There is one thing that we need to understand before we begin discussing how to use Kubernetes for enterprise application development. Kubernetes along with Docker plays an important role in app development. While docker containerizes enterprise apps, Kubernetes is responsible for orchestrating these containers. But that is an entirely different topic already covered in a different blog, you can read it here.
Coming back to the topic of this blog, Kubernetes is a useful orchestration tool. However, the issue is that there is not just one but multiple ways of getting things done using it. So, how to decide which Kubernetes approach you should use for desired results? Well, there are two ways to find out. Either try all approaches and then decide what works best for you or save your time and money by reading this blog in which I have briefly compared four approaches to use Kubernetes in enterprises. So, if have decided the latter, let’s move ahead:
1. Managing Kubernetes on a PaaS Platform
One of the best Kubernetes practices is to have it managed it on a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution. Pivotal Container Service (PKS) and OpenShift by Red Hat are some of the famous examples of this approach.
The best thing about managing Kubernetes on a PaaS platform is that it can easily get things done. First, we interpret the code. Then, we install the dependencies. Next, we perform containerization, and finally, we deploy the product.
However, the approach is not appropriate for fancy things like installing custom software. Another problem with this approach is there are too many restrictions on what developers can do with Kubernetes. This forces developers to rely on workarounds if certain things are not feasible.
2. Managing Kubernetes on the Cloud
One of the major reason enterprises choose to host Kubernetes on the Cloud is that it is convenient. We can save an ample amount of time and money by letting a cloud provider manage Kubernetes for us. Also, there are multiple options to choose from, such as Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS), and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).
However, this convenience comes at the price of vendor lock-ins. Apart from this, our choice of the technical stack gets restricted to what the cloud server thinks is best for us.
3. Having Kubernetes Managed by a third-party
We can also bring the best from Kubernetes by allowing a third-party vendor to manage it. These vendors offer to manage Kubernetes clusters in their own data center, on-premise, or in public cloud. We also get perks like 24×7 enterprise support.
High availability and simplified management are one of the major reasons we prefer having Kubernetes managed by a third-party vendor.
4. Native Kubernetes Platforms
Native Kubernetes platforms are closest to pure open-source Kubernetes. They integrate with multiple cloud providers, thus allowing users to manage Kubernetes clusters across multiple environments from a single control panel. In short, it will be a single Kubernetes management layer handling all the environments.
The only aspect in which the native Kubernetes platform differs from open-source Kubernetes is their user focus. While the native Kubernetes platform is more focused on user-friendliness, open-source Kubernetes offers more operational control and you can have access to more advanced capabilities of Kubernetes.
Which Kubernetes for enterprise approach is the best for your business?
Well, this depends on what business goal we want to achieve with the Kubernetes approach and how much operational control are we willing to offer.
In case, the ease-of-use is something we are looking for and customization is not what we want, for now, managing Kubernetes on a PaaS platform can be the best approach. However, if we are not comfortable giving up infrastructure control to the PaaS solution provider, it’s better to avoid it.
The ones willing to give up operational control to a cloud service provider and don’t have a problem with vendor lock-in, managing Kubernetes on the Cloud can be a great choice. However, we should avoid it if we have plans to integrate with other enterprise solutions or run apps in a hybrid/multi-cloud setup.
Having Kubernetes managed by a third-party vendor can be a great decision in case we are still building the Kubernetes expertise.
However, if we have a team that can effectively manage Kubernetes on its own, it’s better to opt for native Kubernetes platforms.
In a Nutshell
The Kubernetes approach for enterprise will depend on how much control we want to have, how much easy and flexible we want the solution to be, and how adapt we are as a company when it comes to adopting cloud solutions. We need to analyze what our business needs are and then continue with the available options.
Learn about 7 Kubernetes traps that developers should avoid at any cost.