IT departments are under more pressure than ever before. Emerging technologies are forcing organizations across all industries to battle with disruption at a faster pace or get left behind.
Under these conditions, legacy systems and applications can bog down engineers and prevent the growth of innovation. Engineers need to be agile, and the infrastructure of an organization needs to represent that agility.
Engineers have to be able to write applications that are capable of running across different environments, whether that is on-premises, virtualized private cloud, or public clouds. To achieve that flexibility, many have turned to containers in order to modernize applications.
It is expected that this year, the use of containerized applications will likely rise by 80%. That isn’t surprising considering that two-thirds of companies that have experienced immediate engineer efficiency after adopting this technology.
Adopting containers opens the door to numerous other technologies that can further improve IT agility, the most popular of which is Kubernetes. But not all organizations are far enough along on their application modernization journey to begin adopting technologies like Kubernetes. With this blog, we’ll help you decide if Kubernetes is the right fit for you.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is the next step following the successful adoption of containers. Simply put, it is an open source solution that manages clusters of containers. Complex applications can span multiple containers on different machines; Kubernetes provides the tools necessary to manage those groups of containers.
Kubernetes was open sourced as a project by Google in 2014. This immediately gave the project quite a bit of credibility due to the decade-plus worth of Google experience with production workloads at scale. As an orchestration tool, Kubernetes handles computing, networking, and storage infrastructure for user workloads.
It is important to understand that Kubernetes does not operate at a hardware level. While it does provide similar features like deployment, scaling, load balancing, etc., that a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution would it is not monolithic. Instead, Kubernetes solutions are optional and pluggable. Think of it as a solution that provides the simplicity of PaaS combined with the flexibility of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
The Pain Points of Containers
The first step to Kubernetes adoption is containerization. To be frank, if your business lacks familiarity with containers, that’s your first step, not Kubernetes.
If your primary point of discussion with your IT team is a lack of agility due to legacy applications and systems, it’s time for the container conversation. Containers are mini-virtual machines, but unlike an actual virtual machine solution, they do not contain device drives and other similar components. Containers simply create a wrapping around modern applications that runs on any infrastructure to create a single package.
However, once you adopt a container environment, there are numerous pain points that will arise that you will need to solve in order to truly take advantage of this technology. Enterprises on average can be running nearly 1,000 cloud services, and complex applications will need to run across multiple containers. Manually managing these containers would be nearly impossible.
With containers, just like with virtual machines, your IT team will need to keep track of them. Additionally, you’ll also want to be able to scale your container workloads depending on the demand. After all, you don’t want to waste the IT budget on larger bills from your CPU or storage provider because of unused workloads that are still running. You need an orchestration tool that can optimize these containerized workloads.
While there are other orchestration tools out there, you may run into resource restrictions. If you require high-performance computing with zero resource restrictions and minimal response latency and cannot afford any downtime, then you’ll need mature tools like Kubernetes.
The Benefits of Kubernetes
At a high level, Kubernetes eliminates the manual processes that comes with deploying and scaling containerized applications. It fixes container proliferation problems by automating a defined workflow. It is all about the automation of operational tasks for your containers.
Kubernetes Gives You Choice
At the start, you may ask why Kubernetes over other orchestration tools. For example, Amazon EC2 has its own tool, CloudFormation. However, adopting CloudFormation limits you because it only works with EC2 and the AWS cloud.
Kubernetes doesn’t keep you locked in on one platform. It removes infrastructure lock-in by allowing you to use AWS, Azure, or any other cloud service, as well as on-premises virtual or physical machines. Whatever solution best suits your business, Kubernetes can slot right in with no restrictions.
As an orchestration tool for containers across multiple hosts, Kubernetes has an abundance of capabilities. That starts with the ability to control and automate your modernized application deployments and updates and the ability to scale those deployments up and down in order to maximize resources. These auto-provisioning capabilities can be vital for optimized storage management.
Self-healing is part of the platform’s automation capabilities. It can detect when something is wrong with part of the infrastructure, like a node not responding or if a piece of a cluster has gone down, and then recreate parts of itself until it is working again.
Additionally, Kubernetes has the ability to mass update containers, saving time from having to individually select updates for different groups of containers. It also has no resource restrictions, so if your business requires high-performance computing, you will not run into any roadblocks.
Since Kubernetes is currently the most popular orchestration tool in use, it comes with an enormous amount of third-party support. It has been backed by the likes of Red Hat, Microsoft, Core OS, and more; all of whom have experience running large-scale deployments with containers.
On top of this, it has the added benefit of over a decade of internal testing at a little tech company called Google. And let’s not forget about the growing independent community of Kubernetes that is constantly looking to improve the platform.
Getting Started with Kubernetes
Business leaders across all industries are constantly seeking out technology solutions that will help accelerate business operations and ultimately improve growth. With nearly one-third of companies already spending $500 thousand or more on container technology, this trend is here to stay.
By adopting Kubernetes to manage these containerized workloads, businesses are able to keep up with competitors who are adopting the same and lowering overhead costs in doing so. Kubernetes adoption can be challenging and may require the assistance of experts in the subject.
At Architech, we offer consulting and engineering services around the production deployment of Kubernetes on Azure. Our experienced team can aid in the adoption of modern application deployment with Kubernetes. This starts with our Kubernetes on Azure Bootcamp that aims to prepare your team for this adoption.
To get started with Kubernetes, contact us online today. And to learn more about how Kubernetes can benefit your business, download our whitepaper: The Guide to Application Modernization with Kubernetes.Automation Insights