Kubernetes is becoming the golden standard for companies looking for container orchestration. Developers can rely on Kubernetes to deliver and manage container software across clouds and environments. In a sense, Kubernetes is contributing to an IT revolution. This article covers an overview of Kubernetes, its benefits and why it constitutes a disruptive technology.
What Is Kubernetes?
It is an open-source platform used to automate containerized applications. Kubernetes manages, deploys and operates application containers. A container is a software package containing all the components an application needs to run, minus an OS. Containers make applications and microservices portable across computing environments.
When you only have a few containers to manage, manual orchestration is often sufficient. However, when it comes to managing large numbers of containers, a container orchestration tool comes handy. Some of the key features of Kubernetes include:
- Automates manual processes—for example, the platform chooses the best location for containers, which server will host them and how they will be launched.
- Self-monitoring—Kubernetes constantly monitors the health status of nodes and containers.
- Horizontal scaling—you can scale resources out, meaning you can add more containers to your resources.
- Multiple environments support—supports cloud, on-premises and hybrid environments.
- Load balancing—Kubernetes prevents network overload by distributing traffic across resources.
- Storage orchestration—Kubernetes can add storage, determining, for example, how much memory is allocated to each container.
Benefits of Kubernetes
Before we cover the benefits of Kubernetes, we should start explaining some benefits of containers.
Containerization reduces resource costs. Containers are self-contained packages that share host operating systems and networks. They allow you to save in hardware and data storage costs as containers are lightweight by design. Containers are portable, which means that you can run your application across environments without consistency issues. Developers can copy containers and send them to the relevant departments for testing, integration or deployment. This results in a faster time to market.
There are several open-source and commercial options for container management. Kubernetes is leading the market for the past several years. Some of the benefits Kubernetes has to offer include:
- Solid architecture—Kubernetes has a mature underlying architecture built by Google engineers.
- Large supporting community—the project has a large and active community, which means that new features are released frequently. Several leading tech companies also support the platform such as the major cloud providers.
- Flexibility—the platform supports a wide range of programming languages, databases, and workloads. It enables both stateless and stateful data, making it ideal for large databases.
- Open-source—this means that you can move workloads anywhere you want, including on-premises, hybrid or public clouds. This avoids vendor lock-in, as you can easily switch providers.
- High Availability—Kubernetes achieves high availability by constantly monitoring the health of nodes and containers. One of the key features of Kubernetes is that it automatically replaces failed containers or pods.
The Evolution of Kubernetes
Kubernetes was originally created by Google engineers in 2014. Since its release as an open-source project, the solution experienced a growing trend with no signs of waning, according to the latest Cloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) survey.
While Kubernetes adoption has seemly reached maturity it is far from universal. Since 2017, adoption of managed Kubernetes services have become popular among organizations. The breakthrough came in 2018 when Microsoft and Amazon launched their own managed kubernetes services, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS). With the top three cloud providers offering Kubernetes support, more companies are choosing container orchestration from the start of their cloud journey.
Kubernetes is a disrupting technology that made it possible for containers to revolutionize the software development industry. Nowadays, developers need to build applications that can be deployed in different environments and operating systems. Modern projects require scalability and flexibility. Kubernetes’ modular approach helps developers deliver projects faster while meeting availability and security demands.
How Kubernetes Is Contributing to the Open Source Revolution?
Containers are one of the biggest disruptors in open source technology. In what is called the “container revolution”, virtual machines might become obsolete. The open-source nature of Kubernetes is perhaps one of the reasons container technology is here to stay. That, and a community of over 2000 contributors that work together to innovate and improve the platform.
Containers’ portability makes Kubernetes the right fit to help to increase the efficiency of a DevOps pipeline. DevOps is a software development approach that uses the agile methodology to integrate development and operations. This approach has become the standard for software development in recent years. The resulting synergy of DevOps and Kubernetes is one of the causes of the exponential growth in cloud-native applications.
Recent research predicts the container market will reach the $2.7 billion mark by 2020. Vendors are competing to provide organizations with solutions for application container use beyond management and orchestration. One of the factors behind the container adoption is the growing number of hybrid cloud deployments. As more companies are migrating to the cloud, container technology is helping to address IT infrastructures consisting of multiple environments. Undoubtedly, we are just seeing the start of a shift towards more usage of Kubernetes in software development and deployment.