Kubernetes: Features, Pitfalls, and Future Developments

Welcome back to Optis Tech Talks, where our employees talk about technologies that inspire them. In this sixth instalment, we are joined once more by Youri Declerck, one of our developers. After his explanation about running Docker containers on a Raspberry Pi, he is back to talk about another way of running those Docker containers: using Kubernetes. This article will give you an introduction to Kubernetes and explain why it's so influential for businesses today. We'll discuss some of its features, the pitfalls of Kubernetes adoption, and outline some future developments that we can expect from this exciting technology!

From Containers to Kubernetes

Kubernetes uses Docker and containerization, so let’s start with a recap in case you missed Youri’s previous Tech Talk. Docker is a software platform that lets businesses containerize their applications and run them in a clustered environment. Containers are similar to virtual machines, but much more lightweight and efficient. They allow businesses to package all the dependencies that an application needs into a single container.  

Containerization is becoming more and more popular because it offers several key benefits:

  • Portability: Containers can be run on any platform, whether it's a laptop, server, or cloud infrastructure. For example, you can develop an application on your laptop using Docker, and then deploy it to a server or the cloud without having to worry about compatibility issues.
  • Efficiency: Containers are more lightweight and efficient than virtual machines, so they use less resources and take up less space.
  • Scalability: Containers can be scaled up or down easily to meet the needs of your business.

Features

Docker and Kubernetes work together to provide a powerful platform for containerized applications. Kubernetes is responsible for managing the container clusters, while Docker is responsible for running the individual containers.  

Kubernetes features include:

  • Automatic bin packing: Kubernetes automatically assigns containers to suitable nodes to make the best use of available resources.
  • Self-healing: If a container fails, Kubernetes will automatically restart it.
  • Scaling: Kubernetes realises a container’s full scaling potential and makes it easy to scale your application by adding more nodes to your cluster.
  • Flexibility: Kubernetes is very flexible and can be used in a variety of environments, including public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds.
  • Ease of use: Kubernetes is easy to learn and use. It offers a simple yet powerful API that makes it easy to manage containerized applications.

Pitfalls

Kubernetes is a powerful tool, but it can be difficult to use if you're not familiar with it. There are many features and options to consider, and it can be easy to make mistakes if you're not careful. Here are some of the most common pitfalls that businesses run into when they adopt Kubernetes:

  • Not understanding the technology: Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that Kubernetes is just a simple container management platform. In reality, it's much more complex than that.
  • Not planning for change: Kubernetes is constantly evolving, and new features are added all the time. Additionally, certain Kubernetes certificates automatically expire after a certain period of time. This can be disruptive for businesses if they're not prepared for it.
  • Using software that is not ready to scale: If your software isn't designed to scale, it won't be able to take advantage of Kubernetes' scalability features. For example:  
  1. Stateful applications: Applications that maintain state need to be designed in a way that allows them to be scaled horizontally. Otherwise, they'll quickly become bogged down as they try to keep track of too much data. This can lead to performance issues and frustration for your users.
  2. Databases: Databases are often not designed for scale and can quickly become bottlenecked when scaled out. They require careful planning and testing before scaling out to avoid performance issues.
  3. Inefficiently scaled applications: If you have a web application that only handles a few hundred requests per minute, it's not going to be very effective when run on a Kubernetes cluster with 10,000 nodes.
  • Not considering the cost: Kubernetes can be expensive to run, especially at scale. Businesses need to consider the costs of running Kubernetes before they adopt it. This includes the cost of licensing, employee training, maintaining the infrastructure. Using managed services like Google’s GKE can give organisations all the benefits of Kubernetes without having to manage the infrastructure themselves, but also come at an additional cost.

Future developments

As containerization and Kubernetes become more popular, there are a few key developments to keep an eye on. Firstly, data privacy is becoming increasingly important in the wake of GDPR. Many companies are now looking to use Kubernetes to help them manage their data and comply with data privacy regulations.

Another key development is the move back from the cloud to on-premise infrastructure. Organisations are starting to realise that they can save money and have more control over their data by hosting it themselves. Kubernetes can play a key role in this trend by making it easier to manage and deploy applications on-premise.

Finally, there is a decreasing gap between operations and infrastructure. Many companies are realizing that they need someone who can bridge the gap between these two teams to get the most out of Kubernetes. Operations teams need to understand the basics of infrastructure, while infrastructure teams have to understand the basics of application development and deployment. Kubernetes can help to bridge this gap by making it easier for both teams to work together.

By keeping these developments in mind, we can ensure that Kubernetes continues to be a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes.  

