Kubernetes and DevOps—An Ideal Pair?
Updated on 01st May, 22 63 Views

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What makes DevOps successful in an enterprise depends on how well the workflow processes, scaling, and automation are primarily running in the production environment. We will take a look at how Kubernetes supports this performance. But first, let us discuss a little about enterprise DevOps.

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Enterprise DevOps

Single-discipline teams were the rule before DevOps. Each team had its own independent goals, processes, and tooling. It is not surprising that this led to conflicts between teams, which caused bottlenecks and inefficiencies. It also created a counterproductive atmosphere for customers and to the bottom line.

It is possible to resolve some of these issues when DevOps is implemented correctly. This is achieved by introducing cultural changes to make the workflows and processes overlap and run in tandem. However, these changes are not enough to overcome all the issues that exist in a siloed team environment. The issues of tooling and infrastructure still remain.

DevOps teams make use of pipelines to address technical issues. The pipelines incorporate version control systems used by developers and automation and configurations that are designed by operations members.

The integrated toolchains allow the seamless submission, testing, and revision of code. The single set of tooling ensures alignment of processes rather than completion. Departments also do not have to wait on one another.

With careful planning, pipelines can introduce visibility into the entire software development life cycle (SDLC), making it easier for teams to address problems early on by identifying them. In case the tools start restricting the teams, adjustments have to be made such as moving DevOps to the cloud. Kubernetes is perfect for helping infrastructure transition to public clouds.

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Role of Containers in Enterprise-scale CI/CD

A pipeline can vastly help in improving an enterprise’s agility and products. However, most pipelines, initially, are assembled together from a range of independent tools that often require customized plug-ins or inefficient workarounds for the purpose of integration.

In some cases, despite tools working well together, the specialization required for each tool results in the toolchains becoming unwieldy. Every time an individual component requires replacement or updates, the entire pipeline has to be redeveloped. The solution to these limitations is containerization.

Containerization helps DevOps teams to break down their toolchains into microservices. Each tool or individual functionality can be separated into a modular piece, which is able to run independently of the environment. This makes it easy for the teams to swap out tools or make changes without disrupting the rest of the pipeline.

For instance, if a testing tool requires a specific host configuration, the teams are not limited to that same configuration for all tools. This allows DevOps teams to choose the best tools for their requirements and offers freedom to scale or reconfigure as required. The downside of having so many containers is the difficulty in management. Therefore, along with containers, a platform such as Kubernetes is also necessary to run the containers.

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Kubernetes for DevOps

Kubernetes for DevOps

What is the use of Kubernetes in DevOps? The number of traits and capabilities that are offered by Kubernetes make it useful for building, deploying, and scaling enterprise-grade DevOps pipelines. It also allows teams to automate the manual processes that are involved in orchestration. Any team looking to increase productivity and quality will benefit greatly from this type of automation.

Infrastructure and Configuration as Code

Kubernetes allows the construction of infrastructure as code. All parts of the applications and tools, including ports, access controls, and databases, can be made accessible to Kubernetes. Environment configurations as code can also be managed.

Every time a new environment needs to be deployed, a source repository containing config files can be provided to Kubernetes instead of running a script.

Additionally, version control systems can manage code just like applications in development, making it easier for teams to define and modify infrastructure and configurations and enabling them to push changes to Kubernetes for automatic handling.

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On-demand Infrastructure

Kubernetes offers self-service catalog functionality enabling the creation of infrastructure on-demand by developers. This includes cloud services, such as AWS resources, that are exposed through open-service and API standards. These services rely on the configurations that are allowed by operations members to ensure consistency of compatibility and security.

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Cross-functional Collaboration

When Kubernetes is used to orchestrate a pipeline, the granular controls can be managed. This enables a user to allow certain applications or roles to take specific actions, while others cannot. For instance, customers being restricted to deployment or review processes and testers to builds and pending approvals.

This kind of control allows for smooth collaboration while ensuring consistency in configurations and resources. Having control over the deployment and scale of pipeline resources helps ensure that budgets are maintained and reduces Kubernetes security risks.

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Zero-downtime Deployments

The rolling updates and automated rollback features of Kubernetes allow the deployment of new releases with zero downtime. Kubernetes can be used to move traffic across available services, updating the clusters one by one rather than taking down production environments and redeploying updated ones.

These features help to achieve blue/green deployments easily as well as prioritize new features for customers and conduct A/B testing on the product features.

While DevOps aims to improve the entire SDLC, the underlying objective is to quickly release software. To ensure this, DevOps pipelines rely heavily on communication, collaboration, integration, and automation. Containers and microservices help drive up the development speed by making modifications possible on a small scale. This allows software updates with minimal or zero downtime. However, dealing with enterprise-grade systems with thousands of containers becomes an issue during management.

Why Kubernetes?

Why Kubernetes

Kubernetes was intended to primarily address the issues that developers face in an Agile environment and automate processes for a seamless workflow. Therefore, Kubernetes is suitable when it comes to running a CI/CD pipeline in a DevOps environment.

Below-mentioned are the reasons why Kubernetes is known as the top container orchestration platform for enterprises implementing DevOps practices.

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Flexibility of Pods

In a Kubernetes environment, the pods are generally considered to be the smallest unit that runs a container. Multiple containers can be run within a single pod resulting in better utilization of resources.

The flexibility of pods enables us to run containers that offer additional services or features alongside the main app. Due to the utilization of maximum resources by flexible pods, load balancing, routing, and certain other features can be completely separated from the app functionalities and microservices.

Reliability

Reliability is another key component that makes Kubernetes perfect for CI/CD processes. Kubernetes includes a series of health-check features that eliminate many issues that are associated with deploying a new iteration.

Earlier, during the deployment of a new pod, it crashed frequently or was faulty. Now, with the implementation of Kubernetes and its built-in auto-healing feature, it is easier to ensure that the entire system keeps running.

Improvements in the robust reliability of a Kubernetes environment can be achieved with the help of two approaches—liveness check and readiness check. Both are for checking the health of applications and preventing one pod from bringing down the entire system. They also provide warnings if the newly added pods are malfunctioning and update them accordingly.

Updates and Rollbacks

In a Kubernetes environment, adding newer pods is greatly suitable for the CI/CD workflow. In these cases, the existing pods are generally not replaced. They are, instead, updated using a feature in the Kube deployment object to not cause any impact to the end user.

The traffic is then directed to the new pod by a service. In case the update fails to function well, rolling back to a previous version is easy as it is stored in the version control system.

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Conclusion

The two important aspects of processes in DevOps culture are continuous integration (CI) and continuous development (CD). If the workflow processes, such as automation and scaling, are all running well in the production environment, then DevOps is successful in that enterprise.

Kubernetes in a CI/CD workflow is perfect for handling DevOps. Kubernetes enables the entire process to be completed in rapid succession, from prototyping to final release, all the while maintaining the reliability and scalability of the software production environment. DevOps with Kubernetes is, therefore, able to increase the agility of the process quite effectively.

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