DevOps Institute

Architect, Implement and Scale Kubernetes in Enterprise Environments

Cloud, Container Orchestration

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A SKILup Day Event Recap 

Recapped by Jaida Olvera

At Enterprise Kubernetes SKILup Day on March 15, 2023, leading experts and practitioners shared their stories of architecting, implementing and scaling Enterprise Kubernetes. They gave valuable insights into how they’ve used Kubernetes to overcome complex challenges and win at delivering better software, sooner and more safely.

If you missed the event, we’ve got a round-up of the top themes from the sessions and conversations around this incredibly important topic.

Why is Kubernetes Critical for Digital Transformation?

The digital transformation enablers of DevOps and Cloud are driving increasingly distributed computing and software architectures. This means that applications are being built as discrete functional parts i.e. as microservices. Now there are more parts to manage and what we’ve gained in our ability to make changes at speed, we’ve traded off with increased complexity. Teams need a policy-driven, automated solution that dictates how and where microservices and their containers will run. Kubernetes is an open-source, extensible microservices orchestrator designed to handle these challenges and monitor and manage these complex, distributed applications and environments. And, it’s become a de facto standard.

But installing, deploying, and managing Kubernetes is not that easy. 75% of users say that the complexity of implementation and operations is the top blocker to using Kubernetes in production. Teams have to consider security, multitenancy, and integration with their existing technology ecosystem when they think about using Kubernetes.

We’ll review key discussion points from the SKILup Day sessions in this post.

Enterprise Kubernetes SKILup Day speakers explored:

  • How SREs and DevOps practices support a solid Kubernetes adoption
  • How to speed up development and testing with code-level simulation
  • Enterprise Kubernetes – succeeding with apps, containers, and service mesh
  • Ways to lose data on Kubernetes (and how to avoid them)
  • How to organize your Git repository for GitOps
  • Prioritizing the complexities of Enterprise Kubernetes
  • Kubernetes and WebAssembly: to boldly go to new frontiers
  • How to manage Azure Kubernetes service encryption
  • From Kubernetes to PaaS: what’s next?

Support Kubernetes Adoption with SRE and DevOps

Eveline Oehrlich of DevOps Institute and Andreas Prins of Stackstate joined this SKILup Day for a fireside chat on why SRE and DevOps play critical roles in driving Kubernetes’ success. Their chat highlighted how organizations everywhere can pave the way for more successful Kubernetes implementations by prioritizing these two critical practices and roles. They explored how these disciplines each bring unique strengths to the table — DevOps delivers and deploys Kubernetes applications, while SRE is laser-focused on boosting service reliability. When these entities collaborate, they are better able to deliver high-quality, reliable Kubernetes implementations across the enterprise. 

Oehrlich and Prins also shared best practices for launching or improving a Kubernetes implementation in an enterprise setting. They also presented the benefits of fostering a collaborative culture so that you can emphasize knowledge sharing and tool usage, leading to accelerated delivery, superior quality and greater reliability.

How To Speed Up Development and Testing With Code-Level Simulation

Chris Colosimo of Tricentis explored the use of code-level simulation and contract tests that can be created ahead of service change to limit risk and promote constant innovation. In the session, Colosimo explained that the constant change demanded by API-first microservice initiatives can pose a “risk versus reward” concern. This fear of introducing breaking changes can impede innovation, particularly with infrastructure as code DevOps practices and undiscovered breaking changes can lead to irreparable brand damage.

He introduced code-level simulation and contract tests to promote innovative changes while avoiding “breaking the build.” He demonstrated how developers can construct and execute contract tests to achieve early validation on integration. 

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Enterprise Kubernetes – Succeeding with Apps, Containers, and Service Mesh

Micheal Kingston of NGINX by F5 introduced powerful capabilities of modern practices, including container orchestration and service mesh. Kingston indicated that microservices power our favorite digital experiences. 

His session identified the challenges faced by organizations that wish to adapt to a microservices infrastructure in Kubernetes. He also explored the benefits of modern app delivery in a containerized world, and how you can mitigate many of the complexities. 

How to Avoid Losing Data on Kubernetes

Robert Hodges of Altinity introduced classic ways that users can lose data on Kubernetes including:

  1. The single-copy catastrophe
  2. Blast-radius blues
  3. Affinity afflictions
  4. The persistent volume that wasn’t
  5. Fat fingers of fate

Hodges gave an overview of common ways to manage databases on Kubernetes and shared ways to protect yourself against data loss and how Kubernetes operators enable users to manage databases safely:

  1. Replicas
  2. Testing
  3. Distance
  4. Affinity Rules
  5. Reclaim Policies

His pro tip: use operators if available.

Organizing Your Git Repository for GitOps

Viktor Nagy of GitLab expressed that people often ask whether they should use branches or directories, and his recommendation is both. Nagy explained that Git was invented to track software development but it requires some adaptation and flex to use it for infrastructure.

He argued that you should forget the typical application development git patterns. His session included a recommended setup, and how they came up with it for managing deployments in git. He also defined what stateful architecture means, why it’s relevant, and where branches are being used and why.

Prioritizing the Complexities of Enterprise Kubernetes

In his session, Rey Lejano of SUSE emphasized that Kubernetes is highly configurable and extensible, but it’s also complex. He indicated that users are often confused about where to start their Cloud Native journey with Kubernetes, and complexities increase with day two operations.

Lejano presented how to implement day 2 operations such as monitoring, logging and security. He then provided an overview of GitOps for automating deployments and how to recognize infrastructure as code deployment and the various auto-scaling options.

Introducing WebAssembly and Kubernetes

Best-selling author and trainer Nigel Poulton joined SKILup Day to uncover a future where Kubernetes and WebAssembly work together to change the future of cloud computing: to boldly go where Kubernetes could never go before.

He expressed that virtual machines brought the first wave of cloud computing, followed by the second wave based on containers. He predicted that we’re about to experience the third which will be based on WebAssembly.

His session introduced WebAssembly in the cloud, and how it’ll make applications smaller, faster, more secure, and more portable and demonstrated how WebAssembly intersects with existing technologies such as Kubernetes.

Manage Azure Kubernetes Service Encryption

David Frappart of Cellenza shared subject matter expertise on how you can manage encryption with a Microsoft-managed Kubernetes solution, and how this potentially impacts operations. Frappart indicated that with the growing adoption of containerized workloads and Azure Kubernetes Service as a target, security topics are at the heart of architecturing discussions. He expressed that securing data through encryption capabilities of one cloud platform can rapidly become a headache. 

He then provided key insights into Azure Kubernetes Encryption’s option for the Worker plane and for the Control plane. He also showed how to identify the operational impact of encrypting Azure Kubernetes Service. 

From Kubernetes to PaaS: What’s Next?

Daniel Bryant of Datawire shared his real-world experience of building platforms. In his session, he overviewed the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) ecosystem through the developer control plane lens.

Bryant indicated that developers that are building applications on Kubernetes are being asked not only to just code applications, but also to be responsible for shipping and running their applications. He said that the need for a Kubernetes platform is often discussed, but you might be looking for a PaaS or some kind of developer control plane with a collection of tools that provides just the right amount of platform.

What’s Next?

For more insightful events, webinars, and in-person opportunities in 2023, stay up to date with the DevOps Institute event calendar:

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