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Centralizing Cloud-Native Dev: Mastering Kubernetes Operations

Kay James
April 30, 2024 | 10 min read
Centralizing Cloud-Native Development

Cloud native
development has revolutionized the way organizations build and deploy applications. At the forefront of this transformation is Kubernetes, a battle-tested and widely adopted platform that enables centralized cloud native development. K8s has witnessed remarkable growth and adoption since its inception, and according to a survey conducted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), 91% of respondents reported using Kubernetes in production, showcasing its dominance in the industry. This trend is expected to continue in 2024 as more organizations recognize the benefits of Kubernetes for managing containerized applications at scale.

The Need for Centralization

Successful cloud-native implementations often require the creation of a centralized platform that brings together various components. This centralized approach provides a "paved path" for developers and engineering teams, streamlining the delivery and release processes. Centralization in cloud-native development best practices can provide several benefits:

  • More Resource Optimization: Centralization allows for better resource allocation and utilization. By consolidating resources, such as servers, storage, and networking, organizations can optimize their infrastructure and reduce costs. This also reduces the complexity of managing multiple distributed systems and improves operational efficiency.
  • Easier Scalability: With a centralized approach, organizations can quickly scale their applications and services by adding or removing resources as needed. This ensures that the system can handle increased workloads without compromising performance.
  • Enhanced Security and Compliance: Centralization helps improve security and compliance measures. By centralizing data and applications, organizations can implement robust security controls and ensure consistent compliance with industry regulations. It becomes easier to monitor and manage security policies, access controls, and data protection measures.
  • Further Collaboration and Standardization: Centralization promotes collaboration and standardization across teams, providing a common platform and set of tools for development, deployment, and operations. This enables teams to work together more effectively. Standardization also helps ensure consistency in development practices, reducing errors and improving overall quality.

Enter Kubernetes

Often, Kubernetes technology will emerge as the go-to solution for centralizing cloud native development. Its widespread adoption and robust features made it the ideal choice for many organizations. By leveraging Kubernetes , teams could adopt well-known tools and establish a standardized approach to managing clusters and packaging applications. A few other benefits of K8s adoption include:

  • Container Orchestration: Kubernetes simplifies the management and orchestration of containers. It allows developers to define and deploy containerized applications, manage their lifecycle, and scale them easily. K8s automates tasks like container scheduling, load balancing, and scaling, freeing up developers to focus on writing code rather than managing infrastructure. Also, K8s helps optimize resource allocation and utilization by allowing developers to define resource requirements and limits for containers, ensuring that applications have the necessary resources to run efficiently.
  • Scalability and Availability: Kubernetes enables developers to scale applications horizontally by adding or removing instances of containers based on demand. It automatically distributes the workload across the available resources, ensuring high availability and efficient resource utilization. This allows applications to handle increased traffic and maintain performance without manual intervention.
  • Service Discovery and Load Balancing: Kubernetes provides built-in service discovery and load balancing mechanisms. Developers can define services and expose them to other components within the cluster. Kubernetes automatically assigns a unique DNS name to each service, making it easy for other services to discover and communicate with them. Load balancing ensures that traffic is evenly distributed across the available instances of a service.
  • Self-Healing and Fault Tolerance: Kubernetes monitors the health of containers and services. If a container or node fails, Kubernetes automatically restarts or reschedules the failed components to ensure high availability. It also provides mechanisms for rolling updates and canary deployments, allowing developers to update applications without downtime or impacting users.

The Role of Collaborative Teams

While tools like Kubernetes are essential, the success of cloud native implementations heavily relies on collaborative teams and often, you’ll need brand-new teams formed to work on platform implementation.

For example, you may be in need of a core platform team and the application delivery team (DevOps) to separately complete the migration to the cloud and other tasks you want to check off within your dream of being cloud-native friendly. Collaboration between these teams is key, as developers can learn from the DevOps team's expertise in areas such as Docker container creation, CI/CD tooling, and application deployment, and the DevOps team can rely on the platform team to streamline the cloud native movement.

The Importance of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE):

To ensure optimal performance and observability, a third team, site reliability engineering (SRE), can also make for a smoother migration. The SRE team can focus on monitoring and troubleshooting, ensuring that the platform solves the intended problems within the allocated budget. The success of SREs in providing valuable insights and observability hinges on effective collaboration and communication between the different teams.

Ultimately, getting to the point where SREs can focus on insight and observability rests on healthy collaboration and communication between the different teams. Oftentimes, this requires a certain level of education. For example, check out how one technology leader created a micro-open-source (innersource) community within her organization and explained how this kind of movement and upskilling and education at the right time contributes to both the developer journey and the success of real-world projects.

As a side note, it’s important to note that the role of Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) has evolved to focus on implementing the right tools and processes to support deployment and to provide the first line of defense against downtime and system failure. Historically, SREs have often 'come to the rescue' for deployment and operational issues, taking the lead in deciding how applications are deployed, determining when something needs to be rolled back or modified, and adjusting health checks and monitoring.

The Power of the Cloud Native Community

As an added bonus, you’re not alone in your move to be cloud native, and the community of CNCF is also a great resource and network of people to tap into. CNCF is the open source, vendor-neutral hub of cloud native computing, hosting projects like Kubernetes and Prometheus to make cloud native universal and sustainable. The open source ethos, which underpins the cloud native movement, promotes transparency, openness, and the freedom to collaborate and build upon existing solutions. The cloud native community can play a pivotal role in driving innovation and knowledge sharing during your organization’s transformation by providing a deeper understanding of cloud native concepts. Engaging with maintainers of these projects and contributing to the community can also foster a sense of collaboration and enable your team to leverage the collective wisdom of the community.

Centralizing Cloud Native Development is an Ongoing Process

Centralizing cloud native development is crucial to harnessing the full potential of Kubernetes and other cloud native technologies. By creating a centralized platform, organizations can streamline development processes and deliver a cohesive customer experience. Collaborative teams, supported by effective communication and upskilling, help get those successful cloud-native implementations over the finish line. When in doubt–the vibrant cloud native community, built on the principles of open source, serves as a valuable resource for knowledge sharing and innovation.

What’s your example of a time you interacted with the cloud native community or built something awesome on K8s? For more K8s resources, explore our blog or subscribe to the Livin’ on the Edge podcast.

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