What is Kubernetes and how does it work?

What is Kubernetes and how does it work?

Kubernetes is an open source container orchestration platform, allowing large numbers of containers to work together in harmony, reducing operational burden. It helps with things like running containers across many different machines, scaling up or down by adding or removing containers when demand changes, keeping storage consistent with multiple instances of an application, distributing load between the containers, launching new containers on different machines if something fails.

Google open-sourced the Kubernetes project in 2014. Kubernetes builds upon a decade and a half of experience that Google has with running production workloads at scale, combined with best-of-breed ideas and practices from the community. It's a portable, extensible open-source platform for managing containerized workloads and services, that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation. It has a large, rapidly growing ecosystem. Kubernetes services, support, and tools are widely available.

Kubernetes is a tool you can use if you do not want to develop something specific in order to handle all the aforementioned issues. It can help you pilot your container cluster, hence its name, which means pilot or helmsman in greek.

The Kubernetes Control Plane consists of a collection of processes running on your cluster:

The Kubernetes Master is a collection of three processes that run on a single node in your cluster, which is designated as the master node. Those processes are kube-apiserver, kube-controller-manager and kube-scheduler.

Each individual non-master node in your cluster runs two processes:

  • kubelet, which communicates with the Kubernetes Master.

  • kube-proxy, a network proxy which reflects Kubernetes networking services on each node.

How does it work?

Kubernetes provides a container-centric management environment. It orchestrates computing, networking, and storage infrastructure on behalf of user workloads. This provides much of the simplicity of Platform as a Service (PaaS) with the flexibility of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and enables portability across infrastructure providers.

Kubernetes provides a lot of functionality, there are always new scenarios that would benefit from new features. Application-specific workflows can be streamlined to accelerate developer velocity. Ad hoc orchestration that is acceptable initially often requires robust automation at scale. This is why Kubernetes was also designed to serve as a platform for building an ecosystem of components and tools to make it easier to deploy, scale, and manage applications. Labels empower users to organize their resources however they please. Annotations enable users to decorate resources with custom information to facilitate their workflows and provide an easy way for management tools to checkpoint state.

 

Kubernetes works the same way as container orchestration. It provides high-level abstractions for managing groups of containers that allow Kubernetes users to focus on how they want applications to run, rather than worrying about specific implementation details. The behaviors they need are decoupled from the components that provide them. Kubernetes is designed to automate and simplify a number of content management tasks.

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