Kubernetes concepts


  • Kubernetes is a container management system

  • It runs and manages containerized applications on a cluster

  • What does that really mean?

Basic things we can ask Kubernetes to do

  • Start 5 containers using image atseashop/api:v1.3

  • Place an internal load balancer in front of these containers

  • Start 10 containers using image atseashop/webfront:v1.3

  • Place a public load balancer in front of these containers

  • It's Black Friday (or Christmas), traffic spikes, grow our cluster and add containers

  • New release! Replace my containers with the new image atseashop/webfront:v1.4

  • Keep processing requests during the upgrade; update my containers one at a time

Other things that Kubernetes can do for us

  • Basic autoscaling

  • Blue/green deployment, canary deployment

  • Long running services, but also batch (one-off) jobs

  • Overcommit our cluster and evict low-priority jobs

  • Run services with stateful data (databases etc.)

  • Fine-grained access control defining what can be done by whom on which resources

  • Integrating third party services (service catalog)

  • Automating complex tasks (operators)

Kubernetes architecture

haha only kidding
Figure 94 : haha only kidding

Kubernetes architecture

  • Ha ha ha ha

  • OK, I was trying to scare you, it's much simpler than that ❤️

that one is more like the real thing
Figure 95 : that one is more like the real thing


  • The first schema is a Kubernetes cluster with storage backed by multi-path iSCSI

    (Courtesy of Yongbok Kim)

  • The second one is a simplified representation of a Kubernetes cluster

    (Courtesy of Imesh Gunaratne)

Kubernetes architecture: the nodes

  • The nodes executing our containers run a collection of services:

    • a container Engine (typically Docker)

    • kubelet (the "node agent")

    • kube-proxy (a necessary but not sufficient network component)

  • Nodes were formerly called "minions"

    (You might see that word in older articles or documentation)

Kubernetes architecture: the control plane

  • The Kubernetes logic (its "brains") is a collection of services:

    • the API server (our point of entry to everything!)

    • core services like the scheduler and controller manager

    • etcd (a highly available key/value store; the "database" of Kubernetes)

  • Together, these services form the control plane of our cluster

  • The control plane is also called the "master"

Running the control plane on special nodes

  • It is common to reserve a dedicated node for the control plane

    (Except for single-node development clusters, like when using minikube)

  • This node is then called a "master"

    (Yes, this is ambiguous: is the "master" a node, or the whole control plane?)

  • Normal applications are restricted from running on this node

    (By using a mechanism called "taints")

  • When high availability is required, each service of the control plane must be resilient

  • The control plane is then replicated on multiple nodes

    (This is sometimes called a "multi-master" setup)

Running the control plane outside containers

  • The services of the control plane can run in or out of containers

  • For instance: since etcd is a critical service, some people deploy it directly on a dedicated cluster (without containers)

    (This is illustrated on the first "super complicated" schema)

  • In some hosted Kubernetes offerings (e.g. AKS, GKE, EKS), the control plane is invisible

    (We only "see" a Kubernetes API endpoint)

  • In that case, there is no "master node"

For this reason, it is more accurate to say "control plane" rather than "master".

Do we need to run Docker at all?


  • By default, Kubernetes uses the Docker Engine to run containers

  • We could also use rkt ("Rocket") from CoreOS

  • Or leverage other pluggable runtimes through the Container Runtime Interface

    (like CRI-O, or containerd)

Do we need to run Docker at all?


  • In this workshop, we run our app on a single node first

  • We will need to build images and ship them around

  • We can do these things without Docker
    (and get diagnosed with NIH¹ syndrome)

  • Docker is still the most stable container engine today
    (but other options are maturing very quickly)

Not Invented Here]

Do we need to run Docker at all?

  • On our development environments, CI pipelines ... :

    Yes, almost certainly

  • On our production servers:

    Yes (today)

    Probably not (in the future)

[More information about CRI on the Kubernetes blog]

Kubernetes resources

  • The Kubernetes API defines a lot of objects called resources

  • These resources are organized by type, or Kind (in the API)

  • A few common resource types are:

    • node (a machine — physical or virtual — in our cluster)
    • pod (group of containers running together on a node)
    • service (stable network endpoint to connect to one or multiple containers)
    • namespace (more-or-less isolated group of things)
    • secret (bundle of sensitive data to be passed to a container)

    And much more!

  • We can see the full list by running kubectl api-resources

    (In Kubernetes 1.10 and prior, the command to list API resources was kubectl get)

Node, pod, container
Figure 96 : Node, pod, container
One of the best Kubernetes architecture diagrams available
Figure 97 : One of the best Kubernetes architecture diagrams available


  • The first diagram is courtesy of Weave Works

    • a pod can have multiple containers working together

    • IP addresses are associated with pods, not with individual containers

  • The second diagram is courtesy of Lucas Käldström, in this presentation

    • it's one of the best Kubernetes architecture diagrams available!

Both diagrams used with permission.