Article January 18th, 2017
Accelerating time-to-market with microservices, containers, and Kubernetes
Microservices- and container-based architectures along with their technologies, such as Kubernetes, have been the buzzword in every IT development and operations team. So, what’s behind the buzz? And why should enterprise and corporate organizations invest in Kubernetes or other container technologies?
First, some background
In recent years, infrastructure best practices have shown an unwavering trend towards moving away from “simple” monoliths to “complex” microservices architecture. Microservices are broken-down applications that are easier to develop and maintain for programmers.
“The drive to break down monoliths can come from scaling problems, code maintenance issues, or the desire to take advantages of dynamic and managed infrastructure such as in provided by the Cloud”, wrote Gabe Hicks, CTO of Dev9, in his article Are Monoliths Doomed for Extinction.
Microservices reside in their own container, which “offers a logical packaging mechanism in which applications can be abstracted from the environment in which they actually run,” states Google Cloud. “This decoupling allows container-based applications to be deployed easily and consistently, regardless of whether the target environment is a private data center, the public cloud, or even a developer’s personal laptop.”
What are the business and organizational benefits?
For IT development and operations teams, containerization brings the most value in efficiency. It “provides a clean separation of concern” allowing developers to focus on their application logic and dependencies. IT operations teams now can focus of deployment and management” without altering application details. This leads to decreased time-to-market by virtue of increased productivity due to faster application deployment and portability.
Perhaps the most compelling reason for a microservices- and container-based architecture is the agility to scale to demand that will reduce the all too common “growing pains” in companies expanding beyond current markets. Developers can ensure container applications are “scalable and dependable using clustering, scheduling, and automation deployment and management of the containers,” said Hicks.
Planning your modernization move with intent
However, before microservices and containers can work as intended, businesses must adopt fundamental infrastructure and process best-practice to support containers. While the move towards container-based architecture is valuable, the implication to your underlying infrastructure is not to be underestimated. With microservices and containers – each layer is stacked on top of the others below. Meaning, if you change anything in the first layer to update a container, you need to make corresponding changes in lower layers. This is where a specialized technology can help mitigate risk and optimize adoption.
TechBeacon advises “updating processes for production-scale container adoption necessitates looking at teams, responsibilities and tool chains in order to remove constraints and increase flexibility and agility. Objectives, for example, should include dispensing with manual oversight when it comes to putting containers into production.” Eventually, organizations should adopt automation in the place of resource-consuming manual oversight.
Steering enterprise container applications with Kubernetes
Orchestration and automation of containers is where Kubernetes comes in:
“Kubernetes automates rollouts and rollbacks, monitoring the health of your services to prevent bad rollouts before things go bad. It also continuously runs health checks against your services, restarting containers that fail or have stalled, and only advertising services to clients when it has confirmed they’ve started up successfully” writes Google Cloud.
In addition, Kubernetes will automatically scale your services up or down based off of utilization, ensuring you’re only running what you need, when you need it – this optimizes compute resource usage. Like containers, “Kubernetes allows you to declaratively manage your cluster, allowing your setup to be version controlled and easily replicated.”
Making the leap
Whatever the driver for breaking down monoliths, the smaller components offered by microservices are easier to develop and maintain for programmers. The tools to help operations manage this growing number of applications are rapidly advancing. Making the move to microservices- and container-based architecture with orchestration and automation support from Kubernetes, is a no-brainer.
To recap the benefits of this architecture are:
- Decreased time-to-market by virtue of faster application deployment and portability
- Developer productivity
- Agility to scale to demand
- Optimized compute resource usage
As a final note, to achieve a healthy microservices- and containers-based architecture with Kubernetes orchestration, organizations need to ready their infrastructure and processes. This infrastructure optimization is a challenge for any IT and Operations teams, because it requires a highly-specialized skill set. Businesses will reap the most value by engaging a technology partner, such as Dev9, who is capable of identifying technology gaps that will hinder adoption and developing a strategy to ensure is starting off your modernization efforts on the right step.
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