Kubernetes has quickly made a name for itself as one of the most popular cloud technologies. The power of Kubernetes is in its ability to effortlessly manage complex application stacks comprised of multiple containers that communicate seamlessly with each other. Users declare the containerized application stack’s desired state (for example, using YAML files), and Kubernetes creates all resources needed for the given configuration.
Kubernetes has become the leading container orchestrator, as more and more companies have started to adapt their infrastructure to run on Kubernetes. This trend is only expected to grow according to Clyde Seepersad, SVP and GM, training, and certification at The Linux Foundation:
“There’s no sign of slowing in terms of Kubernetes – and cloud-native generally – adoption. I expect to see more organizations continue their move to the cloud and increase their use of microservices, serverless, and other cloud-native technologies. Most significantly, I expect that more organizations will realize the important interplay between Kubernetes, Linux, and DevOps.”
The ease of using Kubernetes is a huge advantage for users, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Let’s take a look at some of the common problems organizations face in their Kubernetes journey.
Storage in Kubernetes – a Significant Stumbling Block
Storage management is one of the more advanced challenges on the road to using containers at scale. Kubernetes allows you to use a storage system of your choice automatically, for example:
- Direct attached storage (where disks are attached directly to nodes)
- Storage devices accessible through a network file system protocol such as NFS, CIFS, and GlusterFS
- HostPath – a directory on the host’s OS disk
- Cloud Provider storage such as AWS EBS or GCE PD
These different approaches for storage are useful for different things – depending on your application’s requirements. For example:
- Directly attached storage is usually the way to go when you need extremely high performance.
- Network file systems are suitable for cases in which you have multiple containers on multiple nodes that need to access the same files.
- Cloud block storage (EBS, Azure disk, etc.) is probably the safest bet for general-purpose databases.
Another thing to consider is the resiliency and availability requirements of your application. For the most part, these solutions are confined to a single availability zone or cloud region. If you need your application to be able to survive an availability zone failure, you need a solution that offers data replication – whether it is on the storage level or the application level.
Setting Up K8s Networking can Pose a Challenge
Networking is another area that can pose a challenge to your container journey. Different parts of an application may have different communication requirements that you need to consider when designing how your containers will communicate with each other, and with the outside world.
There are numerous ways of connecting containers to one another – from service meshes and proxies to host NIC binding and port forwarding. Each is good for a different use case.
On top of that, there is a lot to consider when it comes to deciding how your customer-facing services would be exposed to the internet – which load balancer to use? How to configure the DNS depending on where the service is currently running?
And finally, what do you do with networking that only exists to facilitate replication between different locations? Can it go through the internet? How do you correctly assign your subnets, secure the communication, and set up routing?
Scaling Kubernetes Environments – a Complex Task
When you are designing your applications, the need to scale up and down becomes critical, especially in highly dynamic cloud-native deployments. Not only must infrastructure scale rapidly, but you also have to consider the costs of it all.
If your infrastructure is poorly equipped for scale, it’s a major disadvantage.
Lack of automation, complexity, and high volumes of data make scaling stateful apps on Kubernetes a daunting task. You can’t afford any errors, as outages are extremely harmful to revenue and user experience for any company that operates in real-time or with mission-critical applications. The same is true for customer-facing services that rely on Kubernetes.
The complexity of IT environments and numerous applications that companies must manage have made the problem more difficult for these organizations, which include:
- Difficulty managing multiple clouds, clusters, designated users, or policies
- Complex installation and configuration
- Differences in user experience depending on the environment
Another disadvantage of scaling is that the Kubernetes infrastructure may not be compatible with other tools. Expansion is a complex process already, and integration issues do not help matters.
In addition, many companies lack targeted training on how to use Kubernetes effectively.
It’s easy to get sucked into “trying things out” or playing around with different tools and options to find the right one. The problem is that many people start this journey without having any idea what they are trying to accomplish or how it will impact their infrastructure in the long term. This approach can lead to great frustration, wasted time, and serious problems down the road.
Lack of in-house K8s Expertise
The number of organizations that have adopted containers has grown rapidly, but many organizations still face a steep learning curve when it comes to deploying, maintaining, and operating them properly.
Based on the results of a recent survey, a lack of experience and expertise was the top-cited challenge among 67% of survey respondents. The lack of knowledge about how component and container technologies work in conjunction with the cloud infrastructure has been a major problem for organizations. Experienced Kubernetes experts are worth their weight in gold, and hiring and retaining talent can become a serious impediment to successful Kubernetes deployments.
According to Eric Drobisewski, senior architect at Liberty Mutual:
“The globally diverse and open engineering community, which has helped create a vibrant cloud-native ecosystem, will accelerate. People seeking to build knowledge and skills related to Kubernetes and the cloud-native ecosystem will continue to expand, as will the need for organizations of all sizes to onboard engineers with these skills to enable critical transformational work.”
How Statehub Solves These Challenges?
Statehub is a managed Kubernetes Data Fabric created to solve the challenges that organizations face when deploying Kubernetes.
Here are some of the features that make Statehub Kubernetes Data Fabric stand out:
- A managed solution that’s easy to deploy, manage and support. It makes it possible for organizations of any size to get up and running quickly with stateful containers. No need to spend time on infrastructure maintenance or cluster management.
- Simple setup process through a simple web interface, without the need to run any additional tools that takes 30 seconds.
- A Kubernetes-native solution that delivers scalability for stateful containers at a fraction of the cost
- Effortless data availability across public cloud regions, turning data into an always available, declarative resource.
We provide the automation, insights, and expertise to help you scale Kubernetes at any level. Try it today.