Exploring the Developer Experience with Kubernetes - Part 2
July 22, 2020

Roopak Parikh

One of today's popular platforms for streamlining deployment and upgrades is Kubernetes, the open-source container orchestration system. Let's take a look at some more questions that surround Kubernetes.

Start with Exploring the Developer Experience with Kubernetes - Part 1

What are the top benefits of Kubernetes for developers?

While there are pains and challenges when getting started with Kubernetes, once developers are able to get through it, they start to reap a lot of benefits. Some of the key benefits include the performance and the availability that Kubernetes as a framework gives to applications.

For example, let's take a loan processing application at a bank. The organization wants to scale the application quickly because suddenly the fed has cut the rates and there is a long list of clients waiting for this application to be processed. With Kubernetes, it's easy to scale out without having to do much of anything in the application. The infrastructure provides those constructs.

Another benefit of Kubernetes is how easily developers can configure an application. Kubernetes allows developers to save configurations in a central location and makes sure when changes are made to configurations that applications also change or react accordingly.

Finally, the declarative nature of the Kubernetes API tends to be one of the top features that most developers would list as the things that they like the most about Kubernetes. With a declarative approach, instead of describing steps or instructions that are sequential or procedural in nature, it lets developers specify upfront the desired state of the system, or the desired state of the applications using a very well-defined, declarative set of resources.

This is a very elegant way of describing what they want, how they want apps to be configured, the kind of work that they want to be done, etc. And, it has also enabled new ways of thinking about continuous integration and continuous delivery.

Since Kubernetes is so declarative and the desired state can be specified using these files, it becomes very convenient to put those files in a GitHub repo, and then make a GitHub repo describe the desired state. Developers can then use Git's version control mechanisms to help keep track of version history.

Why is a declarative approach so beneficial?

A declarative approach makes development very repeatable. It's unambiguous. If there is a procedural or sequential way of describing work to be done, it's difficult to debug things when something fails far down the development pipeline.

Sequential ways of working leave developers asking, "where did things fail? What needs to be redone or undone?" Whereas a declarative approach is unambiguous. Developers can declare upfront, "Here's everything that I need. Try your best to converge towards that state."

When using Kubernetes or containers, it is easy to repeat steps on a machine or in a container onto any other environment. Portability is also a key benefit here. With the declarative approach of Kubernetes, developers can run applications the same way they are run on a laptop. This is a huge benefit from other tools where applications are typically distributed and there are people who are using multiple infrastructures to run their applications on.

The developer experience with Kubernetes can be complex and oftentimes feel daunting, but once implemented there are major benefits to reap. From performance, availability, portability and declarative approaches, the grass can be greener on the Kubernetes side.

With diligence and cross-team support, developers can master Kubernetes, overcome challenges and start delivering cloud-native applications with ease.

Roopak Parikh is Co-Founder and CTO of Platform9
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