Kubernetes DevOps: The Perfect Match

January 18, 2022

Kubernetes is a great enabler of DevOps practices. Yet, it is complex to manage. With GitOps, you can get the best of both worlds - Kubernetes & DevOps.

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Kubernetes has had a meteoric rise over the past few years as organizations have made the switch to containerized workloads and application infrastructure, leveraging the scalability that Kubernetes offers. Simultaneously, DevOps as a culture has taken off and has become almost the default approach to software development, testing, and deployment, allowing organizations to accelerate the pace at which they deliver applications and services to customers. While these two things may seem mutually exclusive, Kubernetes and DevOps go hand-in-hand, with Kubernetes enabling and enhancing DevOps strategy. Together, they have become an essential part of agile software development and delivery.

What exactly is DevOps?

DevOps is a philosophy, a methodology, an approach that drives software development and deployment in an organization. It essentially bridges the gap between development and operations teams, who previously operated independently from each other in siloes. DevOps merges the processes and workflows of development and operations teams and gives them a shared infrastructure and toolchain, aka pipelines. This approach allows each team to gain visibility into the other’s processes so that they can collaborate to identify issues early on in the process. 

Tune in to our podcast episode with Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Gene Kim as he discusses the ways of working with DevOps: DevOps foundation and future

Containers and DevOps

As DevOps gained traction, teams were cobbling together pipelines from several independent tools, which meant that they had to be customized to integrate these diverse tools. This approach quickly became inefficient when adding a tool required the entire pipeline to be rebuilt. Containerization offered a solution to the problem.

Containers are software units that package all the code and dependencies required to run an application or service in any software environment. By creating a modular infrastructure based on microservices that run in containers, organizations could create flexible, portable pipelines that were built on containers. This allowed them to add or modify tools without disrupting the whole process, enabling continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to be built and function seamlessly.

Kubernetes and DevOps

However, as DevOps teams shifted to containerized workloads, the issue of orchestration and scalability emerged. That’s where Kubernetes entered the picture. Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration system that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containers, offering a means for enterprises to manage enormous workloads that involve the deployment of thousands of containers. Kubernetes has since become an important part of a successful DevOps strategy as it adds resilience, reliability, and scale to DevOps projects. Learn more in this article on “What DevOps is to the Cloud, GitOps is to Cloud Native

Here are some critical features of Kubernetes that enable DevOps:

Infrastructure and configuration as code: Everything in Kubernetes can be constructed “as code,” which means your access controls, databases, ports, etc, for your tools and applications and your environment configurations are all declarative and stored in a source repository. This code can then be version controlled so that it is easier for teams to push changes in configurations and infrastructure to Kubernetes.

In fact, this ideal of declaring everything as code is best embodied in GitOps principles. Here, Git is used as the single source of truth, and everything from application code, to resource configuration, to deployment processes are defined in Git. In this way, GitOps unites Kubernetes and DevOps in the simplest way possible - using Git.

Support for hybrid strategies: As organizations make the shift toward cloud-native strategies, it becomes increasingly important for their teams to have tools that can be seamlessly integrated across platforms and frameworks. Whether on-premises, at the edge, in the public or private cloud, or across different cloud service providers (CSPs), Kubernetes can flexibly orchestrate your containers and protect you from vendor lock-in.

Updates with zero downtime: Kubernetes offers automated deployment and update rollback features so that you can seamlessly release new updates with no application or service downtime. With a container-based CI/CD pipeline, tools and applications are divided across several microservices in containers. Kubernetes rolls out updates to individual containers without disrupting the other functions of an application or tool. Kubernetes also makes it easier to test in production so that any bugs and vulnerabilities are spotted before an update is deployed.

Increased efficiency and productivity: Kubernetes allocates resources to applications and services efficiently and only as needed, reducing overhead costs and optimizing server usage. Kubernetes also improves efficiency in terms of development by giving instant feedback and alerts to developers about their code, speeding up the process of bug fixing and reducing time to market.

Runs anywhere: Finally, as mentioned earlier, Kubernetes can be deployed across several platforms and frameworks and run anywhere in a company’s infrastructure. This allows teams to seamlessly integrate it into their pipelines and toolchains without having to shift to a completely different infrastructure.

Kubernetes DevOps Tools

However, despite its many benefits, Kubernetes can be quite complex to set up and maintain, requiring highly skilled resources. One solution that supports Kubernetes DevOps is Weave GitOps, a continuous delivery tool that allows you to run apps in any Kubernetes. It simplifies the process of enabling GitOps in your cluster and running your apps on it through just two commands. Through Weave GitOps, all code changes are committed to git and released through pull requests, ensuring that there is a record of every update to applications or configurations. Weave GitOps continuously scans for new versions and manages dependencies to update deployments instantaneously and securely. It significantly reduces the complexity of running Kubernetes clusters, offering developer-friendly automated pipelines, observability, and Prometheus monitoring. Weave GitOps is essentially an automation and management platform for DevOps teams that enables continuous delivery and observability for GitOps workflows. It uses Git for version control, storing declarative infrastructure and applications in a single source of truth. Weave GitOps simplifies DevOps workload observability through its troubleshooting dashboards that monitor application health and generate alerts.

In conclusion, Kubernetes and DevOps are a natural fit for each other. However, operationalizing this can be daunting given the complexity. With a solution like Weave GitOps, you can leverage the built-in best practices for adopting a Kubernetes DevOps approach to software delivery. This can accelerate your journey in the cloud, and enable you to have seamless software delivery end-to-end.


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