How to Drive Business Growth with Kubernetes: 10 Practical Strategies to Implement

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Container-based applications are complex operations made up of a software package meant to run a program anywhere. Kubernetes helps with scaling and deployment of different containers. The process is fairly complicated but will make sense to those with an information technology (IT) background.

Growing companies can use Kubernetes to manage challenging IT applications and more easily scale operations. One big advantage of the software is the ability to create consistency in different computing environments.

Through the use of duplication, systems become much more stable. Firms can easily pivot operations to another data center when one has low resources or an outage.

The program offers huge advantages to those utilizing difficult application processes or delivering multiple software-as-a-service models.

For businesses who feel they might be ready to embrace all Kubernetes has to offer, here are 10 practical strategies to implement.

1. Implement a Starter Program

Learning how to utilize Kubernetes best requires practice and training. As with most things, people learn best by doing.

Researchers found 90% of students believe they get more out of hands-on learning than other teaching methods. How can that translate to training in IT systems?

Rather than only having people watch training videos, invest time in those with more knowledge of Kubernetes and ask them to train other workers on the system.

A starter program takes a non-essential container and migrates it into the system — if things go wrong, a backup copy lets them begin again.

Make sure system managers get plenty of practice on how to use the program. Try out test models and work within non-essential containers to find how different features work.

Focusing on less crucial tasks first means any mistakes are easier fixes, and the team can learn the ins and outs of the open source software without damaging processes for customers. Always work from a replica so the original remains intact should a problem occur.

2. Invest in Education

While most people do learn best hands-on, training videos and courses can also help a corporation get the most from the program.

IBM offers a Kubernetes lab certification but one will also find many online course options. The better the IT team understands the program, the more flexibility the company will have with it.

The best training is the one that fits workers’ schedules and offers a closer look at the features a business is most likely to use.

IT personnel can also use downtime to build their own K8 lab, begin making improvements and learn how to cluster pods. Another option is investing in a cloud-based provider’s Kubernetes cluster.

Most offer managed cloud services, so knowing how to set up a cluster may not be as necessary as learning to manage one best.

3. Focus on Security

Researchers found around 55% of delays in app releases are because of security issues. K8s can address many of those issues. However, keep in mind securing applications deployed on Kubernetes can be a complex process.

One option is to apply role-based access control to the company’s network policies. The brand controls which user roles access information. IT workers can also define communication between pods to prevent any backdoor entries.

Over the past decade, cybercriminals have perfected their techniques and become a huge enterprise threat. Traditional security measures no longer stand the test.

Artificial intelligence (AI) gives firms an advantage against cyberattacks, spotting patterns and anomalies and moving to stop hackers before they gain access to private data.

Kubernetes can have some security headaches if not implemented properly. The system is quite complex for some brands, so it is best to bring a professional on board who is well-versed in K8s.

4. Select Containers to Migrate

Not every container in a company’s system makes sense to migrate to a Kubernetes platform. Take the time to list the features most desirable to the organization. What will ease processes and speed up procedures?

Once the team has a list, start migrating containers individually. Make sure each one is fully integrated and additional systems are in place before moving to the next.

Rank the order of migration based on what is least important to most. Since systems might go down temporarily during the changeover, leave vital pods until last. Ideally, the end user should have a seamless transition and never know the change occurred.

5. Monitor Resource Usage

Utilizing the resource metrics pipeline allows a metrics-server to monitor nodes on a cluster. The system queries each for memory and CPU use, finding any errors or patterns for concern.

It then manages the containers automatically, fixing issues on the fly before they cause bottlenecks in the system.

Organizations can also use the program to balance traffic across multiple servers and avoid overload where the app fails due to heavy usage.

Some methods Kubernetes uses to manage resources include restricting how much a particular pod uses and throttling overage.

Think of it like the way cell service providers may allow unlimited data, but when a user hits a certain limit, the service slows down considerably.

This program considers both scheduling and runtime of resources, and sets maximums for each pod as makes sense and within the defined limits.

6. Set Up a Disaster Plan

Deploy clusters to protect for regional outages, particularly if servers are in a disaster-prone location.

Rather than all services being in one central location, clusters deploy in various ones. In the case of a data center being damaged or out of power, applications are sent to a different cluster location that is working.

Kubernetes allows programmers to set up a disaster plan ahead of time. The team does not have to wait for a problem to occur — they can implement measures that take over automatically in the case of an outage, creating uptime for the user.

Automatically backup data, images, containers and nodes, and have them on hand if the firm falls victim to a ransomware attack or hackers.

Backups go to a separate location for cloud storage. Disaster recovery options give businesses better consistency, security and compliance, reducing recovery costs and ensuring availability to subscribers.

7. Use Multiple Cloud Servers

One of the biggest advantages of using Kubernetes is deploying applications across multiple cloud hosting providers.

Enterprises can scale up without moving their entire operations to a larger server by putting pods across different systems. The result is faster, more reliable applications.

Brands also do not get locked in with one vendor and can explore other options. Moving applications around and being more versatile creates the ability to tap into different cloud services to meet the needs of several departments and clients.

8. Set Up Automatic Updates

Just as organizations can set up automatic backups and contingency plans, they can also use Kubernetes to update software automatically.

One big advantage is deploying updates on a rolling basis so the system avoids downtime. The workload scales automatically to match user demand, pushing updates to low traffic times.

Nodes automatically upgrade with certain commands, keeping the system up to date and making it more secure. Tools that help with automated updates include deployments, keel and declarative dependency management.

9. Reduce Container Size

Container sizes in Kubernetes can grow fairly large if IT managers do not keep a handle on things.

Fortunately, there are some things one can do to reduce the growing scale. Start with smaller base images through applications such as Alpine Linux. Because Alpine takes less space, it keeps containers smaller.

Use the system to prune image layers and cut down on the image size. Add a LimitRange to prevent massive storage requests.

Containers also should have resource limits to keep them from getting too unwieldy. Managers can always add another container.

Staying on top of container size and watching each element helps improve security, too. Managers will always know what each container holds and limit unnecessary data.

You may see a reduction in zero-day attacks through automated updates and patch management. Dividing your network into different containers across multiple servers also minimizes vulnerabilities.

10. Scale Pods Horizontally

Tap into the power of horizontal pod scaling by adding to the containers in each pod. Duplicate replicas rather than starting from scratch for higher capacity in each application.

Kubernetes has a replication controller feature that allows one to replicate pod counts instantly without manually inputting data. The advantage is managing workloads without making them too large to navigate.

The Horizontal Pod Autoscaler adds or removes replicas to match the workload CPU. Custom metrics show the system what to move where and when more resources should push to a different pod.

Will Kubernetes Help a Company Grow?

Many factors play into how fast a business grows and how healthy it is. Kubernetes is another tool in the IT arsenal that can help brands focus on the creative side of running a company while processes run in the background.

Learning how to implement the software requires training, time and determination. Once the IT staff is on board, though, the benefits are apparent.

From better security to zero lag time, the system improves user experience and gives leaders pace of mind. For brands wanting to save money while still scaling up their services, the tool can play an integral part in new innovations and better customer experience.

About the Author!

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

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