A Kubernetes (K8s) cluster is a grouping of nodes that run containerized apps in an efficient, automated, distributed, and scalable manner. K8s clusters allow engineers to orchestrate and monitor containers across multiple physical, virtual, and cloud servers. This decouples the containers from the underlying hardware layer and enables agile and robust deployments.
Even after impressive growth and a surge in popularity the past few years, Kubernetes continues to be one of the most popular topics in the world of application delivery. In fact, RedHat’s 2021 State of Open Source report finding that 85% of IT leaders surveyed indicated “Kubernetes is key” to cloud-native application strategies. Let’s take a closer look at Kubernetes clusters, how they work, and how the right tools can help you secure them.
Keeping up with all the terminology in the world of containers can be difficult. Before we go any further, let’s take a minute to answer the “what is a Kubernetes cluster?” question in a bit more detail by reviewing its key components.
Combined, these components make up a Kubernetes cluster.
Now that we understand the components of a Kubernetes cluster, we can look at how they work. While the specifics of Kubernetes under the hood can get complex, the basics are easy to conceptualize.
Additionally, a Kubernetes cluster can automatically deploy rolling updates and be configured to scale as needed.
When you’re new to K8s, it can be hard to know where to get started. Fortunately, there are several ways to create Kubernetes clusters depending on your desired deployment environment. For example, Azure offers a simple wizard based K8s cluster creation and the AWS platform offers Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) to abstract away the complexity of deployment.
However, if you’re looking to learn and tinker with K8s, one of the best ways to get started is with minikube. After install of minikube and kubectl, a simple minikube start from your system’s terminal can have you up, running, and ready to begin your K8s journey. minikube is also great for developers and engineers looking to test on their local machines.
At this point, the benefits of Kubernetes clusters should start to become clear. At a high-level the benefit is that K8s clusters abstract away the complexity of container orchestration and resource management. Specifically, benefits of Kubernetes clusters include:
Taken together, these benefits lead to more reliable and scalable production applications.
Of course, when dealing with production applications, you can never overlook security. With Kubernetes, that starts with following container security best practices and configuring the appropriate pod security policies and pod security contexts for your use cases as well as using Kubernetes secrets to store sensitive information.
Additionally, solutions that can improve cluster visibility and enable real-time vulnerability scanning in cloud-native Kubernetes environments can go a long way in protecting your workloads. Check Point CloudGuard was purpose-built to enable full lifecycle security and compliance for container-based workloads.
Specific benefits of CloudGuard include:
To learn how CloudGuard can secure K8s workloads in multicloud environments, sign up for a demo today. Alternatively, for a technical deep dive on cloud-native security, you’re welcome to check out our free guide to containers and K8s security.