How to Use Kubernetes on your Infrastructure
Y Combinator’s news aggregation site, Hacker News, gets a lot of criticism for the sometimes questionable views expressed by its commenters, but at the same time, the HN fray can provide a lot of perspective into what is going on in the engine rooms of IT, sometimes providing as much insight as the article they discuss.
For instance, earlier this week, someone had posted an essay, “Maybe You Don't Need Kubernetes,” an interesting case study of a business that found Kubernetes too complicated for its own requirements. This development team, part of the Trivago travel service, went with HashiCorp’s Nomad instead.
It is a good read, and what was even more fascinating was the debate that ensued on the comments page about where and when to use Kubernetes. We’ve long heard both complaints about Kubernetes being too complex for end users, as well as the value proposition of better managing your infrastructure that would make it all worthwhile But the HN comments bring something new. They vividly illustrate where the rubber meets the road, as military officers used to say. For instance, one observer wrote: “Kubernetes is really really cheap. I can run 20 low volume apps in a kubes cluster with a single VM. This is cheaper than any other hosting solution in the cloud if you want the same level of stability and isolation."
Sure, Kubernetes is great for Internet-facing services such as Airbnb that have crushing loads of traffic, yet we rarely hear about the benefits of K8s for smaller businesses, such as the one mentioned above, serving as a low-cost way of hosting multiple applications. Someone else pointed out about Kubernetes that “once you know it, is significantly easier than cobbling together an environment from ‘classical’ solutions that combine Puppet/Chef/Ansible, homegrown shell scripts, static VMs, and SSH.”
We like the specifics of that argument.
In many ways, the Kubernetes community is off in a bit of a bubble, in regards to the rest of the work-a-day IT industry. With all the hype around Kubernetes, we all too rarely hear about how it would actually fit into today’s IT infrastructure — not the infra of giants like eBay, but the bulk of IT users that make up the IT market. Kubernetes has a learning curve, to be sure, but it can also bring big payoffs, and now it’s up to the K8s community to explain how.