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Contain yourself: Keeping up with Kubernetes

Ryan Kroonenburg
Ryan Kroonenburg

Kubernetes (or k8s) is only five years old but has already proven itself an important part of a balanced cloud toolkit. Besides being one of the largest open-source software projects on the planet — second only to Linux (!) — Kubernetes is also one of the most-searched-for topics on our platform.

To heed the call of cloud gurus and keep you plugged in to all things cloud, we’ve launched Kubernetes This Month.

This aptly titled video series gives you a monthly look at the latest Kubernetes news, releases, and tweaks. Whether you’re a k8s power-user or a cloud-curious newcomer, there’s something here for you. Nigel Poulton, mastermind behind our popular Kubernetes Deep Dive course and author of The Kubernetes Book, leads the roundup.

Wondering what in the world a “Kubernetes” is and why you should care? Let’s zoom out for a quick crash course on what Kubernetes is, why we use Kubernetes, and why it’s so hot right now in the world of DevOps.

What is Kubernetes?

Containers: They’re not just for leftovers

Kubernetes manages containers. Containers (of the software variety) make it easier for developers to ensure their applications run properly across different environments. They neatly pack up a piece of software with all the bits and bytes it needs to run in a lightweight package. Containers allow for a “microservices” approach — the breaking of an application into smaller, more manageable parts. This modular take on development lets teams divide and conquer, shrinking development and testing times. It makes developers and bosses happy, which makes everyone happy.

Sounds cool, right? It is! But it can quickly result in a staggering number of containers. Think how easy it is to lose track of your leftovers only to discover that takeout-turned-toxic-filled Tupperware weeks later. Now imagine you have hundreds of thousands of containers to keep tabs on. How can you manage a massive amount of containers, get visibility into them, and handle non-negotiables like security and compliance? (Spoiler: It’s Kubernetes.)

What is Kubernetes used for?

Can I speak to the manager, please? 

Managing containerization can be tricky. (Heck, just typing the word “containerization” is tricky.) That’s where Kubernetes, a container-orchestration system, comes in. Kubernetes has quickly become the go-to solution for easy, efficient container management.

The origins of this super-powered container maestro can be traced back to Google circa 2014. Kubernetes was born as an internal Google tool and set free to flourish in the open-source wild. Today it’s used across all the major cloud platforms, but it remains an especially important piece of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) pie. You’ll find it at work in Capital One, Uber, Philips, eBay, and more than half of Fortune 100 companies. Not too shabby for a five-year-old.

For answers to your question, “What is container orchestration?” Check out our course!

Why is it called Kubernetes?

I’m the Kubernetes now

What’s with the weird name? Kubernetes is the Greek word for a ship’s captain. When it comes to containerized applications, Kubernetes takes the helm. It calls the shots around deploying containers, throttles up and down to scale, and manages communication between containers. If something isn’t running right, Kubernetes hits the kill switch and spins up a fresh copy. If a group of containers goes under, Kubernetes brings up new ones. And it does all this while using the minimum amount of resources. 

With Kubernetes on board, you don’t have to handle individual containers. Containers are sorted into groups called pods, which are managed by a service. You simply request a service and Kubernetes handles the heavy lifting. Meanwhile, you’re kicking back on the sundeck, tropical drink in hand without a container-managing care in the world. 

All major cloud providers offer a managed Kubernetes solution now. And because it’s open source, you can put Kubernetes to work on basically any platform. This makes it easier to move workloads from one cloud to another. It also means you get customizable functionality with hundreds of add-ons built by contributors in the community, including IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, and VMware.

TL;DR? It’s free, it’s open source, pretty much everyone uses it, and it’s awesome at what it does. That’s why Kubernetes is massive — and why it’s a must-know for anyone with a head in the cloud.

Why should you learn Kubernetes?

DevOps career opp(ortunities)  

Besides ensuring smooth sailing around containerization, Kubernetes presents a boatload of career possibilities for cloud practitioners.

Thousands of employers are seeking workers who know k8s. Whether you’re looking to level up your cloud game for a new job or just move up in the one you have, A Cloud Guru has the multi-cloud, platform-agnostic know-how and expertise to get you where you want to be.


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