Kubernetes, the container orchestration platform that has revolutionised cloud native application deployment, has become an indispensable tool for organisations looking for efficient, scalable, and resilient infrastructure. As you approach the final charge towards the finish line of your Kubernetes implementation project, it’s important to address a few key considerations to ensure a smooth transition for all your stakeholders if you want to unlock the maximum benefit. Here are some of the aspects that are commonly reviewed during LSD Open’s implementation projects.
1) Effective Onboarding
The successful adoption of a Kubernetes platform hinges on the ability to onboard and engage your development teams. They are, after all, the everyday users of your platform, and if they aren’t set up for success, the platform won’t succeed either. As you transition from traditional infrastructure management to a containerised environment, it’s important to bridge the knowledge gap and equip your developers with the skills to operate and manage their applications effectively.
One way to do that is to invest in quick-start AND comprehensive training programs that cover the fundamentals of Kubernetes concepts, deployment strategies, and troubleshooting techniques, like the certifications offered by the CNCF. Encourage hands-on experimentation through sandbox environments or dedicated training clusters to create familiarity and confidence, because practical experience is a great way to learn about this environment. You could also look at what your vendors are offering if you use an enterprise version of Kubernetes. You could also work with the right implementation partner who can guide you through the onboarding process in a hands-on environment, which can be tailored to your unique environments, use cases and requirements.
2) Embracing Infrastructure as Code (IaC), Automation and Self-Service
Kubernetes empowers you to automate routine tasks, reducing operational overhead and enabling developers to focus on creating new features and actual development. What’s happening at many organisations is development and infrastructure teams are spending their time manually completing tasks like infrastructure management, something that’s referred to as ‘developer toil’. By leveraging automation tools to streamline infrastructure provisioning, application deployment, and configuration management, you create a reduction in developer toil.
With IaC and automation practices at your disposal, your deployments are consistent and repeatable, creating an environment with fewer errors and simplified rollbacks. Adopting tools like Terraform, GitLab and Ansible to define infrastructure resources, including Kubernetes clusters, nodes and network configurations. Automating these deployments with continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to ensure consistent environments across development, testing, and production. You’ll have far fewer troubleshooting incidents and overall risk if your environments are pre-approved, consistent and deployed automatically to your predefinitions.
Something that’s rapidly on the rise is Internal Developer Portals/Platforms (IDPs), which empower development teams to use self-service portals and tools to request resources, deploy applications, and manage their environments without relying on infrastructure teams. Armed with an IDP, developers can now accelerate the development lifecycle from MVP through to production.
3) Showing How Resiliency Can Reduce Overtime
Kubernetes’ inherent resiliency is impossible to overlook, but its advantages should be effectively conveyed to application architects and application team owners, because it can influence update and maintenance schedules, reducing downtime and the costs that come with it.
With Kubernetes, platform updates can happen during production hours with no impact on your application availability. But you’ve got some work to do before that can become your environment reality. You get there by educating the platform’s stakeholders. Effectively explaining and demonstrating the platform’s self-healing capabilities and how rolling updates can be seamlessly executed without impacting user experience will be key here, because it will impact how planning around updates and maintenance will be handled. Highlight the financial benefits of minimising downtime and the reduced need for overtime and late-night/weekend maintenance windows. Every cent counts, and accurately budgeting for overtime isn’t very easy.
The above points are often overlooked in their importance during these critical final stages of these exercises but hopefully, they’ll now form part of your checklist. In the upcoming Part 2 of this blog post we’ll unpack more points to consider as you charge down the final straight to completing your Kubernetes implementation project.