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Exploring Kubernetes: Weighing the Pros and Cons of the Container Orchestration Giant

August 2nd, 2023 by Michał Kułaczkowski
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Like any other technology, the popular container orchestration platform Kubernetes, or K8s as it is often called too, has its own pros and cons. While most Kubernetes usage examples prove how effective the open-source Kubernetes may be, there are also exceptions.

In this article, you will find more information on Kubernetes advantages and disadvantages which should be considered before the deployment of this tool.

The Reasons to Use Kubernetes

Before you learn about the downsides of controlling automated processes with Kubernetes, let's dive into the pros of this container orchestration system.

Automation of Running Containers

Kubernetes efficiently meets its primary goal of automating the management of containerized applications, including the deployment process, load balancing, scaling, and monitoring software health.

Adopting Kubernetes enables DevOps teams to automate complex scaling processes. The platform manages individual containers and adjusts the number of running instances based on CPU and memory, while it also allows IT specialists to customize the desired state of software based on its declarative configuration approach.

Kubernetes also makes it possible for DevOps to automatically manage container distribution. The platform supports the distribution of incoming requests to available microservices and creates self-healing layers to ensure consistent work by assessing the state of containers and nodes, restarting the failed ones, and transferring processes to healthy ones without human supervision.

High Availability and Portability

Kubernetes can operate across different infrastructure providers due to the high abstraction of the underlying logic. This feature of Kubernetes makes it possible to leverage its support for deploying and running applications on different platforms without compromising their quality.

Cost Optimization

One of the biggest benefits of implementing Kubernetes is the fact that it is free and open-source.

In addition, Kubernetes' ability to increase application reliability greatly reduces costly downtime and associated costs, resulting in significant savings. At the same time, IT staff who uses Kubernetes benefits from the high level of automation that minimizes the need for manual work, which also contributes to savings.

There is also a selection of additional tools to further enhance the work of Kubernetes that can be used free of charge. For instance, the Azure Kubernetes pricing model includes a free tier for free Kubernetes cluster management.

What Is a Disadvantage of Adopting Kubernetes?

Despite the powerful containerized application management and Kubernetes cost savings, DevOps engineers should be prepared to deal with certain drawbacks of this tool.

Steep Learning Curve

Although learning new tools also comes with a certain effort, software development specialists who use Kubernetes often admit that this tool is particularly difficult to learn. Kubernetes experts need to know about containerization and orchestration and have a deep understanding of applications with microservice architecture and node clusters.

Resource and Infrastructure Requirements

While Kubernetes allows enterprises to automate container management and resource allocation, the platform itself is quite resource-consuming, especially when it comes to networking, cluster resource allocation, and storage orchestrator runtime for Kubernetes. The Kubernetes use cases where the costs incurred by this tool exceed the savings that Kubernetes provides are typical for organizations with limited resources and small-scale deployments.

Operational Complexity

Kubernetes makes it easy to automate application deployment and health monitoring processes, but managing Kubernetes itself can be quite a challenge. The platform requires constant monitoring and updating, as well as a DevOps team that is well familiar with Kubernetes.

Should I Use Kubernetes - When You Might Need Kubernetes?

Kubernetes can become a real savior to speed up the process of deploying applications featured with complex architecture based on microservices and especially when different comments require custom deployment and scaling.

Projects with high availability and scalability requirements, as well as environments supported by multiple cloud providers, will also benefit from adopting one of the distributions of Kubernetes.

However, it is important to keep in mind both advantages and disadvantages of Kubernetes. Its adoption will not be cost-effective for deploying and scaling simple applications. Such Kubernetes use cases are often illustrations of excessive complexity that adds unnecessary cost.

A DevOps team should also have sufficient resources to provide an adequate infrastructure required to run Kubernetes, as well as sufficient skills to use the platform efficiently. This also comes at a cost that should be considered, as it may not be affordable for certain projects.

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