Kubernetes, the world’s most popular open-source container orchestration platform, is a significant milestone in the history of cloud-native technologies. Developed internally at Google and released to the public in 2014, Kubernetes has allowed organizations to transition from traditional IT infrastructure to automating operational tasks related to the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications and microservices. While Kubernetes has become the standard for container management, it is also used for a wider range of use cases.
Containers, which are lightweight units of software that package code and its dependencies to run in any environment, form the foundation of Kubernetes and are essential for modern microservices, cloud-native software, and DevOps workflows. Kubernetes was specifically created to automate the management of containerized applications, addressing the challenges faced by data science teams when scaling applications.
The Kubernetes orchestration platform runs via containers with pods and nodes. A pod operates one or more Linux containers and can run in multiples for scaling and failure resistance, while nodes run the pods and are usually grouped in a Kubernetes cluster, abstracting the underlying physical hardware resources. Kubernetes’s declarative, API-driven infrastructure has streamlined operational tasks, allowing teams to work more independently and efficiently.
In 2015, Google donated Kubernetes as a seed technology to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). As an open-source system, Kubernetes services are supported by leading public cloud providers, including IBM, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google. Kubernetes can also run on bare metal servers and virtual machines (VMs) in private, hybrid, and edge cloud settings, provided the host OS is a version of Linux or Windows.
Kubernetes is widely used in production to manage Docker and other container runtimes, and it is transforming IT infrastructure in various ways. Some of the top Kubernetes use cases include large-scale app deployment, high-performance computing, AI and machine learning, microservices management, hybrid and multicloud deployments, and enterprise DevOps.
Kubernetes plays a critical role in automating tasks integral to managing container-based architectures. Its usage continues to rise, with 96% of organizations using or evaluating the containerized platform, according to a 2021 Cloud Native Survey conducted by the CNCF. In the survey, Kubernetes usage is also shown to be increasing in emerging technology regions like Africa.
At IBM, we are helping clients modernize their applications and optimize their IT infrastructure with Kubernetes and other cloud-native solutions. Our IBM Cloud® Kubernetes Service offers a secure, highly available experience for deploying Kubernetes clusters, while Red Hat® OpenShift® on IBM Cloud enables the containerization and deployment of Kubernetes clusters for containerized platforms.