Kubernetes: the technology that enables cloud applications

BioPass ID maintains a modern infrastructure that combines security, robustness and agility to meet market demands. It is built with hundreds of applications, the platform requires a hosting structure that can support the challenges of systems designed for the cloud. Kubernetes, a container orchestrator, fulfills this role.

Below, find out how Kubernets works and its advantages.

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is considered the industry standard Container Orchestrator for hosting applications using Containers in the cloud. Using it, you can ensure:

  • high availability;
  • self-healing, feature provided for self-correction 
  • simple and effective scalability.

Originally, this orchestrator was developed in Google's labs as a way to host the thousands of Containers managed by infrastructure teams. Over time, it was released to the public as a free and open source project, and later donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the current manager of Kubernetes.

Source: https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes, Kubernetes repository.

The Kubernetes project on Github has more than 43,000 contributors, making it one of the most popular open source projects.

What is Container?

To better understand the advantages of Kubernetes, we first need to talk about what Containers are.

Source: Picture of Chanaka in Pexels

Containers can be described as a type of virtualization, at the operating system level, that encapsulates application processes. With this technology, it is possible to run multiple application processes on the same computer in a secure and isolated environment.

Unlike the well known operating system virtualization, which simulates a complete operating system, Containers running on the same server share the basic resources of the host operating system. This way, only the application is needed, which will be encapsulated with all the resources and libraries needed to run. 

Therefore, Container-based applications are easily hosted and replicated on other servers, promoting what is known as idempotency, which is the ability to replicate multiple times and get the same result every time. This ends with the popular argument "but on my machine it works".

The name itself already denotes that the Container is like a big closed box with an application and all the files needed to run it. Like a ship container, it is ready to be sent to other servers, where it can be started.

Container Orchestration: bringing order to chaos

Now that we have seen what Containers are, we need to consider other aspects that an application must have in order to run in the cloud. 

We can say that Containers are the foundation of the BioPass ID application infrastructure. However, just like lego pieces, Containers don't do much on their own.

Containers, in general, simply stop working when they experience problems with its operation. A Container, by itself, will not start making copies of itself to deal with growing demand, or switch servers when it realizes that the server is overloaded.

This is why and for this reason, you need to include a Container orchestrator, such as Kubernetes.  It is the orchestrator's role to run the containerized applications in an organized manner, either on on-premises infrastructure or in cloud systems. 

Viktor Farcic, software evangelist and DevOps culture, in his book The DevOps 2.3 Toolkit, makes an interesting analogy between Container orchestrators and kids playing soccer. 

Imagine Containers in a server cluster, like kids in a small school soccer field.

Source: Adria Crehuet Cano’s Picture in Unsplash

Just like a group of kids kicking a ball around like a "every man for himself!", alone, the Containers cannot work as a team to achieve a goal. Setting goals and observing the team's individual and collective performance is the coach's job.

In the similar way that the coach defines the team's strategy, makes substitutions, and defines the team lineup, it is the Container orchestrator's role to observe the state of the server cluster and define where each one will run. If they have problems, it is the orchestrator who will define their replacement.

The Challenges of a Container Orchestrator

Hosting complex applications in the cloud is one of the big challenges that Kubernetes sets out to solve, and this is not an easy task. As complexity increases, so do the challenges of monitoring, maintaining healthy, and even publishing these applications.

Professor and researcher at Integral University in India, Asif Khan, in his article Key Characteristics of a Container Orchestration Platform to Enable a Modern Application, lists the main characteristics that a Container orchestrator should have, they are:

  • High availability and fault tolerance: when an error is found, the application is automatically fixed, even before the intervention of an infrastructure analyst or a customer complaint;
  • Service discovery: the application must be able to communicate with the supporting services and all other parties regardless of which server it is on;
  • Continuous Delivery (CD): it must be possible to publish a new version of an application or even just part of it without affecting users who are running it. This delivery should be done in stages and with the possibility of being undone in case of error;
  • Monitoring and governance: it is necessary to observe resource consumption in order to be prepared to increase the number of servers in the cluster, as well as to identify failure patterns in certain parts of the application and be aware of this without having to look at the environment all the time.

In addition to these features, there is also cluster state management, security network simplification, which are also essential for modern applications to run successfully in the cloud. 

Several people and companies focus on developing methodologies that orbit around Kubernetes to solve all sorts of issues, from application monitoring to decentralized data storage.

Kubernetes on BioPass ID

With this in mind, BioPass ID, a biometrics and AI platform in the cloud, uses this technology - from Kubernetes - to its advantage, gathering all the qualities mentioned above to ensure more secure and robust applications for high demands. 

BioPass ID is able to deliver Biometrics as a Service (Saas) through well documented and easily integrated APIs and SDKs that scale as required. The delivery of this service is achieved by using the best that is available in the market for Container orchestration and cloud computing. 

Using the new technologies available in the market in the proper means is essential to be able to compete in today's market. As such, BioPass ID platform helps integrating Biometrics, Container orchestration, and cloud computing into applications in an agile and robust approach.

The Expanded Universe of Kubernetes

As the market and the community behind Kubernetes has evolved, many other solutions and applications have emerged. Some, like Kubernetes itself, are free and open source. Several of them are maintained by the CNCF itself in projects divided according to the maturity in the community.

Source: https://landscape.cncf.io/, CNCF’s applications landscape and partners.

The CNCF also categorizes hundreds of applications that meet specific criteria to be considered cloud-native in a "landscape". The universe of applications building around the cloud and Kubernetes is huge and it keeps growing!

Finally, both the cloud-native and Container-based application markets are evolving, adapting, and acquiring new users and functionality. 

To stay competitive in today's market, using the right tools is essential, and BioPass ID platform will help you to keep growing.

Explore our solutions and test our demos for free!

Translation: Thalita Ferreira