What is Kubernetes and its advantages and disadvantages of Kubernetes?
The world of technology is undergoing a paradigm shift. The world is gradually getting more compact, and the digital divide is on the verge getting eradicated. The transformation is rapid and the quicker we can adopt, the better it would be. One such technology that has experienced a rapid rise is Kubernetes. It is one of the leading technologies that is changing the way developers are handling projects. Because of various factors, the platform has also seen a rise in early adoption. In this article we will look at the various facets of the technology and try to understand the reasons behind its popularity. But before delving any further let us find out what it is.
What is Kubernetes?
It is imperative that we begin our journey by understanding the technology first. Kubernetes is a compact and portable platform for managing workloads, services and applications in a containerised format. One of the popular features that it has is that it is open source. The original developer of Kubernetes was Google and being open source, it has since undergone numerous iterations and improvements. The original vision of Google was to create a platform which will be able to focus on automating the entire cycle of deployment, scaling and the other forms of containerised application management.
Over the years the platform has grown into a behemoth, sought after by some of the biggest names in the industry. It is also one of the flagbearers of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), a project that Google donated in. It was backed by major tech companies such as AWS, Intel, IBM, Cisco et al.
The popularity of Kubernetes is based on its simplicity. It is an easy-to-use platform that has found various applications. It does so by creating an abstract layer on the hardware node clusters which are available for use. This allows development teams to deploy their application without much ado.
How does Kubernetes work?
Deploying and managing applications through Kubernetes is like a microservice. It allows the user to focus on the development of the application rather spending time and effort on fretting over server space to accommodate data and traffic. The Kubernetes engine is a powerful tool which calculates the need of the hour and takes care of the exigencies that may arise during deployment. It also provides the user with a control for the management of hardware utilisation and resource management.
Kubernetes also acts as a monitoring tool which lets the development team keep a track on the hardware needs. All that is needed to begin operations is the hardware capacity and container requirement and the rest will be taken care of by the intelligent resource management system of the platform.
Features of Kubernetes
This is the prime feature of Kubernetes. It balances the incoming traffic to all the containers and systems in an even manner. This helps in reducing the load on any system and the entire environment remains stable. The vast container system is leveraged to handle higher amount of traffic in a seamless manner. The usual method was to deploy additional servers and that would have been a mean task.
There is a general human tendency to control. It is also case while managing resources. Forever a finite number of containers and hardware units, this would be possible. But for a larger setup, it would become cumbersome and error prone. Kubernetes is designed to perform automatically. It can handle such situations on its own, calculating and measuring load capacities and requirements on the go. All that one needs to do is specify the container requirement. What Kubernetes does thereafter is create provisions automatically and then direct the load to the containers, it deems fit, can handle the load. It is continuously monitoring the spread through its in-built monitoring system. The entire process is done with the help of advance AI which acts independently. This eradicates the necessity of manual provisioning of hardware and then setting them up. This is also one of the reasons behind the rapid rise of the platform. Development and deployment teams can now focus on various aspects of the project rather than wasting time on cumbersome activities.
Hardware malfunctioning is one of the risks every organisation face. Servers go down and then quick response teams are deployed to undertake complex operations to divert traffic to live servers. With Kubernetes, such an arduous task is fully automated again. Whenever a container is deemed to be down, the resource management engine diverts traffic to the ones which are live. As a result of which, the least possible time is wasted. The replacement is based on the capacity and bandwidth of the system, a calculation that Kubernetes does automatically and independently. This ensures that the system is available for a higher percentage of time and can go live within the shortest turn around times. This is essential for real time business applications like ecommerce apps which rely on being always live. Any disruption and there is a potential for a huge loss of revenue. Downtimes are a bane for any organisation, more so for the ones who rely on the virtual ones. They are dependent on the hardware to look after the traffic and data that is being exchanged and in rapidly growing numbers, each second. The self-healing feature of Kubernetes makes it a sought-after platform for large ecommerce companies.
Managing resources is not just dependent on increasing additional space to fit in more but to also scale back resource allocations when deemed fit. This is necessary to reduce the chances of that application becoming a bottleneck to the others. In the event such a circumstance occurs, the entire system would become slow and eventually come to a grinding halt. Kubernetes intelligent resource allocation system enables the containers to scale storage, and it can handle a wide variety of them, namely local storage, public storage providers like the cloud et al.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Kubernetes
Kubernetes is one of the most popular platforms in the tech world right now and we are going to investigate the reasons soon. However, like all good things, there are few glitches too that must be discussed.
