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Containers have become an essential component of today's IT world. More and more companies are switching to containers because of their tremendous advantages over traditional virtual machine applications. Containers increase the application development speed and deploy them smoothly for the end-user. Containerized applications are all cool, but you might end up with hundreds and thousands of containers for developing a large-scale application. It will become hard to manage these many containers; that's where Kubernetes comes into the picture.

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is one of the most popular tools for the management of containers. The tech giant Google originally developed the open-source container orchestration tool. It makes it easier to deploy, scale and manage containerized microservices, and also, almost every cloud provider supports Kubernetes. You can provision Kubernetes clusters across multi-cloud, private cloud, and hybrid clouds. Manual provisioning of the Kubernetes cluster and its add-ons can be complicated; to simplify this, you can use IaC.

What is Infrastructure as Code (IaC)?

Infrastructure as Code is the concept of managing infrastructures like data servers, storage, and networks using the Code instead of operating them manually; in other words, we use machine-readable files to line up the infrastructure. IaC deploys the entire infrastructure using the Code, so it's easy to redeploy an equivalent infrastructure in other places whenever it is needed. IaC is now a very important component in DevOps practice. It allows the DevOps team to provision infrastructure quickly, and it's easy to manage infrastructure using IaC.

What are the Benefits of using Infrastructure as Code with Kubernetes?

  1. Tracking and Auditability: IaC code can be stored in git repositories. Along with automation, it also acts as an infrastructure document. You can test the IaC code over the git repo and track who has made changes to the Code; if there is an issue, it can easily be tracked over git.
  2. Speed: Once all the required things are defined in the IaC, it allows you to provision Kubernetes clusters in both public and private clouds quickly, and also, you can deploy the containerized application on the provisioned Kubernetes cluster at lightning speed, which will increase quality and productivity of the application.
  3. Reusability: IaC code acts as a template; you can use it to provision Kubernetes clusters across various regions in the cloud. Along with this, you can deploy microservices on different Kubernetes clusters using the IaC.
  4. Consistency: No matter how hard you try, manual provisioning will still result in failure, but IaC will systemize the infrastructure provisioning and guarantee the same infrastructure over and over. Also, it will make sure that the microservice is deployed with the same configuration on the separate Kubernetes cluster.

Embracing IaC principles with Kubernetes

  1. Idempotency - Idempotency decreases the inconsistency in Kubernetes cluster provisioning through IaC. It simply means that the start state of IaC should always end up with the same end state. For example, you have provisioned a three-node cluster using IaC. When you rerun the same Code, it should not provision 3 more (i.e., six nodes) nodes in the cluster.
  2. Immutability - Immutable IaC means - new infrastructure should be provisioned instead of modifying the same infrastructure. This decreases the chances of configuration drift in the infrastructure. For example, suppose you have two node Kubernetes clusters when you run your IaC again. In that case, it should shut down the previous cluster and create a new Kubernetes cluster.

Infrastructure as Code and Containers: Why are they Better Together?

What are IaC Best Practices?

  1. Avoid documentation - In manual provisioning of infrastructure, you have to make documentation for maintaining the infrastructure. Conversely in IaC, you don't have to make any documentation; the Code itself acts as the documentation. It'll provide all the information regarding the infrastructure. 
  2. Continuous Testing - Testing the IaC configuration files is very important. Testing the IaC code will avoid any errors after the infrastructure's installation. You have to analyze your Code every time you make changes to it.
  3. Use Source control - Use the source control tools like git to store your IaC configuration files. Any changes in the codebase should be tracked and managed through the same.
  4. Make Code modular - You can break down your IaC code into different modules and use them through automation. You can use CI/CD pipelines to provision the infrastructure.

Conclusion

IaC plays a very crucial role in Kubernetes. You can deploy Kubernetes clusters using the IaC on multi-cloud and the private cloud. Also, using Kubernetes manifest files and helm charts, you can deploy containerized microservices on different Kubernetes clusters quickly. Now you do not have to worry about the manual provisioning of Kubernetes clusters. Everything will be automated using the Code. It will also ensure that you don't have to worry about the infrastructure documentation.

What's next? 

  1. Book a Meeting to know how Nexastack can fast track Kubernetes journey 
  2. Take the Cloud Native Maturity Assessmentand evaluates your organization's cloud readiness