Kubernetes will save us all. If only we could work out how to install and maintain it. For the uninitiated, Kubernetes (also known as K8s to your local neighborhood hipster developer) is an open-source platform for running and orchestrating container-based applications and services. These are most often deployed in Docker containers, but other container runtimes—such as Containerd and Rkt—are supported.
Google has accumulated a great deal of knowledge about running containers in their operations over the past decade and a half. Kubernetes represents the third generation of container management systems at Google, after Borg and Omega, and has emerged as the principal container platform these past few years, pushing past other offerings such as Mesos and Docker’s Swarm. For the enterprise, Kubernetes offers something close to the Holy Grail: “What if OpenStack, but it actually works?”
However, many people who dive feet-first into Kubernetes find themselves just a little overwhelmed. It’s a system of many moving parts that can be somewhat difficult to install, maintain, and operate. But if you’re running on the cloud anyhow, why not get your cloud provider to run Kubernetes for you, so you can get on with the more important business of running your applications and workloads?
With Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), a service that has been running since 2015, your Kubernetes master servers are managed and maintained by Google Site Reliability Engineers. You don’t have to install, upgrade, or even pay for them! Plus, your Kubernetes clusters can be spread across zones within a region for high availability, and of course they integrate with the required enterprise features like Cloud IAM (Identity Access Management) and VPCs (Virtual Private Clouds) for security purposes.