It is a highly productive platform that improves the efficiency of the team manifold. It assists the development by helping them focus on the development alone and not the hardware management. Kubernetes helps build platform as a service in quick time that also includes a layer of hardware abstraction. The added advantage to all of this is that the entire roll out is done in double quick time and at lesser cost.
Wider community support
Kubernetes is backed by the same community that backs and supports Google, since it has been created by the latter. There is a humongous ecosystem surrounding the platform and being open source, more are getting added daily. With the name and fame of the platform spreading far and wide at an even rapid pace, it is surely an advantage for users. A big community would mean greater support and a wider knowledge base. It would also mean that there would future improvements on the platform at a rapid pace. Container orchestration is the next big thing in the world of tech and Kubernetes has already taken a huge lead. There are many major tech companies which back this platform and its is only a matter of time before alliances and collaborative efforts are formed to solve Kubernetes issues of the future.
As it has mentioned plenty of times in the article, Kubernetes is growing at a breakneck pace. It has loads of business-friendly features which allow businesses to grow and operate seamlessly with lesser hassles. Also, since it is open source, there are plenty of communities which keep adding to it daily. This is an added benefit. Kubernetes was formed to perform certain tasks and eradicate challenges which had become the bane of tech companies. With the advent of technology and greater awareness of container orchestration Kubernetes is surely to touch greater heights.
Kubernetes is nothing if its not adaptive. The very essence of its existence is adaptability and that is the major reason for its immense popularity. The conventional method to overcome challenges of constricted space was to add to the existing servers. The entire process of doing so would be time consuming and cumbersome. With Kubernetes, even the older applications that were stored would have a way to catch up to the newer ones and newer traffic and data would find ample space for safe storage. Containerisation would also mean easy migration between services.
Kubernetes provides native security support which would mean that all data and traffic that is stored within the containers are encrypted, and it has a wide range of features that can detect, thwart and notify of threats and vulnerabilities.
Steep Learning curve
It might be the future of technology but learning it is a task. Kubernetes has a steep learning curve and that is one of the reasons why some balk at adopting it. It may quickly turn into a quagmire, even for the most experienced, if a proper plan is missing. Anyone starting Kubernetes needs to remember that it is a long road ahead and there is no short cut to it. One must begin from the basics and go all the way to the advanced sections before they can even be called users. Mastering it will take a lot of time.
Vast Knowledge base needed
Kubernetes requires a diverse set of knowledge. This is again taken as a disadvantage since it does act as a roadblock. A DevOps engineer will also have to have innate knowledge of the cloud and Kubernetes itself.
Talent Resourcing is costly
Because of the complexities involved in mastering Kubernetes, the talent required to operate it is expensive. Companies must shell out large amount of money to hire such resources and it does have financial repercussions. The average salary of a Kubernetes qualified engineer is anywhere in vicinity of 115k. This will put a strain on the budget of small and medium scale companies.
While containerisation has eased the pain of hardware management, there is always a challenge in migrating old applications to Kubernetes. In the defence of it, any software development transition is a pain and has its own set of unique challenges. Kubernetes aims to simply this process and is in the process of doing so. However, the challenge of transferring non-containerised applications to containers will remain to be a hard task. One of the reasons being the way the original software was written. If the migration process seems to be more complicated than anticipated, then the possibility of rewriting the entire application is high.
Kubernetes Transition Planning
Transiting to Kubernetes can never be an overnight decision since there are a lot of things that has to be kept in mind. The number of applications to be transferred, the number of containers required et al. This requires deft planning which is time consuming and full of effort. The basic requirements for Kubernetes transition are financial planning, skilled workforce and a large amount of traffic to justify the cost. The planning phase will have to answer all these questions even before the first brick is moved. As mentioned previously, moving of applications to and fro Kubernetes may not be as easy as it sounds.
Kubernetes is costly. With the steep learning curve, the expensive hires, the difficulties in setting up the entire system, setting up Kubernetes can be quite a handful and one must be prepared to fork out a large amount of money.
Kubernetes, despite the niggles is the future of tech and with a large community and big tech as its supporter is certainly marching towards a bright future. Being open source also means that the disadvantages that has been mentioned would gradually be sorted out.