10 Best Solutions for Kubernetes

Sunday, May 31, 2020
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Image Source: freepik.com

Our world is increasingly dominated by cloud infrastructures. Whether they’re private or public, hybrid or distributed (or anything in between), these deployment models have become an answer to an industry weighed down by development and usage costs.

In this context, Kubernetes (stylized as k8s) greatly simplifies DevOps workflows and the deployment of applications that have to work and communicate over IoT. So that you don’t have to spend days trying to create and launch new services, Kubernetes provides the structure in minutes.

The fact that Kubernetes is open-source means that industry-leaders and individual developers continue to improve the ecosystem with applications that make container orchestration easier. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best solutions you can use with Kubernetes.

Image Source: Kubernetes.io

Kubernetes Management Tools

1. Kubernetes Dashboard

The Kubernetes Dashboard or Web UI is a web-based user interface add-on that makes working with Kubernetes a whole lot easier. It’s not deployed by default, but you can do it with just one line using Kubectl, the default command line interface for Kubernetes.

Dashboard provides an easy way to manage cluster resources, troubleshoot all containerized services and/or apps, as well as deploy new ones. For example, the UI gives you memory and CPU usage metrics as neat graphs. You can easily track resource allotment across all nodes, so if a service is not working properly, you’ll know about it as soon as possible.

2. Kubelets

Kubernetes Nodes are the machines that deploy your micro-services. Each Node (also referred to as Worker or Minion) has a container runtime, a Kube-proxy which routes traffic, and a Kubelet. Kubelets are in charge of the running state of your Minions. Essentially, they are responsible for maintaining, running, or stopping application containers according to instructions from the control plane.

The Kubelet relays the status of the node every couple of seconds to the primary instance. If a failure is detected, application containers (organized into pods) are be launched on other, healthy nodes.

3. Rancher

If you regularly have to set up Kubernetes clusters and customize them for specific environments, Rancher is a great way to simplify high-level Kubernetes management. Organizations who tend to deploy production-grade clusters on the edge will benefit from it the most, since the software provides streamlined multi-cluster app management.

The best part about Rancher is that deployed clusters are automatically connected to the primary with access control, centralized authentication, and observability processes.

Image Source: rancher.com

Kubernetes Deployment Tools

4. Kubespray

This is an invaluable tool for setting up Kubernetes clusters. Kubespray is based on the Ansible playbook. In the back end, it helps you establish high-availability, single- or multi-master production-ready clusters. In turn, these handle any services or applications that are critical to your business.

With Kubespray, you can avoid single point of failure scenarios where issues with one or more master nodes lead to service downtime.

5. Helm

Helm is a relatively new addition to Kubernetes, but an invaluable one at that. Helm is a package manager that simplifies the process of configuring and deploying services with Kubernetes. It’s quite similar to pip in Python or apt for Debian, and it uses a chart YAML template file.

What can Helm do for you? It can help you install and upgrade software without difficulty, since it automatically adds dependencies. Helm can also retrieve packages from repositories and configure deployments on your behalf.

Image Source: jdcloud.com

6. Apollo

Although Apollo comes with an in-built UI for managing Kubernetes, its primary function is to offer lightweight continuous deployment over all your clusters. Using it, you can integrate new applications with existing services.

The best part about it is that Apollo can offer users fine-grained permissions, which means you don’t have to worry about unsafe or vulnerable deployments. Whenever you want more information, the tool lets you view logs.

Do you need to revert deployed software? No problem. You can get back to any previous state with just one click.

Kubernetes Monitoring Tools

7. cAdvisor

cAdvisor or Container Advisor is a running background process that collects, organizes, processes, and then exports detailed information about running containers. It’s designed to run with Docker, while also boasting Kubelet compatibility. Just like Kubernetes, cAdvisor is open-source and maintained by Google.

Its only weakness is the fact that it cannot store the information long-term, so you have to figure out a workaround for that.

8. Prometheus

Like cAdvisor, Prometheus is an open-source alerting and monitoring toolkit. Although it predates both Docker and k8s, the Prometheus server is compatible with the latter and has rapidly become the best tool to use for this purpose.

The software offers a multi-dimensional data model based on key-value pairs, service discovery, metric collection, alerting, graphic visualization, and more.

The reason why you want to use Prometheus is because it makes life easier for your DevOps, who now have to pay attention to application metrics in addition to services, networks, and hosts.

Image Source: sysdig.com

Kubernetes Security Tools

9. Falco

This is actually the main threat detection engine in Kubernetes. Unlike the signature-based approach of traditional anti-malware software, Falco employs a higher-level monitoring based on application behaviour. You can feed it events straight from the Kubernetes API and get security feedback on orchestration activity.

Falco also makes it possible to create your own detection rules in addition to its out-of-the box set for detecting malicious activity. The risk reduction potential is enhanced by the fact that you can use it on any type of container, host, or activity.

10. Twistlock

Twistlock is a container security solution designed to be used for the entire life cycle of your application, as well as for the stack it belongs to. It has an automatic firewall and a persistent scanner for your Kubernetes clusters that can easily identify risks in containers, images, or hosts.

This tool is particularly useful for continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) projects that require legal compliance. If you’re looking for GDPR, PCI, HIPAA or NIST SP 800-190 conformity, Twistlock can help you achieve it effortlessly.

The Future Is Containerized

We’re just scratching the surface here. Kubernetes implementations are becoming the norm for large-scale cloud because they eliminate infrastructure thresholds, offer easy management through a straightforward modular approach, and set the foundation for cloud-native apps. That said, this doesn’t mean that Kubernetes is the best solution in every context.

When you do use k8s, these 10 Kubernetes solutions can help you along to way. If you’re new to it, I assure you that the ecosystem is much larger than you expect, but the helpful community goes a long way when you need to settle in.