According to the Linux Foundation’s 2022 Open Source Jobs Report, cloud, and container technology skills are still in high demand, with 69% of employers seeking hires with these skills. But 93% have difficulty finding senior software engineers who know Kubernetes. That’s because it’s the standard technology for container orchestration, and everyone has containerization and microservices on their roadmap.
Containers have been around for decades but the emergence of Docker Engine in 2013 accelerated the adoption of this technology. Now, more and more enterprises want to use containers to automate deployment, scaling, and software development management. And that comes with needing to orchestrate those container ecosystems – which is where Kubernetes excels.
If you’re going to implement containers at scale in 2023, you need to know about Kubernetes. Here’s an overview of what it is, what enterprise use cases it’s good for, and the high-level benefits you can get from this tech. Most importantly, we’ll tell you how you can hire an expert Kubernetes team in 3-6 weeks to work on your roadmap.
Let’s start with a simple summary of Kubernetes.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It was originally developed by Google and is now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Kubernetes, often called K8s, has become the standard for container orchestration.
The strength of Kubernetes lies in its flexibility and extensibility. It supports a variety of underlying platforms (like different public clouds and on-premises infrastructure), and many container runtimes (Docker, containerd, CRI-O, etc.). Its API is well-documented and has a robust ecosystem of complementary tools and services.
Key components and features of Kubernetes
When people talk about containerized apps, you’ll hear about pods, volumes, containers, and other unique terms. While you don’t need to know all the technical details about Kubernetes, it helps to understand what it does.
Here’s a quick summary of key features in Kubernetes:
- Pods: In Kubernetes, a Pod represents a single instance of a running process in a cluster and can contain one or more containers. Containers within the same pod share the same network namespace, meaning they can communicate with each other via localhost, and they can also share storage volumes.
- Services: Services in Kubernetes are an abstract way to expose an application running on a set of pods. They are responsible for enabling network access to a set of pods, and Kubernetes automatically load-balances traffic to a service across the pods that the service represents.
- Volumes: Kubernetes provides support for many types of volumes. A Kubernetes volume lives as long as the pod that encloses it remains alive, and it can be used by the containers within that pod.
- Namespaces: These are a way to divide cluster resources among multiple users or teams. They provide a scope for names and can be used to manage access control, network policies, and resource quotas.
- Controllers: Kubernetes controllers handle the task of managing the desired state of different aspects of the Kubernetes system. Examples of controllers include the ReplicaSet controller, which manages the number of replicas of a pod, and the Node controller, which manages various aspects of nodes.
- Deployments: This is a higher-level concept that manages ReplicaSets and provides declarative updates to pods along with many other useful features.
- Ingress: This is an API object that manages external access to the services in a cluster, typically HTTP. Ingress can provide load balancing, SSL termination, and name-based virtual hosting.
- ConfigMaps and secrets: These are used to separate your application’s configuration from your container image, to keep your applications portable and your cluster secure.
- Auto-scaling: Kubernetes has built-in mechanisms for horizontally scaling pods based on CPU usage or other select metrics through the Horizontal Pod Autoscaler. It can also scale the nodes in the cluster through the Cluster Autoscaler.
- StatefulSets: This is a workload API object used to manage stateful applications. It provides guarantees about the ordering and uniqueness of pods.
All those features translate into scaling your applications with high availability across cloud platforms. Let’s look at the use cases for Kubernetes; you might recognize some of the big rocks on your technology roadmap.
Enterprise use cases for Kubernetes
Kubernetes is a crucial technology for any company that wants to modernize their application infrastructure and adopt containerization technologies. Whether you want to enable a microservices architecture or automate your continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, Kubernetes makes it possible.
Here are a handful of the most important enterprise use cases that CIOs, CTOs, and VPs of Engineering accomplish with Kubernetes.
- Microservices architecture: Kubernetes is ideal for deploying and managing microservices-based applications. It allows organizations to break down large monolithic applications into smaller, independently deployable, and scalable services. Kubernetes manages the lifecycle, scaling, and networking of microservices. This enables the efficient development and operation of distributed systems.
- Application scaling and high availability: Kubernetes provides built-in mechanisms for scaling applications based on demand. It can automatically scale the number of running instances of pods based on CPU utilization, custom metrics, or other parameters. This helps enterprises handle increased traffic and workload spikes efficiently while ensuring high availability and optimal resource utilization.
- Hybrid and multi-cloud deployments: Enterprises often adopt a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy to leverage different cloud providers or combine on-premises infrastructure with cloud resources. Kubernetes enables organizations to abstract away the underlying infrastructure and provides a consistent platform for deploying and managing applications across different environments. This flexibility allows workload portability and simplifies application deployment and management in diverse infrastructure setups.
