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Kubernetes-as-a-Service Supports Less Complex Container Management

Taking advantage of Kubernetes-as-a-service can help healthcare organizations focus on app development rather then app management.

Kubernetes-as-a-Service

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare organizations going through digital transformations are leveraging containers to enhance their HIT infrastructure as a way to manage applications. The potential introduction of Kubernetes-as-a-Service can help ease container management.

Organizations use containers for application development, operating system environments, and to replace virtual machines.

Virtual containers act much like they do in the physical world, by separating data from other data based on predetermined characteristics. When migrating from one cloud storage model to another, it’s much easier to move data if it is contained in one place or separated from data that does not need to be moved.

When data is contained, developing applications to access that data becomes easier because it’s already isolated from unrelated data. Containers can be duplicated, moved, and act independently of each other.

As container technology evolves, vendors are utilizing them to help promote advanced IT infrastructure, streamline processes, and take advantage of progressing cloud technology.

Rackspace announced its Kubernetes-as-a-Service tool that aims to help organizations use new container technology.

Kubernetes is a “platform for automating deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers across clusters of hosts," according to the official Kubernetes site.

Originally designed by Google in 2014, Kubernetes was later donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation to make the code open source and available to everyone.

Kubernetes is made up of a set of independent, composable control processes that continuously drive the current state towards the provided desired state. 

This tool also allows organizations to:

  • Deploy applications quickly and predictably
  • Scale applications on the fly
  • Roll out new features seamlessly
  • Limit hardware usage to required resources only

Kubernetes supports containers, which virtualizes operating systems to run applications with their dependencies in an isolated environment. Isolating an application and its code allows developers to arrange applications like building blocks that do not affect one another when they are moved within the infrastructure.

Kubernetes lets organizations take advantage of what is referred to as the “new way” of deploying applications.

“The Old Way to deploy applications was to install the applications on a host using the operating system package manager,” the official Kubernetes site explains. “This had the disadvantage of entangling the applications’ executables, configuration, libraries, and lifecycles with each other and with the host OS. One could build immutable virtual-machine images in order to achieve predictable rollouts and rollbacks, but VMs are heavyweight and non-portable.”

The “new way” of deploying applications is to utilize containers by virtualizing the operating system rather than the hardware. This gives each application access to its own file system, which isolates it from the host and eliminates entanglement.

Applications no longer need to cross reference out of the same file repository, which allows them to be easily moved, modified, and deployed because no other applications are affected.

Kubernetes schedules and runs these containers on clusters of physical and virtual machines, allowing IT administrators much more control over their container environment while automating certain tasks to save time.

“Kubernetes also allows developers to ‘cut the cord’ to physical and virtual machines, moving from a host-centric infrastructure to a container-centric infrastructure, which provides the full advantages and benefits inherent to containers,” says the Kubernetes site. “Kubernetes provides the infrastructure to build a truly container-centric development environment.”

Rackspace is offering Kubernetes-as-a-Service so organizations don’t have to operate Kubernetes themselves. This allows organizations to spend more time focusing on building and running applications rather than managing them.

Kubernetes-as-a-Service offers operations management and support for an organization’s entire technology stack, which includes hardware as well as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

Offering Kubernetes-as-a-Service gives organizations the opportunity take advantage of a more complex and evolving technology without having to go through the trouble of acquiring or training staff specifically for this kind of container management.

Organizations can focus on building usable and secure applications without the added pressure of app management once the app is deployed.

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