Why programmers & MNCs are so Hyped about Kubernetes | Case studies

Kubernetes, also referred to as K8s, is an open source system used to manage Linux Containers across private, public and hybrid cloud environments. In other words, Kubernetes can be used to manage micro service architectures and is deployable on most cloud providers.

Kubernetes automates the deployment, scaling, maintenance, scheduling and operation of multiple application containers across clusters of nodes. Containers run on top of a common shared operating system (OS) on host machines but are isolated from each other unless a user chooses to connect them.

Kubernetes is mainly used by application developers and IT system administrators — including DevOps engineers — in organizations that deploy containers.

Kubernetes enables users to schedule, run and monitor containers, typically in clustered configurations, and automate related operational tasks. These include:

  • Continuously check container health, restart failed containers and remove unresponsive ones.
  • Perform load balancing to distribute traffic across multiple container instances.
  • Handle varied storage types for container data, from local storage to cloud resources.
  • Set and modify preferred states for container deployment. Users can create new container instances, migrate existing ones to them and remove the old ones.
  • Add a level of intelligence to container deployments, such as resource optimization — identify which nodes are available and which resources are required for containers, and automatically fit containers onto those nodes.
  • Manage passwords, tokens, SSH keys and other sensitive information.

Kubernetes competitors

Kubernetes faces competition from other scheduler and orchestrator technologies, such as Docker Swarm, which is a standalone container orchestration engine. While Kubernetes is used to manage Docker containers, it has also competed with the native clustering capabilities of Docker Swarm.

Docker Swarm is an easy-to-use orchestrator for many network engineers, offering lower barriers to entry and fewer commands than Kubernetes. Swarm users are encouraged to use Docker infrastructure, but are not blocked from using other infrastructures.

In recent years, the two containerization technologies have begun to operate most efficiently when used together. Docker allows for running, creating and managing containers on a single operating system. With Kubernetes, containers can then be automated for provisioning, networking, load-balancing, security and scaling across nodes from a single dashboard.

Mirantis, which acquired the Docker Enterprise business in late 2019, initially signaled its intent to focus on Kubernetes. However, it later pledged to continue to support and expand the enterprise version of Docker Swarm.

Apache Mesos, an open source cluster manager, emphasizes running containers alongside other workloads, utilizing pods, and it easily integrates with machine learning and big data tools such as Cassandra, Kafka and Spark. Mesosphere DC/OS, a commercialized version of Mesos maintained by D2iQ, has partnered with major vendors such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft and Dell EMC.

Mesosphere existed prior to widespread interest in containerization and is therefore less focused on running containers. Kubernetes exists as a system to build, manage and run distributed systems, and it has more built-in capabilities for replication and service discovery than Mesosphere. Both Mesosphere and Kubernetes provide container federation.

Jenkins and Kubernetes are both open source tools. Jenkins is a continuous integration server tool that offers easy installation, easy configuration and change set support. Developers often consider Jenkins due to these benefits, as well as internal hosting capabilities.

Kubernetes, as a container tool, is more lightweight, simple and accessible. It is built for a multi-cloud world, whether public or private based. As it is the leading Docker container management solution, its open source power and simplicity lead developers to opt for Kubernetes.

Overall, Kubernetes may be the most developed of the three systems in many situations, and it can be adopted as the upstream, open source version or as a proprietary, supported distribution. Kubernetes was designed from its inception as an environment to build distributed applications in containers.

Some of Successful Kubernetes Case Studies

Launched in 2008, Spotify is one of the largest music streaming subscription service that has grown to over 200 million monthly active users across the world. Spotify aims to empower creators and enable an immersive listening experience for their customers. They have containerized their microservices and managed it through an in-house container orchestration service called Helios in 2014.

By late 2017, Spotify decided to migrate from Helios to Kubernetes, which was backed by a huge community of thousands of developers. Kubernetes comes with a huge ecosystem behind it that gave a lot of confidence in transition. Spotify was aiming to benefit from autoscaling, better resource utilization, self-healing, faster operations, and development.

The migration started in parallel with Helios running. Spotify wants to run all stateless services on Kubernetes for which they have created migration phases. In the first phase, they decided to go small, experimenting with only running one service on a Kubernetes cluster, moving up to three services on a shared cluster for a few days. This will ease out the transition and would only affect a few teams.

With the first phase complete, Spotify moved on to the alpha phase, asking teams to volunteer services for running on Kubernetes. During this phase, the services ran on Helios and Kubernetes, and Spotify can roll back to Helios if an incident occurred. Then comes the beta phase of self-service migration, in which teams that want to migrate to Kubernetes can follow the documentation and fully move to Kubernetes.

During the general availability phase, any new service at Spotify will be deployed only on Kubernetes. Spotify employed capabilities such as one-click migration, autoscaling, metrics, and audits.

Spotify benefited hugely with Kubernetes. According to their teams, now they have less of a need to focus on manual capacity provisioning, and more time to focus on delivering features. Spotify running on Kubernetes can take about 10 million requests per second and benefits greatly from autoscaling, says James Wen. Site Reliability Engineer. Teams can now create a new service in a few minutes. Kubernetes has also improved CPU utilization compared to compute instances on Helios.

Vodafone Group is one of the world’s leading global telecommunications company that provides technology services. They have expertise in a variety of Internet of Things(IoT) and connectivity products for both consumers and businesses, as well as mobile financial services and digital transformation in emerging markets.

Vodafone struggled with an old, monolithic architecture that had incurred high levels of complexity, interdependency, and a substantial upgrade deficit. As a result, they could no longer maintain it and needed to start fresh with new technology.

In 2016, Vodafone launched a new digital strategy to deliver the best customer services. The digital strategy includes implementing cloud-native software and container orchestration platform Kubernetes, to best enable local markets to share assets across different parts in the world.

Vodafone has chosen Giant Swarm, which provided them a highly automated control plane to manage Kubernetes and the stack. The product came with features that increased Vodafone’s peace of mind while adopting moving to the cloud. There were no vendor lock-in issues, which provided an easy pivot in case of failure. It also eliminated the challenges of managing a Kubernetes environment that was not well-known to the Vodafone staff.

Right now, a blueprint for cloud-native projects partnered with Giant Swarm is created. This blueprint is now being adopted throughout Vodafone Group, especially with Kubernetes projects that are moving from the development phase to production.

Kubernetes-Driven Future

One of the more fascinating parts of these different Kubernetes success stories is their consistency irrespective of their industry. Organizations of all sizes are wrestling with a change in the manner development is done in large and small businesses. Most of the above-defined Kubernetes organizations want to adopt Kubernetes to accelerate their software development cycles, cut costs, and provide more customer satisfaction to their clients. It’s safe to say that Kubernetes has reached a level where any organization that neglects to find a good pace with containers and Kubernetes will battle to thrive in a cloud-driven world.

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Yashraj Panda

A B.tech undergrad, enthusiastic towards learning new technologies in the market and integrate the technologies with each other.