Container Orchestration and Management Options
If you want to know more about Containers, you can check out our blog on Containers for Beginners
In this blog, we will be covering the following topics:
- What is Container Orchestration?
- How does Container Orchestration Work?
- Benefits of Container Orchestration
- Different Container Orchestration Tools
- Container Orchestration Platforms
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
Oracle Kubernetes Engine (OKE)
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS)
Google Cloud Kubernetes Engine (GKE)
What is Container Orchestration?
Container orchestration basically focuses on managing containers and their dynamic environments. It is all about managing the lifecycles of containers and it also helps DevOps teams who integrate containers in CI/CD workflow. The Software team uses container orchestration engine for controlling/managing and automating tasks mentioned below:
- Containers provisioning and deployment
- Availability of containers
- Scaling up or down according to spread application load evenly across the host
- Movement of containers from one host to another if there is a shortage of resources in a host, or if a host dies
- Allocation of resources between containers
- Load balancing of service discovery between containers
- Health monitoring of containers and hosts
How does container orchestration work?
In any container orchestration tool, we have to write a configuration file using either YAML or JSON. This file will describe the configuration of an application like where to find the docker images, how to establish a network between containers, how to mount storage volumes and where to store the logs for that container. The developer team writes and do version control of these configuration files so they can deploy the same applications across different development and testing environments before deploying them to production clusters.
Containers are deployed onto the hosts, usually in Replicated groups. The container orchestration tool subsequently schedules the deployment, once it’s time to deploy a container into the cluster, then it searches for a suitable host to place the container. The host is found on the basis of some constraints mentioned in the configuration file such as CPU or memory availability. We can even place containers according to labels or metadata, or according to their proximity in relation to other hosts.
Once the container is up and running on the host, the orchestration tool has to manage the lifecycle of a container according to the specifications we have mentioned in the container’s definition file (for example, it’s Dockerfile).
Also read: AKS Cluster is a Kubernetes cluster, which is created on the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) by Microsoft is one of the leading managed K8s services.
Benefits of Container Orchestration Tools
The main benefits of Container Orchestration Tools are that they manage the whole containerization process. They also provide portability and reproducibility option for a containerized process which means that we have an opportunity to move and scale our containerized applications across clouds and data centres according to our need. We only have to mention in the Configuration file.
Some more benefits of using Container Orchestration engine are:
- Service discovery and container networking
- Improved governance and security controls
- Container health monitoring
- Load balancing of containers evenly among hosts
- Optimal resource allocation
- Container lifecycle management
Different Container Orchestration Tools
Tools to manage, scale, and maintain containerized applications are called orchestrators, and the most common examples of these are Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Apache Mesos.
Also read: Container (Docker) vs Virtual Machines (VM) to understand what is their difference.
Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration tool or orchestrators, it was developed by Google. Google donated the Kubernetes project to the newly formed Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2015.
Kubernetes allows us to build application services that deploy multiple containers, schedule them across the cluster, scale those containers and manage the lifecycle of those Containers. It helps in making the process automated by eliminating many of the manual processes involved in deploying and scaling containerized applications. Kubernetes gives the platform to manage the clusters easily and efficiently.
Kubernetes has become an ideal platform for hosting cloud-native apps that require rapid scaling and deployment. Kubernetes also provides portability and load balancer services by enabling them to move applications across different platforms without redesigning them.
If you want to know about the Architecture of Kubernetes, check out our blog on Kubernetes Architecture.
Docker swarm is also a container orchestration tool, meaning that it allows the user to manage multiple containers deployed across multiple host machines.
Docker Swarm main benefits include that it offers a high level of availability for applications. Like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm also has several worker nodes and manager node which handles the worker nodes’ resources and ensures that the cluster operates efficiently.
Even though we have Kubernetes as the container orchestration, the company still offers Docker Swarm. It is the fully integrated container orchestration tool but it is slightly less extensible and complex than Kubernetes. Docker Swarm is useful or a good choice for Docker enthusiasts who wants an easier and faster path to container deployments. In fact, Docker bundles both Swarm and Kubernetes in its enterprise edition in hopes of making them complementary tools.
Check out: Azure Databricks is an easy, fast, and collaborative Apache spark-based analytics platform.
Apache Mesos is slightly older than Kubernetes. It is an open-source software project originally developed at the University of California at Berkeley, but now widely adopted in organizations like Twitter, Uber, and Paypal. Mesos’ lightweight interface lets it scale easily up to 10,000 nodes (or more) and allows frameworks that run on top of it to evolve independently. Its APIs support popular languages like Java, C++, and Python, and it also supports out-of-the-box high availability. Unlike Swarm or Kubernetes, however, Mesos only provides management of the cluster, so a number of frameworks have been built on top of Mesos, including Marathon, a “production-grade” container orchestration platform.
Read this blog to know about what is Kubernetes Pod which is an important component of Kubernetes.
Container orchestration platforms
With the enormous growth of container usage, container orchestration solutions are greatly increasing in popularity. Containers can be supported in practically any type of environment, ranging from on-premise servers to the cloud. Talking about the cloud, the most common examples are Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Services (EKS) and Google Cloud Kubernetes Engine (GKE).
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
A Fully Managed Kubernetes Cluster
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is a managed Kubernetes service. AKS manages the master node and the users have to manage the Worker nodes. Users can use AKS to deploy, scale, and manage Docker containers and container-based applications across a cluster of container hosts. As a managed Kubernetes service AKS is free – you only pay for the worker nodes within your clusters, not for the masters. You can create an AKS cluster in the Azure portal, with the Azure CLI, or template-driven deployment options such as Resource Manager templates and Terraform.
Know more about Azure Kubernetes Service in detail.
Oracle Kubernetes Engine (OKE)
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Container Engine is a container orchestration platforms. It is a fully managed, scalable, and highly available service that we can use to deploy our containerized applications to the cloud. Container Engine for Kubernetes uses Kubernetes – the open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications across clusters of hosts.
Know more about Oracle Kubernetes Engine (OKE).
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS)
Amazon EKS offers Kubernetes as a service that makes it easy to run Kubernetes on AWS. By using Amazon EKS, users don’t have to maintain a Kubernetes control plan on their own. It helps in automating the deployment, scaling, and maintaining the containerized application. EKS works with almost all of the operating systems. And through EKS, organizations can even run Kubernetes without installing in their local system and can operate a Kubernetes control plane or worker nodes easily and effectively. We can also say that EKS is a managed containers-as-a-service (CaaS) which drastically simplifies Kubernetes deployment on AWS.
Know more about Amazon Kubernetes Service in detail.
Google Cloud Kubernetes Engine
The Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is also a container orchestration platform provided by Google. The Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is a fully managed Kubernetes service for deploying, managing and scaling containerized applications on Google Cloud. The GKE environment consists of multiple machines (specifically, Compute Engine instances) grouped together to form a cluster.
Check out different ways to set up and run Kubernetes.
- Docker vs Virtual Machine | Physical vs Virtual Servers
- Docker Architecture | Docker Engine Components | Container Lifecycle
- Docker Images: A Complete Guide for Beginners
- Kubernetes vs Docker – Understand the Difference
- Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Certification Exam: Everything You Must Know
- Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Certification: Hands-On Lab Exercise
- View the Official Documentation of Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, Apache Mesos.
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