What is Kubernetes?

DevOps is one of those revolutionary philosophies in the world that have exponentially increased the pace of organisational growth. No matter the size of your company, DevOps will help you bridge the gap between the Development team and Operations team, making the entire process faster and smoother.

Now, to perform all this automation and handle different parts of the pipeline, DevOps has many tools. One such tool is Kubernetes which enables the automation of the entire deployment and operation process of containerized applications.

So, in this article, you will learn the basics of Kubernetes. 

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes can be defined as a platform that is used to “orchestrate containerized cloud-native microservices apps.” To simplify this definition and understand it better let’s have a look at each term one after the other. 

Here, the term “orchestrate” means “managing the application,” it may include processes like deployment of applications, scaling the applications, rolling updates etc. Then, the second term is “containerised.” You must understand this containerised thing doesn't refer to Docker. Here the term refers to the applications that can run in a container. 

Moving forth, the third term in the definition is “cloud-native.” As the name suggests, it would be something related to the cloud, so it refers to the applications that can meet cloud demands like self-healing, auto-scaling, rollbacks, and rolling updates. The last term “microservices” signals an application that is built as a result of a lot of independent small parts coming together to work as a single unit. 

So, with these things happening together requires a tool to manage or monitor and this is when Kubernetes comes in. Hence, Kubernetes is a management tool for all the containerized applications making your cloud movement from one cloud to another smooth and easy. 

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Why use Kubernetes?

Today in complex times, an application can have a lot of containers that complex the entire scenario. Having a lot of containers means a lot of servers and to manage complexity of that level, we need a remarkable tool like Kubernetes. 

Kubernetes helps to control the running of containers and automatically looks after managing service discovery, load balancing, resource allocation, and compute utilisation. Not just this, it also plays a vital role in self-healing a container whenever needed. 

Hence Kubernetes is used in several sectors like ed-tech, IT, and banking. As the organisations move towards a hybrid cloud setup, the challenges to develop applications also increase and this is when the DevOps tool provides top-notch consistency to the cloud users.

Features of Kubernetes

Though there are other tools also that are equally popular as Kubernetes like Docker, there are several features that make it stand a step ahead:

  • Using Kubernetes you can develop and build a cloud-native application.
  • A cloud-native application can run from any place without worrying about the cloud requirements.
  • The entire process of application building, testing, and releasing becomes fast and smooth.
  • In terms of storage, Kubernetes gives you a lot of choices. You can either go for a public cloud provider like GCP or AWS, or you can go for local storage, or you can even go for a network storage system like iSCSI, NFS etc.
  • You know that each container has an IP address, so this address is automatically assigned by Kubernetes and also a DNS name is assigned for a group of containers.
  • Both the applications and infrastructure can now be scaled up in real-time.
  • The best feature is self-healing, that is Kubernetes can restart containers automatically when the execution fails.
  • The changes are automatically rolled out and updated in the application.
  • And, in case something wrong happens, the changes are again rolled back.

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How does Kubernetes work?

Before we actually go on to learn the working of Kubernetes, let's first understand what exactly is meant by a “container.” A container is a virtual machine that is compact and lightweight and has everything that’s needed to run any application. It contains several libraries and values to configure relevant settings. 

Now, you already know Kubernetes is a container orchestration system, so that means it manages a containerized application’s lifecycle and automates its deployment. Several containers that run the same application are grouped to be called a Pod. And, to operate such a pod correctly a dedicated container orchestrator is appointed. 

Talking about a pod, it must be noted that there can be multiple containers in one pod and each container has the same IP address, memory, and storage. Grouping of containers like this enables Kubernetes to minimise the chances of cramming multiple functionalities in one container. 

To understand the work even better let’s have a look at the Kubernetes Architecture.

Architecture of Kubernetes

To understand the Kubernetes Architecture let’s first understand “The Kubernetes Master.” The Kubernetes Master has three parts in it - Scheduler, Controllers, and etcd. This master enables the entire communication of administrators with the cluster to schedule and control container deployment. 

Here, etcd is the part in which the master stores the configuration data for the cluster. Every node in the Kubernetes Architecture has access to the etcd and that is what makes it possible for the nodes to maintain container configurations. 

The API Server in the middle makes it possible for the Kubernetes Master to communicate with the cluster. And, the Kubernetes-Controller-Manager looks after the control loops for managing the cluster state through Kubernetes API Server. 

Then comes the scheduler which helps in the tracking and managing of node workloads in a cluster. Here, the node capacity and resources are tracked and assigned with work. Lastly, Cloud-Controller-Manager is a layer between the tools of the cloud provider and the APIs. 

Now, talking about Nodes, these nodes in any Kubernetes cluster have a container runtime, which starts and manages the containers. These containers are deployed by Kubernetes to the nodes in a cluster and the applications run inside the latter. 

Secondly, kubelet is an agent process run by Kubernetes to manage the note state, which could be start or stop, and also to maintain application containers. These kublets are there to monitor the performance of the pods and containers. And, then this information is shared with the control plane to make scheduling decisions.

Next, is the Kube-proxy which as the name suggests is a network proxy running on the nodes in that cluster. Furthermore, comes the scheduling unit, pod, that has one or more containers. Every pCod with a unique IP address enables applications to use ports.

The last thing that you should know about Kubernetes Architecture is the “Replication Controller” which is used to make sure that the number of pods requested is always running.  

This is all about the architecture of Kubernetes that you must know to understand the working of Kubernetes. 

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By now, you would be well versed with everything you need to begin with Kubernetes. In the beginning, you learned what Kubernetes is and continued with Why you should use Kubernetes. To have a firmer grip on the why section, you saw the features that Kubernetes has and took the tool a step ahead. 

Furthermore, you learned about how Kubernetes work, and to have a better understanding of the same, and you studied the architecture of Kubernetes. In the architecture, you saw different parts of Kubernetes, its relevance, and how it affects the overall process.

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As a senior Technical Content Writer for HKR Trainings, Gayathri has a good comprehension of the present technical innovations, which incorporates perspectives like Business Intelligence and Analytics. She conveys advanced technical ideas precisely and vividly, as conceivable to the target group, guaranteeing that the content is available to clients. She writes qualitative content in the field of Data Warehousing & ETL, Big Data Analytics, and ERP Tools. Connect me on LinkedIn.