As you navigate your organization’s DevOps journey, your primary goal is to identify ways to streamline your development process. With a streamlined process, you can release software more rapidly, improve the quality of your end product, deliver a better customer experience, and reduce stress on development teams. Developing cloud native, microservices applications on a containerized infrastructure can help you achieve that goal but only if you know how to manage your containers effectively.
Cloud native orchestration simplifies container management by automating many of the tasks involved in running a cloud native infrastructure. In this blog, we’ll discuss why you need orchestration before providing tips and best practices for managing your cloud native containers.
Why You Need Cloud Native Orchestration
Cloud native orchestration platforms automate many of the tedious and repeatable workflows required to manage a complex containerized infrastructure. While a simple cloud native app may only need a handful of containers, larger enterprise applications often run inside hundreds or thousands of them. Manually provisioning, deploying, and scaling this many containers, let alone managing the networking and load balancing, is simply impossible to do efficiently. That’s why you need cloud native orchestration if you want to scale up your containers.
Cloud Native Orchestration and Management Tips for Running Your Containers
Cloud native orchestration makes it easier to run a containerized infrastructure, but you should still follow best practices to streamline the process even further.
Choose the Right Cloud Native Orchestration Solution
For many, Kubernetes is synonymous with cloud native orchestration. Kubernetes is the most popular container orchestration tool for cloud native environments, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right solution for you. Because Kubernetes provides features like cluster management, scheduling, monitoring, secrets management, and service discovery, it is ideal for large and complex containerized applications. However, Kubernetes is equally complex to set up, which means it may not be the right fit for organizations early in their cloud native journey.
Another option for cloud native orchestration is AWS Elastic Container Service, which only works within the Amazon Web Services ecosystem but provides simpler and smaller-scale container management. There’s also Nomad, which is open source like Kubernetes but the scaled-back features and operational complexity make it perfect for younger DevOps teams.
When you’re considering orchestration solutions, it’s important to keep your organization’s unique requirements, quirks, and skill level at the front of your mind. Your solution should right-size to what you need, allowing you to take advantage of orchestration now while still giving you the flexibility to grow as you move further down the path to true cloud native.
Use Separate (but Identical) Dev, Integration, Test, and Production Environments
Cloud native orchestration platforms make it easy to create exact copies of configurations. That means you can provision identical development, integration, testing, and production environments for your code releases. This is not just a best practice for cloud native orchestration, but for DevOps and CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) as well. As containers are developed, tested, integrated, and validated, your orchestration solution should move them automatically through this pipeline to streamline the overall release cycle.
Implement Automated Monitoring and Issue Reporting
One of the core principles of DevOps is “shifting left,” which means identifying and fixing problems as early in the development process as possible. This results in faster releases and higher quality software. Issues are resolved early in the pipeline before they can affect other dependencies or even production software. Shifting left is even more critical when you’re working with a complicated microservices infrastructure, which is why automated monitoring and issue reporting needs to be integrated with your cloud native orchestration solution.
Keep Your Cloud Native Containers Secure
In your rush to adopt cloud native development and orchestration strategies, you can’t forget about security. You need to be able to apply account security best practices – such as role-based access control (RBAC) and/or the principle of least privilege (PoLP) – to your containerized infrastructure, which you can accomplish using a cloud native identity and access management (IAM) solution. In addition, you need to use firewall technology that’s compatible with cloud native containers to automatically monitor and inspect traffic into and out of your cluster as well as between pods.
Tips for Effective Cloud Native Orchestration and Management
Cloud native orchestration helps you create and manage highly complex containerized applications while maintaining the speed, agility, and quality needed for DevOps. To get the best results, you should choose a container orchestration platform that addresses your organization’s unique requirements while still giving you room to grow. You also need to follow best practices for DevOps management by creating an automated CI/CD pipeline, shifting your monitoring and issue reporting process as far left as possible, and securing your cloud native infrastructure.