Welcome back to Optis Tech Talks, where our employees talk about technologies that inspire them. In this sixth instalment, we are joined once more by Youri Declerck, one of our developers. After his explanation about running Docker containers on a Raspberry Pi, he is back to talk about another way of running those Docker containers: using Kubernetes. This article will give you an introduction to Kubernetes and explain why it's so influential for businesses today. We'll discuss some of its features, the pitfalls of Kubernetes adoption, and outline some future developments that we can expect from this exciting technology!

From Containers to Kubernetes

Kubernetes uses Docker and containerization, so let’s start with a recap in case you missed Youri’s previous Tech Talk. Docker is a software platform that lets businesses containerize their applications and run them in a clustered environment. Containers are similar to virtual machines, but much more lightweight and efficient. They allow businesses to package all the dependencies that an application needs into a single container.  

Containerization is becoming more and more popular because it offers several key benefits:

  • Portability: Containers can be run on any platform, whether it's a laptop, server, or cloud infrastructure. For example, you can develop an application on your laptop using Docker, and then deploy it to a server or the cloud without having to worry about compatibility issues.
  • Efficiency: Containers are more lightweight and efficient than virtual machines, so they use less resources and take up less space.
  • Scalability: Containers can be scaled up or down easily to meet the needs of your business.

Features

Docker and Kubernetes work together to provide a powerful platform for containerized applications. Kubernetes is responsible for managing the container clusters, while Docker is responsible for running the individual containers.  

Kubernetes features include:

  • Automatic bin packing: Kubernetes automatically assigns containers to suitable nodes to make the best use of available resources.
  • Self-healing: If a container fails, Kubernetes will automatically restart it.
  • Scaling: Kubernetes realises a container’s full scaling potential and makes it easy to scale your application by adding more nodes to your cluster.
  • Flexibility: Kubernetes is very flexible and can be used in a variety of environments, including public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds.
  • Ease of use: Kubernetes is easy to learn and use. It offers a simple yet powerful API that makes it easy to manage containerized applications.

Pitfalls

Kubernetes is a powerful tool, but it can be difficult to use if you're not familiar with it. There are many features and options to consider, and it can be easy to make mistakes if you're not careful. Here are some of the most common pitfalls that businesses run into when they adopt Kubernetes:

  • Not understanding the technology: Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that Kubernetes is just a simple container management platform. In reality, it's much more complex than that.
  • Not planning for change: Kubernetes is constantly evolving, and new features are added all the time. Additionally, certain Kubernetes certificates automatically expire after a certain period of time. This can be disruptive for businesses if they're not prepared for it.
  • Using software that is not ready to scale: If your software isn't designed to scale, it won't be able to take advantage of Kubernetes' scalability features. For example:  
  1. Stateful applications: Applications that maintain state need to be designed in a way that allows them to be scaled horizontally. Otherwise, they'll quickly become bogged down as they try to keep track of too much data. This can lead to performance issues and frustration for your users.
  2. Databases: Databases are often not designed for scale and can quickly become bottlenecked when scaled out. They require careful planning and testing before scaling out to avoid performance issues.
  3. Inefficiently scaled applications: If you have a web application that only handles a few hundred requests per minute, it's not going to be very effective when run on a Kubernetes cluster with 10,000 nodes.
  • Not considering the cost: Kubernetes can be expensive to run, especially at scale. Businesses need to consider the costs of running Kubernetes before they adopt it. This includes the cost of licensing, employee training, maintaining the infrastructure. Using managed services like Google’s GKE can give organisations all the benefits of Kubernetes without having to manage the infrastructure themselves, but also come at an additional cost.

Future developments

As containerization and Kubernetes become more popular, there are a few key developments to keep an eye on. Firstly, data privacy is becoming increasingly important in the wake of GDPR. Many companies are now looking to use Kubernetes to help them manage their data and comply with data privacy regulations.

Another key development is the move back from the cloud to on-premise infrastructure. Organisations are starting to realise that they can save money and have more control over their data by hosting it themselves. Kubernetes can play a key role in this trend by making it easier to manage and deploy applications on-premise.

Finally, there is a decreasing gap between operations and infrastructure. Many companies are realizing that they need someone who can bridge the gap between these two teams to get the most out of Kubernetes. Operations teams need to understand the basics of infrastructure, while infrastructure teams have to understand the basics of application development and deployment. Kubernetes can help to bridge this gap by making it easier for both teams to work together.

By keeping these developments in mind, we can ensure that Kubernetes continues to be a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes.  

Did Youri pique your interest in Kubernetes and containers? Are you still looking for an expert to answer your Kubernetes questions or run your next project? Contact us, and we’ll help you out!

Youri

July 18, 2022

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