- CI/CD and DevOps: Kubernetes integrates seamlessly with continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. It allows organizations to automate application deployment, testing, and rollbacks. Kubernetes can be combined with tools like Jenkins, GitLab, or Spinnaker to enable efficient software delivery processes. This reduces deployment risks and improves software development team productivity.
- Big Data and analytics: Kubernetes can be used for deploying and managing big data and analytics workloads. It provides the flexibility to scale processing and storage resources based on demand. That makes it well-suited for frameworks like Apache Spark, Apache Flink, and TensorFlow. Kubernetes also integrates with popular data processing platforms, like Hadoop and Elasticsearch, to simplify fully managed data deployment.
- Internet of Things (IoT) applications: Kubernetes excels at managing containerized applications in IoT scenarios. It helps deploy and manage containerized edge applications, process sensor data, and provide scalability and fault tolerance for IoT workloads. Kubernetes' flexibility and scalability make it suitable for managing distributed IoT systems at scale.
- Stateful applications: Kubernetes has evolved to support stateful applications that require persistent storage and data retention. StatefulSets and PersistentVolumes allow enterprises to deploy and manage stateful applications, such as databases (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL), message queues (e.g., Kafka), and key-value stores (e.g., Redis), in a reliable and scalable manner.
All the use cases for Kubernetes roll up into some high-level DevOps benefits.
DevOps benefits of Kubernetes
These benefits contribute to increased efficiency, scalability, and reliability in managing containerized applications, making Kubernetes a preferred choice for organizations adopting microservices architectures and container-based deployments.
- Scalability and high availability: Kubernetes enables your organization to easily scale applications horizontally by adding or removing instances (pods) based on demand. It provides automatic load balancing and distribution of traffic across pods, ensuring optimal resource utilization. Kubernetes also supports self-healing capabilities – automatically replacing failed or unhealthy pods to maintain high availability.
- Portability and flexibility: Kubernetes provides a platform-independent abstraction layer. This allows applications to be deployed consistently across different infrastructure environments. It supports hybrid and multi-cloud deployments to leverage different cloud providers or combine on-premises and cloud resources.
Kubernetes also offers flexibility in choosing the underlying infrastructure, including virtual machines, bare metal, or specialized platforms like AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) or Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).
- Resource efficiency and utilization: Kubernetes optimizes resource utilization by efficiently scheduling and managing containerized workloads. It automatically distributes pods across nodes based on available resources and constraints, ensuring efficient utilization of compute, memory, and storage resources. This improves cost-effectiveness and reduces wasted resources.
- Self-healing and fault tolerance: Kubernetes has built-in self-healing capabilities that monitor the health of pods and automatically restart or replace failed instances. It detects and handles node failures, reschedules pods to healthy nodes, and maintains the desired state of applications. This enhances the fault tolerance of your app ecosystem and minimizes downtime.
- Automated deployment and rollbacks: Kubernetes allows organizations to automate the deployment and update processes of their applications. It supports declarative configurations through YAML or JSON files – enabling easy and consistent deployment across different environments. Kubernetes supports rolling updates, which ensure zero-downtime deployments by gradually updating pods in a controlled manner.
In case of issues, Kubernetes also supports rollbacks to a previously known-good state, making application management more reliable.
- Service discovery and load balancing: Kubernetes provides built-in service discovery and load balancing mechanisms. Services abstract away the underlying pods and provide a stable network endpoint (IP address) for accessing applications. Kubernetes automatically load balances the traffic across multiple instances of a service – distributing requests efficiently and ensuring high availability.
- Ecosystem and community support: Kubernetes benefits from a vast ecosystem of tools, libraries, and integrations developed by both the community and technology vendors. This ecosystem offers support for monitoring and logging, security, storage, networking, and other areas. Kubernetes has an active and vibrant developer community that provides regular updates, bug fixes, and security patches.
How do I hire senior software engineers that know Kubernetes?
93% of your colleagues are asking that same question. While you could go through the long, expensive process of hiring internally and competing for talent, there’s another way. Codingscape can assemble an agile team with Kubernetes experts for you in 4-6 weeks.
We’re not a recruiting agency either. You scope out the work with us and we’ll integrate with your team, technology stack, and partner with you for as long as you need us.
Zappos, Twilio, and Veho are just a few companies that trust us to build software with a remote-first approach. We’ve also built solutions for Amazon and Apple. We know Kubernetes at scale and love to help companies take full advantage of cloud-native initiatives like containerization and microservices.
You can schedule a time to talk with us here. No hassle, no expectations, just answers.
Cole is Codingscape's Content Marketing Strategist & Copywriter.