Why every CIO should consider Kubernetes ?

What is Kubernetes ? 👦

Kubernetes is open source software that allows you to deploy and manage containerized applications at scale. Kubernetes manages clusters of Amazon EC2 compute instances and runs containers on those instances with processes for deployment, maintenance, and scaling. Using Kubernetes, you can run any type of containerized applications using the same toolset on-premises and in the cloud.

HOW KUBERNETES WORKS ? 👦

Kubernetes works by managing a cluster of compute instances and scheduling containers to run on the cluster based on the available compute resources and the resource requirements of each container. Containers are run in logical groupings called pods and you can run and scale one or many containers together as a pod.

Kubernetes control plane software decides when and where to run your pods, manages traffic routing, and scales your pods based on utilization or other metrics that you define. Kubernetes automatically starts pods on your cluster based on their resource requirements and automatically restarts pods if they or the instances they are running on fail. Each pod is given an IP address and a single DNS name, which Kubernetes uses to connect your services with each other and external traffic.

What is Pod ? 👦

Pods are the smallest, most basic deployable objects in Kubernetes. A Pod represents a single instance of a running process in your cluster.

Pods contain one or more containers, such as Docker containers. When a Pod runs multiple containers, the containers are managed as a single entity and share the Pod’s resources. Generally, running multiple containers in a single Pod is an advanced use case.

Why Use Kubernetes ? 👦

Because Kubernetes is an open source project, you can use it to run your containerized applications anywhere without needing to change your operational tooling.

Kubernetes is maintained by a large community of volunteers and is always improving. Additionally, many other open source projects and vendors build and maintain Kubernetes-compatible software that you can use to improve and extend your application architecture.

what is Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service ? 👦

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) gives you the flexibility to start, run, and scale Kubernetes applications in the AWS cloud or on-premises. Amazon EKS helps you provide highly-available and secure clusters and automates key tasks such as patching, node provisioning, and updates. Customers such as Intel, Snap, Intuit, GoDaddy, and Autodesk trust EKS to run their most sensitive and mission critical applications.

EKS runs upstream Kubernetes and is certified Kubernetes conformant for a predictable experience. You can easily migrate any standard Kubernetes application to EKS without needing to refactor your code.

Is Kubernetes getting adopted in enterprises ?

Several datapoints show rapid Kubernetes adoption. Sumo Logic’s fourth annual Continuous Intelligence Report on highlights some cool adoption data on Kubernetes within enterprises.

The report states that K8s is seeing increased adoption in on-premise as well as cloud-based environments. In fact, 1 in 3 enterprises in AWS cloud today use Kubernetes as their key orchestration solution.

OK, so what specifically can Kubernetes do for me?

Here are five fundamental business capabilities that Kubernetes can drive in the enterprise–be it large or small. And to add teeth to these use cases, we have identified some real world examples to validate the value that enterprises are getting from their Kubernetes deployments

1. Faster time to market (aka improved app development/deployment efficiencies)

Kubernetes enables a “microservices” approach to building apps. Now you can break up your development team into smaller teams that focus on a single, smaller microservice. These teams are smaller and more agile because each team has a focused function. APIs between these microservices minimize the amount of cross-team communication required to build and deploy. So, ultimately, you can scale multiple small teams of specialized experts who each help support a fleet of thousands of machines.

Kubernetes also allows your IT teams to manage large applications across many containers more efficiently by handling many of the nitty-gritty details of maintaining container-based apps. For example, Kubernetes handles service discovery, helps containers talk to each other, and arranges access to storage from various providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Real World Case Study

Airbnb’s transition from a monolithic to a microservices architecture is pretty amazing. They needed to scale continuous delivery horizontally, and the goal was to make continuous delivery available to the company’s 1,000 or so engineers so they could add new services. Airbnb adopted Kubernetes to support over 1,000 engineers concurrently configuring and deploying over 250 critical services to Kubernetes. The net result is that AirBnb can now do over 500 deploys per day on average.

Tinder: One of the best examples of accelerating time to market comes from Tinder. Tinder’s K8 journey well. And here’s the cliff notes version of the story: Due to high traffic volume, Tinder’s engineering team faced challenges of scale and stability. And they realized that the answer to their struggle is Kubernetes. Tinder’s engineering team migrated 200 services and ran a Kubernetes cluster of 1,000 nodes, 15,000 pods, and 48,000 running containers. While the migration process wasn’t easy, the Kubernetes solution was critical to ensure smooth business operations going further.

