Understanding Kubernetes: What Is It and How Does It Work?

There are two ways to make a complex application run faster on your computer. One is to containerize the app and its features, running a lightweight virtual version of each module. The other is to virtualize the resources, making a server’s CPU and RAM available to all virtualized programs evenly, without one muscling out the others for performance. Virtualize both the app and the resources, and you have a fully dynamic platform on which to build or run your programs. But let’s say you don’t just want to dynamically load and run individual apps — you want to dynamically load and run lightweight components of your app. For example, loading as many front-end instances as needed while maintaining a single virtualized back-end. To do this, the best tool in the industry is Kubernetes.

What Is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is the Greek word for pilot or helmsman. In this case, the Kubernetes software is at the helm of a vast virtual network. The 3-syllable, 10-letter word is often shortened to K8s, with the 8 representing the eight letters in between the K and S. 

Where Kubernetes Came From

K8s was initially developed by Google as a part of their modularizing and streamlining efforts. However, the tool was so useful that Google eventually donated the platform to the CNCF, or Cloud Native Computing Foundation where it became available to everyone in the industry. 

What Is Kubernetes, Really?

Kubernetes is an open-source platform to handle lightweight virtual containerization and deployment of individual applications and application parts. K8s makes it possible to pair an app with its necessary libraries in a way that can be popped in and out of a program. 

Kubernetes is a platform that controls how and where containers will run. This makes it possible to modularize not just entire apps, but parts of apps and server systems to switch out modules freely without negatively impacting performance or resource allotment for the server. K8s allows apps to share a virtualized server, including the operating system layer which, previously, was stored individually in each containerized program. The containerization with K8s is lightweight and interchangeable because the app-containers only carry what they need, usually libraries that contain the stats and variables each app needs to access.

Most importantly, Kubernetes allows you to deploy your software across multiple servers with the same reliable lightweight performance.

How Kubernetes Works

The first step for a K8s deployment is to work through virtual servers. While you can use K8s on a local computer or physical server, the platform works best when allocating virtualized resources to containerized virtual apps. The virtual resources come from very real physical servers. The process takes the physical capabilities of the servers and represents them virtually to be more fairly allocated to each virtual container.

The great thing about virtualized servers is it doesn’t matter how many or few physical servers you have, you can even switch them out at will. K8s can treat all your physical servers as if they are cloud servers, sharing the collective resources with the loaded apps.

Containerize Apps and Processes

The apps themselves are containerized in a very lightweight and interchangeable way. The especially lightweight design is what Kubernetes is known for. Apps that have been containerized are, in a way, set into their own VM (virtual machine) which forms the container. Each program’s use of resources is controlled by the platform. Apps are given a fair amount of the servers’ resources and treat those resources like they were all one computer and operating system.

The containerized apps include everything they need to run independently, or as independently as you need them. One of the signatures of Kubernetes is bundling apps with their own libraries while leaving apps to function together in a shared operating system. The containerization ensures that each app can be loaded and unloaded at will, making it excellent for dynamic online deployment of websites and services.

Manage and Scale With Dynamic App Deployment

Kubernetes is incredibly scalable. With containerized apps and subprogram modules, you can scale dynamically with any system you’ve plugged in. Scaling makes it possible to go big, implementing a large number of virtual container-programs to reach and serve a growing audience. Dynamic app deployment allows you to deploy only the apps (and aspects) as needed to handle the digital clouds. If you need more instances of the front-end or even to bring more servers into the bank, virtualization makes this both possible and easy.

Cloud Accessibility and Deployment

The final layer is cloud access and location-agnostic resource use. Kubernetes creates containerized programs and subprograms that don’t have to be run in the initial environment. In fact, because they are self-contained and entirely virtual, Kubernetes containers and server environments can be easily uploaded to the cloud, shared with team members, and deployed remotely in an all-new system built from the same modular virtual pieces.

Kubernetes in the Tech World

Why is Kubernetes taking the tech world by storm? It’s the tool we all need for dynamic, lightweight, and location-agnostic development and implementation. And it’s open-source. Kubernetes is the software darling of development studios because it is simultaneously flexible and practical. In fact, designing for K8s has a way of inspiring more organized processes and subsystems so that each element of a complex program can be containerized and run independently. K8s at once enables scalable software deployment and modularized software development. It’s no wonder that Kubernetes is quickly becoming an essential part of modern software development stacks.

Is your team ready to streamline, virtualize, and containerize your processes? Implementing K8s is a profound upgrade to most modern businesses, even those offering software and online platforms as a service. If the dynamic, cloud-based, and interchangeably lightweight nature of Kubernetes development sounds right for your team, contact us today. Every team and business model is unique, and implements the highly flexible platform to their own best design. If you are ready to deploy using Kubernetes, we are ready to help.

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