“Kubernetes unlocks unlimited doors for scaling and collaboration and helps in deploying software faster.” This is one thing most developers have grown believing in. In fact, this is the reason why most companies are motivated to come forward and use Kubernetes in their development operations. They think it’s the wisest decision they can take in this time of increasing competition, modern technologies, advanced development practices, and digital transformation.
But they often forget that besides its pod-based conceptional magic and over-simplified way of working, there are also a few Kubernetes Traps that developers need to be aware of. Otherwise, Kubernetes can turn out to be a deployment nightmare. So, what are these Kubernetes traps? Well, we are going to read about them in this blog. Let’s begin:
1. Planning the tool-set in advance
One of the most daunting Kubernetes traps is to choose from hundreds of open tool-sets that the Kubernetes platform offers. Each tool-set offers a particular set of advantages and disadvantages. So, deciding which one is the best for product development can be a little tricky.
What to do?
The best thing is to see your requirements and go for the tool-set that meets them effectively. One common trend that you can follow while choosing a tool-set for developer requirements is to avoid any manual steps.
Another you must keep in mind is to ensure that the tool-set meets all the development requirements. Code is complete for a developer, only if it has a complete set of automation code for everything from the direct runtime environment to monitoring critical KPIs, scaling and upgrading the app or service, and defining key parameters to match the application with Kubernetes clusters and pods optimally.
Kubernetes is just a construction kit, not a fully-fledged solution. You can’t get everything ready-made in it. The tool relies on other services offered by open-source projects for functioning. To make the best use of Kubernetes, you will have to bundle/integrate it with other technologies. You will have to see what works for you and apply workarounds for things that don’t work.
2. Managing Kubernetes from the command line (Kubectl)
Kubernetes feels like magic at first. Run a small YAML file to specify an application you want to run, and Kubernetes will do so. Make a change in the file and apply, and voila! The application will also update in real-time.
No wonder developers begin to rely on it too soon. After all, exploring Kubernetes using Kubectl is so intriguing. But we suggest that they should not depend on it too much.
It is because Kubernetes is designed for configuration as code paradigm, and all those YAML files belong in a Git repository. So, the best idea will be to make all the changes in a repo and then implement changes to production through an automated pipeline. Here are a few options that you might consider:
- Continuous Integration (CI) tools like Jenkins and CircleCI
- Continuous Deployments (CD) tools like Harness and CodeFresh
- GitOps tools like Flux
You can use Kubectl to troubleshoot issues in Kubernetes. But don’t use it for cluster management.
3. Getting the Git Right
“Though shall know and master a git!” This commandment makes a lot of sense for developers. It is completely right for Kubernetes as well.
Although, the problem is that Kubernetes is a new platform and a lot of work has to be done in it. So, this will present a learning curve for all the developers.
Here are a few problems they will possibly face:
- Installing, integrating, and operating Git is complicated – and there is you have no other choice than educating yourself.
- Automation is not perfect and involves a lot of troubles. But the problem is that it plays a crucial role in production deployment on Kubernetes. It can result in a big issue.
- Since you would probably not want to run your database in a container, stateful applications are hard to deal with.
- Storage and network approaches can be different for different cloud providers and may lead to portability and resiliency concerns.
- Scaling the deployment environment can be challenging since you can risk hard locking the scheduler.
- Service meshes may add to more complexity in the apps.
- Applications have to add more health checks for ensuring that the micro-service fabric remains intact.
4. Forgetting about resource allocation
Another Kubernetes Traps is that developers might make while setting up Kubernetes is forgetting to define resources like requests and limits for containers. It is a serious concern. Without resource allocation, how would you make sure that the containers you are orchestrating are getting the CPU and RAM they need.
Here is what will happen if you forget to set requests:
Resource requests let the scheduler know how many resources we can expect an application to consume. While assigning pods to nodes, Kubernetes allocates resources in such a way that all the resource requirements are effectively met.
Now, if you don’t assign any requests, Kubernetes will pack all the pods into a handful of notes. As a result, they will not get the necessary resources, and the cluster will not scale it up when needed.
This is what happens when you forget to set resource limits:
The function of resource limits is to let the container know how much resources are allowed for an application to consume. For example, if you set a CPU limit, an application will only consume that specific CPU time, nothing more. The same will happen in memory limits and other resource limits.
Now, if you forget to set resource limits, a single pod will consume all the CPU or memory available on the node, which will result in other pods to either get starved of CPU or hit Out of Memory errors.
So, one of the first things that developers should do while setting up Kubernetes is to define requests and limits for each container. In case you are still not sure how much resources a container might need, make a wild guess. But be on the higher side just to be safe. You can also monitor the resource usage using your cloud provider or APM tools like AppDynamics.
5. Not keeping developers in the loop
Robust infrastructure, clean upgrades, easy scalability, and self-healing services: Kubernetes has a lot to offer.
Although all these things are not a priority for developers. They are more concerned about:
- How to build and run their code?
- How to understand what their code is doing in the development, testing, and integration phase?
- How to find and fix the bugs reported in the QA and production environments?
This completely shuts developers from the DevOps process. Developers might rely on the code-level visibility, but it is often poor in these environments and directly accessing the application and its filesystem is virtually impossible. This often results in miscommunications. So, it’s important to understand while we get everyone to see how it is benefiting them, developers must also have access to the right tools so that they understand what their code is doing in the development, staging, and production environment.
6. Trying to boil the ocean
Given the exciting benefits Kubernetes offers, organizations often get excited and try to reap all the benefits it offers. And while doing so, they forget that some of these benefits require huge overall architecture changes to your application. This usually results in heavy costs and a dis
Don’t make this mistake. Changing the entire architecture will be difficult. So, don’t containerize it all. Instead, go like the process of smoking meat. Go nice and slow. Start with changing the bits of the app that are easy to change and then move towards processes that are more difficult.
7. Choosing the DIY Route instead of hiring right level of expertise
Many developers forget that Kubernetes is not a single application running on a single machine. Instead, it’s an ecosystem of different applications and network layers that are closely integrated for producing the final solution (Docker, etcd, SDN overlay, Ingress Controllers, LB, Kubelet, kube-proxy, kube-apiserver, etc.). Managing Kubernetes will require a certain level of expertise, let alone maintaining it in production with the software running on top.
So, make sure you hire right people first and avoid falling for this Kubernetes traps. This will prevent you from making mistakes and get the best of Kubernetes.
By keeping these Kubernetes traps in mind developers can prevent themselves from getting themselves into unnecessary bottlenecks and wasting their time and money. This can ultimately lead to better productivity.
For better understanding the use of Kubernetes, read our blog on different Kubernetes approaches to enterprise development. You will find it helpful.