In this post
Top 5 Challenges Kubernetes User Faces and Their Solutions
August 24, 2021
August 24, 2021
In this post
Kubernetes or K8s, as you know, is an open-source container orchestration system that is used for automating computer application scaling, management, and deployment. Designed by Google and maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Kubernetes is the solution of choice for many developers.
It can prove to be the ideal solution for most problems related to the delivery of microservice applications. However, it comes with its own challenges that may prove to be roadblocks for users.
According to popular surveys and reports, Kubernetes challenges generally come in areas like security, networking, deployment, scaling, vendor support, etc. With a variation in usage and function patterns, the challenges may vary for specific users. But, most of the hurdles can be classified under these categories.
While some of these challenges may be typical of all technological platforms, some turn out to be unique to Kubernetes. They arrive at the forefront during setup and management and can hamper daily tasks if not addressed efficiently.
Thus, it is crucial to pick a suitable container orchestration solution after considering all criteria and identifying which factors to be addressed before adopting Kubernetes. The most important thing to be noted is that usage of Kubernetes often requires changes in roles and responsibilities of multiple departments under the IT organization. Hence, it must go through an organization-wide settle-in period to handle the learning curve.
It also affects cloud systems and on-premise systems differently. Organizations with exclusively on-prem servers face deployment issues that the public cloud may not experience. Similarly, security might pose a bigger risk in the cloud as compared to on-prem.
With regular observations and surveys, we can figure out the most common Kubernetes challenges that users face and arrive at their solutions.
Security is one of the biggest challenges of Kubernetes, owing to its complex and vulnerable nature. If not monitored properly, it can become a big issue in pointing out vulnerabilities. Since you have multiple containers deployed, it becomes tough to investigate vulnerabilities, which gives outsiders an easy way to breach your system.
One example of this breach was back in 2018 when Tesla’s Kubernetes admin console was infiltrated by hackers. This led to the mining of cryptocurrencies by Tesla’s cloud resources on AWS. To avoid these kinds of security challenges, there are a few things you can do.
Kubernetes container orchestration security can be enhanced through a few measures.
Traditional networking approaches are not very compatible with Kubernetes. Hence, the challenges keep increasing with the scale of deployment. Some problem areas include complexity and multi-tenancy.
Networking challenges can be solved by implementing the container network interface (CNI) plug-in. It allows Kubernetes to integrate smoothly with the infrastructure and access applications on different platforms.
You can also use service mesh to solve this issue. A service mesh is an infrastructure layer inserted into an app, which handles the network-based inter-communication using APIs. It also allows developers to be stress-free about networking and deployment.
These solutions make container communication smooth, fast, and secure, thus leading to a seamless container orchestration process.
You can also use delivery management platforms to perform activities like manage Kubernetes clusters and logs, and ensure full observability.
Just like networking, interoperability can sometimes become a problem with Kubernetes. While enabling interoperable cloud-native apps on Kubernetes, communication between the apps can be a little tricky. It also affects the deployment of clusters as the app instances included can have trouble running on individual nodes in the cluster.
Kubernetes does not work as well in production as it does in development, QA, or staging. After all these stages, when you migrate to an enterprise-grade production environment, it leads to many complexities of performance, governance, and interoperability.
Some steps can be implemented to reduce interoperability challenges in Kubernetes.
Storage can be a problem with Kubernetes for larger organizations, especially for organizations that use on-premises servers. One of the reasons for this is that they manage their entire storage infrastructure, without relying on any cloud resources. This may lead to vulnerabilities, storage crises, and so on.
Even if the infrastructure is handled by a separate IT team, a growing organization would find it difficult to handle storage. The New Stack Analysis of Cloud Native Computing Foundation Survey in 2017 stated that of all organizations deploying containers on on-premises servers, 54% identified storage as a challenge.
The most permanent solution for storage issues is to move to a public cloud environment and reduce dependency on on-prem servers. Some other things you can do include opting for temporary storage options.
Any organization aims towards increasing the scale of operations over time. If their infrastructure is ill-equipped to handle scaling, it can be a huge drawback. Since Kubernetes microservices deployments are complex and involve generating a lot of data, it can become a major task to diagnose and troubleshoot any form of issue.
Without the help of automation, this task may prove to be impossible. For any organization that works in real-time or with mission-critical applications, outages can prove to be highly detrimental to revenue and user experience. The same goes for customer-facing services that depend on Kubernetes.
The application density and dynamic nature of the computing environment only make the problem worse for a few organizations. Some issues include:
Another issue with scaling is that the Kubernetes infrastructure might not play well with the other tools. With errors in integration, the expansion would be a tough feat to achieve.
Luckily, there are a few ways to deal with the scaling problem in Kubernetes. One of them is using the autoscaling/v2beta2 API version that lets you specify multiple metrics for the Horizontal Pod Autoscaler to scale on.
If this does not solve your problem, you can choose an open-source container manager that runs Kubernetes in production. It helps manage and scale applications, irrespective of whether they are hosted on the cloud or on-prem. Some features of these container managers include:
As a solution, Kubernetes helps you to manage and scale the deployments of containers, nodes, and clusters. Hence, it is obvious that there will be some challenges in management and scaling across cloud providers. If you can overcome these challenges and make an effective plan specific to your problem areas, Kubernetes gives you a simple and declarative model for programming complex deployments.