Guest post originally published on Fairwinds’ blog by Kendall Miller
Full service ownership of Kubernetes, much like the tenets of DevSecOps, is a codifying process whereby all teams maintain complete control over their products and services. From software design to production deployment to the end of the development life cycle, a strong service ownership model offers myriad benefits. It not only empowers developers to take responsibility for their innovation, but it also optimizes five key enablers of business success: security, compliance, cost, scalability, and lastly, an area people don’t consider as often—reliability.
For organizations with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of clusters at work, boosting overall efficiency and productivity in the realm of reliability is critical. Service ownership optimizes reliability across the board, specifically in the way it promotes best practices and the ability to scale. As service owners configure Kubernetes policies using these guidelines and guardrails, reliability emerges to ensure fast and consistent application performance, with little to no downtime.
The Reliability of Service
When a Kubernetes environment experiences stability, streamlined development and operations, along with a heightened user experience of the cloud native infrastructure, you can thank reliability. A robust application performs well, even when unexpected events spring up. Kubernetes reliability is what ensures the health of your clusters, more specifically when implemented and orchestrated through a series of best practices. And yes, establishing a service ownership model tops the list.
That said, reliability has a weakness. It simply can’t succeed without proper configuration. Misconfigurations in Kubernetes are one of the greatest concerns to date, also affecting infrastructure security and overall efficiency. There are a lot of factors to consider when assembling a stable and reliable Kubernetes cluster, including the potential need for application changes and alterations to cluster configuration. These considerations include the need for proper resource requests and limits, autoscaling pods with the right metrics, and using liveness and readiness probes.
You might be wondering, “what about configuration management?” With this technology, the challenge to enforce reliability is simple but the solution is complex. Configuration management, also known as “infrastructure as code (IaC),” doesn’t directly fit into a cloud native container ecosystem. IaC is the process of managing your IT infrastructure using configuration files. Benefits of IaC include:
Less human error…
This happens through predictable results. You can produce new environments to test infrastructure upgrades to validate changes without impacting production. If you want to apply changes across multiple environments, using code reduces errors because focus and attention to detail are less impacted by repetitive manual work.
Repeatability and consistency…
The repeatability of IaC helps to create consistent infrastructure in other regions more quickly, freeing up time to address the next challenge.
If you’re using manual processes or complex chains of tooling to rebuild a container image in a crisis, then disaster recovery will take longer. The reliability of an application is impacted by the ability to pivot and the speed to redeploy. Be sure you understand the process, including how to establish the right practice, tooling and underlying processes to ensure successful deployment.
IaC also helps track changes to an audit infrastructure. Because your infrastructure is represented in code, commits to your Git repository reflect who, when and why changes were made. You’ll be able to look at the code and know how environments were built, what’s happening and why.
To be clear, Kubernetes cannot just be layered on top of existing processes. Rather, cloud native methodologies offer the opportunity to adjust how application components communicate and scale.
The Reliability of Distributed Work
Kubernetes offers a framework where distributed systems run, built with microservices and containers to run applications resiliently. Different teams own different layers of the stack, a key tenet of service ownership. Developers are specifically responsible for getting their applications to Kubernetes and ensuring they are configured correctly.
For this model to work, DevOps teams need to focus primarily on finding visibility into the application layer. And they must also have self-service tools helping them to monitor applications, such as observability tools that diagnose reliability issues. Full service ownership of Kubernetes facilitates success in this area by freeing up operations teams from owning all the deployment configuration and, instead, tasking them with policy enforcement and actionable feedback for developers.
The Reliability of a Good Solution
It is possible to introduce too much complexity into your Kubernetes environment. The goal is to keep it simple when building a stable and reliable cluster. This goal can be achieved in a few different ways and is most feasible when paired with a SaaS platform to secure and govern the Kubernetes environment. As you move into the world of IaC, containers, cloud native applications and Kubernetes, consider a shift in your approach. Think about where to place existing tools and processes and how a managed service can help your organization take full advantage of the myriad benefits of containerized workloads.
In truth, multiple tools are installed and configured across your clusters to ensure security, resource optimization and reliability checks. Without central visibility into what’s happening, time and resources are wasted—or worse. Not just security software, not just cost software, and not just policy software, Fairwinds provides a single platform that encompasses all of these requirements. In one dashboard view, teams can assess security, control app rightsizing and cost optimization, enforce policy and enable service ownership. No longer do DevOps teams need to select multiple vendors to solve each specific problem.