What are the different types of Kubernetes distributions?
There are also different types of Kubernetes distributions. These can differ depending on their purpose, intended use, and feature set. For example, some Kubernetes distributions can be hosted on-premises, run in the cloud, or are available as a cloud service. In addition, the level of self-management varies between Kubernetes distributions.
With self-managed Kubernetes, the user is responsible for running the cluster, managing the operating system on the nodes, software upgrades, backups and other maintenance tasks. However, the user has full control over the cluster and its configuration, allowing them to tweak the cluster as needed.
With Managed Kubernetes, a cloud provider or service provider maintains the cluster infrastructure and performs upgrades, backups, and other maintenance tasks. The user, on the other hand, is responsible for the Kubernetes applications. The user has limited control over the clusters. Vendors typically provide some level of support for managed Kubernetes.
In summary, self-managed Kubernetes offers more control and customization, but also requires more expertise and effort to set up and maintain, while managed Kubernetes offers less control, but more support and ease of use.
Advantages of self-managed Kubernetes
Some of the advantages of self-managed Kubernetes are the following:
Control: You have complete control of your cluster, where you can configure everything according to your requirements. Compliance and regulatory obligations often require you to use your infrastructure instead of shared infrastructure on the public cloud.
Customization/flexibility: Self-managed Kubernetes gives you more flexibility over your cluster's setup, deployment, and management. You can customize the cluster to your needs by selecting the hardware, networking, and storage solutions.
Cost-effectiveness: Because of its flexibility, a self-managed Kubernetes environment offers many opportunities for cost control. With freedom of choice, organizations can obtain affordable infrastructure and compute resources for their Kubernetes clusters from cloud providers or local data centers, and tailor their Kubernetes deployments to reduce licensing costs, for example.
Considerations for using self-managed Kubernetes
While self-managed Kubernetes offers greater flexibility and adaptability, it requires specialized knowledge of Kubernetes administration, infrastructure, and security, as well as a significant investment in resources and maintenance.
DevOps engineers must regularly maintain and update the cluster, and organizations must ensure they have sufficient resources to handle workloads and scale the cluster. Maintaining a self-managed Kubernetes cluster requires regular monitoring, troubleshooting, and data backups to ensure data resiliency.
Despite the increased overhead, however, self-managed Kubernetes may be attractive to organizations that have specific needs not covered by a managed Kubernetes service.
Advantages of managed Kubernetes
Managed Kubernetes has its own set of advantages, such as:
Focusing on business features: Managed Kubernetes abstracts away the complexity of managing infrastructure, networking, and storage. It frees development teams from managing the underlying infrastructure so they can focus on building applications. Faster development and deployment reduces time to market and development costs.
Easier maintenance: With managed Kubernetes services, organizations do not have to worry about managing and maintaining the Kubernetes cluster. The cloud provider handles infrastructure deployment, configuration, management, upgrades, patching, and scalability. This enables enterprises to concentrate on creating and delivering their applications faster.
Scalability and reliability: Managed Kubernetes solutions provide automatic scaling, high availability, and impressive service level agreements (SLAs), which makes your application more reliable and scalable.
Integration with other services: Managed Kubernetes solutions provide strong integration with other companion services offered by the vendor. Some examples include CI/CD pipelines, databases, monitoring tools, etc.
Considerations when using managed Kubernetes
Implementing a managed Kubernetes service can bring significant benefits to an organization. At the same time, however, it requires thorough planning and preparation to enable a smooth implementation and ensure that business needs are met.
Organizations with strict compliance standards may have concerns about cloud providers' security and compliance certifications. Choosing Kubernetes managed by a cloud service provider can also mean lock-in to a provider and its ecosystem, as the tight integration of services limits options for switching providers or multi-cloud approaches. Additionally, the lack of control over the master nodes can be problematic for organizations that require more customization or control.