Enables the team to focus on features, bugs, and shipping better software rather than setting up and maintaining the environment and tools.

Kubernetes helps to reduce config variables and time-consuming setup and maintenance tasks, a boon for developers, sys-admins, and other teams. It can be a game-changer for QA and testers because it reduces risk and increases efficiency. This container orchestration technology increases competence and eliminates risk by ensuring that the system configuration of the test environment is identical to the production environment.

Kubernetes is needed in today’s software development culture because the shift of the digital wave has made software architecture much more complex, written in various technologies and running on multiple environments followed by many iterations. It manages this consistency with its infinite loop of technologies and environments.

On a brighter note, Kubernetes is one of the best container orchestration technologies for achieving DevOps-enabled culture.

Kubernetes Improves Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery

CI and CD are the two acronyms often mentioned when people talk about modern development practices. They are like vectors, having the same direction but a different magnitude. Their goals are the same: making the software development and release process faster and more robust. Tools like Jenkins have redefined CI/CD by automating various steps in the development cycle in terms of speed, precision, repeatability, and quality. With the advent of Docker containers, it has left no stone unturned to provide continuous integration/continuous delivery in the world of software development.

The rise of Kubernetes within the container ecosystem has impacted the CI/CD process. Instead of shifting code between different virtual machines in different environments, the same code can be moved across container clusters with Kubernetes. The previous versions provided a static virtual machine, which is preferable for monolithic architecture and container orchestration requires a microservice model. This brings new opportunities in terms of elasticity, high availability, and resource utilization. However, the old approaches and tools don’t offer enhanced CI/CD, which calls for Kubernetes.

Benefits of Kubernetes to Enable DevOps Workflows

  • Hassle-free solution for making development, testing, and production environment consistent: When an application is written, tested, or deployed inside a container, the environment at different parts of delivery doesn’t change. This eases the collaboration between different teams — testers, admin, developers, etc — enabling the team to work in the same containerized environment.

  • Provides simple updates: Delivering software continuously calls for the application updates on a constant and streamlined basis. Kubernetes can help with it, as container orchestration can be easy to apply any updates to the application. When your app is redistributed into multiple Microservices, each one is deployed in a separate container and updates can be made in some part of the app without disturbing the rest of the app by restarting the container.

  • Support for multiple frameworks: When a DevOps approach is followed, containers can easily switch between different frameworks or deployment platforms. This is because container orchestration is agnostic towards platforms, languages, etc, so any type of app can be run inside a container. Moreover, it is also hassle-free to move containers between different types of host system. For instance, if you want to move from Red Hat to Ubuntu, it is easy with containers.

  •  Offers scalability: The container-based autonomous continuous integration ecosystem has the ability to scale up or scale down the application based on the load. This nature ensures instant feedback once a commit is made to the repository. Less time is taken to the onboard new applications, reducing the time to onboard new projects. Kubernetes can accommodate new loads and reusable pipeline as code modules that can be shared across projects.

  • Less time to onboard new applications: Kubernetes reduces the time to onboard new projects; it can accommodate new loads and the reusable pipeline as code modules that can be shared across projects.

  • Increase in developers' productivity: Developers do not have to wait in queues to receive feedback on builds. The pipeline-as-code provides important conveniences and productivity which enable them to define CI configurations alongside code in the same repository.

  • Solving Infrastructure problems: Managing manual infrastructure process causes headaches for coding teams because someone has to remain alert in case of any mishaps. Issues like power outages or unforeseen traffic spikes are likely to arise. In such circumstances, if your app is down, you may suffer a heavy loss. But, with Kubernetes, you can automate patches and updates to solve these problems.

  • Server usage efficiency: If your apps are not packed efficiently onto servers, you'll overpay for the heavy load, regardless of if you are running your application on premise or in the cloud. Kubernetes increases the efficiency of server usage and ensures that you are not under-doing or increasing the load.

Other Benefits

  • Deliver software quickly with better compliance

  • Drives continuous enhancement

  • Increase transparency and collaboration among the team delivering software

  • Effectively minimize security risk while controlling cost

Considering the Hurdles

Despite hundreds of benefits, there is always a "but" that changes the scenario… Kubernetes is relatively difficult to set up and managing Kubernetes calls for highly-skilled staff. To the untrained eye, Kubernetes looks simple and you can think of running it in hours or days, but in reality, additional functionality is needed, like security, high availability, disaster recovery, backups, and maintenance – everything you need to make it production-ready. Organizations looking to opt for Kubernetes need to think of highly-skilled staff to give an edge to their business. If this is not a feasible option, an organization can opt for a Kubernetes management platform, developed to simplify Kubernetes management even if your system is rigid.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Kubernetes Management Platform

  • Select a platform which is production-ready and fully automates configuration without any hassle.

  • Select a platform which supports a multi-cloud strategy and helps apps to run anywhere without hosting a new environment.

  • Select a platform which incorporates automated intelligent monitoring and alerts.

  • Select a platform which provides dynamism, flexibility, and unmatched transparency between modules.

  • Select a platform that can assure support and training.

Wrapping It Up

Kubernetes is the best way to keep development agile and ensure continuous delivery; hence, it is one of the blessed things amongst developers. For organizations using container orchestration technologies, product development is defined by microservice architecture. The organization must understand how DevOps and continuous development processes enable the creation of an application that end users truly find useful. Kubernetes has changed the way software is developed and shipped. Kubernetes is delivering what really matters, making CI/CD a reality for many organizations.

You may have gotten a clear picture of how Kubernetes can help DevOps in simplifying operations. Still, if we are missing anything or you have concerns, you can tell us in the comment section.

automation, ci/cd, devops, kubernetes, sdlc, software development

Published at DZone with permission of Ankit Kumar . See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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