2. IT cost optimization

Kubernetes can help your business cut infrastructure costs quite drastically if you’re operating at massive scale. Kubernetes makes a container-based architecture feasible by packing together apps optimally using your cloud and hardware investments. Before Kubernetes, administrators often over-provisioned their infrastructure to conservatively handle unexpected spikes, or simply because it was difficult and time consuming to manually scale containerized applications. Kubenetes intelligently schedules and tightly packs containers, taking into account the available resources. It also automatically scales your application to meet business needs, thus freeing up human resources to focus on other productive tasks.

There are many examples of customers who have seen dramatic improvements in cost optimization using K8s.

Real World Case Study

Spotify is an early K8s adopter and has significant cost saving values by adopting K8s. Leveraging K8s, Spotify has seen 2–3x CPU utilization using the orchestration capabilities of K8s, resulting in better IT spend optimization.

Pinterest is another early K8s customer. Leveraging K8s, the Pinterest IT team reclaimed over 80 percent of capacity during non-peak hours. They now use30 percent less instance-hours per day compared to the static cluster.

3. Improved scalability and availability

The success of today’s applications does not depend only on features, but also on the scalability of the application. After all, if an application cannot scale well, it will be highly non-performant at best scale, and totally unavailable, at the worst case.

As an orchestration system, Kubernetes is a critical management system to “auto-magically” scale and improve app performance. Suppose we have a service which is CPU-intensive and with dynamic user load that changes based on business conditions (for example, an event ticketing app that will see dramatic users and loads prior to the event and low usage at other times). What we need here is a solution that can scale up the app and its infrastructure so that new machines are automatically spawned up as the load increases (more users are buying tickets) and scale it down when the load subsides. Kubernetes offers just that capability by scaling up the application as the CPU usage goes above a defined threshold — for example, 90 percent on the current machine. And when the load reduces, Kubernetes can scale back the application, thus optimizing the infrastructure utilization. The Kubernetes auto-scaling is not limited to just infrastructure metrics; any type of metric — resource utilization metrics — even custom metrics can be used to trigger the scaling process.

Real World Case Study

LendingTree: LendingTree has many microservices that make up its business apps. LendingTree uses Kubernetes and its horizontal scaling capability to deploy and run these services, and to ensure that their customers have access to service even during peak load. And to get visibility into these containerized and virtual services and monitor its Kubernetes deployment, LendingTree uses Sumo Logic

4. Multi-cloud flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of Kubernetes and containers is that it helps you realize the promise of hybrid and multi-cloud. Enterprises today are already running multi-cloud environments and will continue to do so in the future. Kubernetes makes it much easier is to run any app on any public cloud service or any combination of public and private clouds. This allows you to put the right workloads on the right cloud and to help you avoid vendor lock-in. And getting the best fit, using the right features, and having the leverage to migrate when it makes sense all help you realize more ROI (short and longer term) from your IT investments.

Need more data to validate the multi-cloud and Kubernetes made-in-heaven story? This finding from the Sumo Logic Continuous Intelligence Report identifies a very interesting upward trend on K8 adoption based on the number of cloud platforms organizations use, with 86 percent of customers on all three using managed or native Kubernetes solutions. Should AWS be worried? Probably not. But, it may be an early sign of a level playing field for Azure and GCP — because apps deployed on K8s can be easily ported across environments (on-premise to cloud or across clouds).

Real World Case Study

Gannett/USA Today is a great example of a customer who is using Kubernetes to operate multi-cloud environments across AWS and Google Cloud platform. At the beginning, Gannett was an AWS shop. Gannett moved to Kubernetes to support their growing scale of customers (they did 160 deployments per day during the 2016 presidential news season!), but as their business and scaling needs changed, Gannett used the fact that they are deployed on Kubernetes in AWS to seamlessly run the apps in GCP.

5. Seamless migration to cloud

Whether you are rehosting (lift and shift of the app), replatforming (make some basic changes to the way it runs), or refactoring (the entire app and the services that support it are modified to better suit the new compartmentalized environment), Kubernetes has you covered.

Since K8s runs consistently across all environments, on-premise and clouds like AWS, Azure and GCP, Kubernetes provides a more seamless and prescriptive path to port your application from on-premise to cloud environments. Rather than deal with all the variations and complexities of the cloud environment, enterprises can follow a more prescribed path:

  1. Migrate apps to Kubernetes on-premise. Here you are more focused on replatforming your apps to containers and bringing them under Kubernetes orchestration.
  2. Move to a cloud-based Kubernetes instance. You have many options here — run Kubernetes natively or choose a managed Kubernetes environment from the cloud vendor.
  3. Now that the application is in the cloud, you can start to optimize your application to the cloud environment and its services.

Real World Case Study

Shopify started as a data center based application and over the last few years has completely migrated all their application to Google Cloud Platform. Shopify first started running containers (docker); the next natural step was to use K8s as a dynamic container management and orchestration system.

Thanks for reading…..

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Rahul Kumar

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