A guide to deploying a Kubernetes cluster: Basics and FAQs answered

A guide to deploying a Kubernetes cluster: Basics and FAQs answered

Deploying Kubernetes introduction 

Deploying a Kubernetes cluster can be a complex process. Deploying a Kubernetes cluster requires a solid understanding of the infrastructure and the tools involved, as well as careful planning and testing. 

In this blog I want to share some basic steps for starting with Kubernetes, and some general frequently asked questions and answers. Before diving into the basic steps of deploying a Kubernetes cluster, I have added an overview of a Kubernetes cluster in the picture below to help you gain a better understanding of it.

Deploying Kubernetes key steps 

Now, here’s an overview of the key steps involved to start configuring a Kubernetes cluster: 

  1. Choose a place to deploy. You can deploy Kubernetes on various cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and others. Alternatively, you can deploy Kubernetes on your own servers. Some cloud providers also offer managed Kubernetes services, which simplifies the deployment process.  
  2. Setup the control plane. The control plane manages and controls the Kubernetes cluster. It includes components like etcd, kube-apiserver, kube-controller-manager, and kube-scheduler. Depending on your deployment method, you may need to install and configure these components manually or use a managed service.  
  3. Setup worker nodes. Worker nodes run your applications in the cluster. You’ll need to install Kubernetes components like kubelet and kube-proxy on each worker node. Again, the process will vary depending on your deployment method. 
  4. Configure networking. Kubernetes has a networking model that allows pods to communicate with each other and the outside world. You’ll need to configure networking using a tool like Calico, Flannel, or Weave Net. 
  5. Deploy applications. Once your cluster is set up, you can deploy your applications using Kubernetes manifests, which define the desired state of your application. You can use tools like kubectl or Helm to deploy your applications.  
  6. Monitor and maintain the cluster. Finally, you’ll need to monitor and maintain your Kubernetes cluster to ensure it’s running smoothly. Kubernetes provides several tools for monitoring and logging, such as Prometheus and Fluentd, and you can also use third-party tools like Datadog or Splunk. 

Having that said, it’s best to follow official documentation and best practices, and seek help from experts if you’re new to Kubernetes. For valuable information about anything related to Kubernetes, I recommend you to checkout the Cloud Native Computing Foundation website (cncf.io). However, to help you on the way as much as possible, we have interviewed one of our Kubernetes experts for you and asked him the most frequently asked questions when it comes to deploying a Kubernetes cluster. In addition, we also asked him some other Kubernetes related questions. Below you will find out what we asked him and what his answers were. 


FAQs about deploying a Kubernetes cluster 

Fairbanks works together with teams who are experienced in working with Kubernetes, or who just started using Kubernetes. We get very diverse questions about using Kubernetes from these teams. Below you will find some frequently asked questions and the answers to it, from one of our Kubernetes experts.

  1. What is the first and foremost thing you do when you want to configure Kubernetes? Collect the company’s requirements regarding expected use and expected outcome, make an inventory of what hardware (resources) they have available and create the configuration needed for the installation of a cluster. 
  2.  Is it easy to manage with git? It can be with the correct components installed on the cluster, for me in the entire automation ecosphere it’s a must have for CI/CD. 
  3. What hardware do you need to deploy Kubernetes? This depends mostly on the requirements of the final cluster, it can run on one device with an ARM base processor, like a Raspberry Pi, up to x86/64 servers in datacenters with multiple machines making up one cluster. Of course running production containers on a Raspberry Pi infrastructure would be far from ideal. 
  4. How many people do you need to implement a Kubernetes cluster or what is a recommended amount? When I initially read this question, I had to laugh a bit, as it can be installed by one person within minutes depending on the requirements. However, this could also be a valid question someone can have. So, Kubernetes touches so many different IT knowledge areas, that depending on the complexity, several IT departments can be involved. So, in the end it depends on the requirements of the cluster, and the final use of it. 
  5. Which applications do you need to deploy Kubernetes? This partially depends on what distribution you want to install, each distribution has its own installation method, but initially you need kubeadm.  
  6. Do applications need to rewritten to be able to deploy Kubernetes? Kubernetes has a more service oriented way of looking at applications. If you have an application that is hosted on a webserver with a database backend, then the database is probably as a cloud native component installable on the cluster, so only a webserver is needed to host the code, and to connect to the database. 
  7.  Does Kubernetes have automation capabilities? In a sense the entire Kubernetes platform is an automation platform. All internal services expose an API that is communicated with. So, the cluster constantly checks these API’s to check for changes or events that need to be managed. 
  8. Do containers repair themselves when a failure occurs? Containers themselves do not, as a container is a static image. When looking from a Kubernetes perspective a container is a part of a pod, where a pod container has multiple components to make up a service. So, containers do not repair themselves just like that, but they can be configured to. From a Kubernetes perspective, if it is configured to restart the container when it fails, it will do so. 
  9. Is it ‘’easy’’ to migrate containers to other hosts? This question probably stems from a virtualization perspective, however with Kubernetes a host is nothing more than a device capable of running the service I want to host. For the cluster it doesn’t matter where it places this service, as long as it is allowed by the cluster. The control-plane for instance, normally isn’t used to host the services of users. So, the cluster will not use those hosts for users. 
  10. How many ways are there to deploy Kubernetes? I am afraid there isn’t a figure that I can tie to that, as it’s very broad. You have different distributions that each have multiple ways of installation. 
  11. Which one of those distributions is the most advisable? Within our teams we see that OKD/OCP is used a lot, due to it being a stable and reliable platform, but every distribution has its advantages. 
  12. What is one common mistake when deploying a Kubernetes cluster? Not sizing correctly. 
  13. What is key in deploying a Kubernetes cluster? Triple checking configuration. 
  14. What components do you need to implement a Kubernetes cluster? A machine able to run a container runtime, and the resources to run Kubernetes. This can be very lightweight, but any machine currently being used is able to run it. 
  15. What is automated container orchestration? Automated container orchestration is a method of automating the deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications. Automated container orchestration tools such as Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and Apache Mesos simplify the process of deploying and managing containerized applications. 
  16. What is the difference between a service and ingress? A service connects an IP address and port (possibly on an URL) to a workload, this can be any service regardless of the port or protocol used. Ingress is mostly used for connectivity on HTTP or HTTPS protocols, so webservers or web load balancers, et cetera. 
  17. How do you secure your Kubernetes cluster? With a proper RBAC system to only give people access to what components they need access to. 
  18. What is your go to software stack for Kubernetes? Mostly kubectl, as it is used as interface with all individual components. But, when looking at infrastructure, I’m personally a fan of running it on CoreOS, and using crictl as the container management system with crun as the container runtime. 


Conclusion for deploying a Kubernetes cluster 

Kubernetes provides a powerful platform for automated container orchestration, allowing for efficient deployment, management, and scaling of applications. With proper configuration and ongoing maintenance, a Kubernetes cluster can provide a stable and reliable infrastructure for running containerized workloads. 

Remember, deploying a Kubernetes cluster is an iterative process that requires continuous learning and adaptation. Stay informed about updates and new features in the Kubernetes ecosystem to optimize your cluster’s performance and unlock the full potential of container orchestration. If you would like more questions answered or help with your deployment feel free to reach out to us, we are happy to help! 

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