What is kubernetes? How can I use it and how is it implemented in Google Cloud?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
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With the rapid development of cloud technology, there has continually been new breakthroughs that have helped to drive the industry into new heights and solve issues that have been roadblocks to growth. This article will discuss kubernetes, how it can be used and integrated with Google Cloud.

What is Kubernetes?

Modern software development was revolutionised by container based microservice architectures. A container is essentially a package of application code, as well as dependencies and libraries, within one software unit. They are stored within the container in a few variations in order for the code to be executed in multiple locations, from the cloud, laptop, or desktop. What is so powerful about container based microservice architectures is that companies can scale and deploy applications with greater ease.

However, this presents its own unique set of issues. Software companies of all sizes deploy hundreds and thousands of containers every day. The problem this presents is how to manage all of these areas on such a large scale. This is where Kubernetes comes to help.

Kubernetes comes out of the development arm of Google as an open-source platform to manage containers. It automates a lot of processes that previously development teams would have had to manage manually. These include deployment, scaling, and container management.

How does Kubernetes Work?

The central concept to the Kubernetes architecture is the cluster. A cluster is a grouping of either physical or virtual machines, each one of these has a unique role within the cluster, either as a master or a node. Within each node are groups of containers, where applications are stored, and the master within the cluster manages the nodes and communicates when to create containers or break them down. Alongside this, a master will change traffic flow depending on the new container arrangements. Administrators using Kubernetes will use the master as the access point to the cluster.

How can Kubernetes help your team?

When in a production environment, managing containers at scale can become complex. Minimising downtime is vital, if one container goes down, another needs to start and Kubernetes is a system that can automate this. It provides a framework for system resilience. Some of the processes it can help you with include:

Automated rollouts and rollbacks

Outline exactly how you’d like containers to be deployed and in what state. You can also set the control rate with which containers move from an actual to desired state.

Secret and configuration management

Store and monitor important data such as SSH keys, OAuth tokens and passwords. These can be deployed and managed without unveiling information within stack configurations.

Storage orchestration

Tailor storage systems automatically to preferences, whether cloud or local.

Service discovery and load balancing

Kubernetes will monitor traffic levels within containers and balance the load when needed, redistributing network traffic.

Self healing

If a container is damaged and fails, or doesn’t respond, Kubernetes will either restart or destroy them and then replace the container with one that functions.

Automatic bin packing

If you predefine criteria around CPU and RAM for each container, Kubernetes can manage the containers that fit into the nodes for the optimal use of resources.

How is Kubernetes Integrated with Google Cloud?

For some companies, it makes sense to keep Kubernetes management in-house. For other companies, they can provide a much higher level of service by outsourcing the Kubernetes orchestration to a third party. As Kubernetes was originally developed within Google, it makes sense that it integrates seamlessly with Google Cloud operations.

Maybe your business does not have the time or the resources to deploy clusters at scale. But by deploying through the Google Cloud Platform, you will no longer have to focus on keeping the hardware running properly and can instead concentrate on the rest of your business. To deploy a cluster is fairly straight forward, but you will need a Google Cloud account. Alternatively you can let Google fully manage and support the account, meaning your engineers can focus more on innovation rather than keeping everything running.

The huge success that Kubernetes has had comes from solving a real issue that software development teams had. It did this so well that it is now almost an industry standard. As the internet continues to develop, more problems will continue to arise, but by utilising Kubernetes engineers will be able to concentrate on finding solutions to these roadblocks as opposed to just trying to keep their processes functioning.