Updated 4 Nov 2021
Migrating to an open cloud environment allows companies to avoid overhead related to on-premises infrastructure. In addition, cloud migration helps organizations gain a better understanding of application traffic, develop a robust disaster recovery strategy, and improve security.
Containerization or container orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes, also known as K8s, can help developers migrate application containers to the cloud, as the aptly named containers neatly package all necessary application components in manageable block units. With the user-friendly Kubernetes Dashboard interface, developers can easily deploy, troubleshoot, and manage their many containerized applications and cluster resources.
In this blog post, we discuss the application of Kubernetes in cloud migration solutions and the process of moving apps to Kubernetes.
Kubernetes is a microservices orchestration tool and open-source container developed by the smart cookies at Google. Kubernetes provides an extremely resilient distributed infrastructure with multiple benefits, including no deployment downtime, scalability, automatic rollback, and self-sustaining containers.
Kubernetes’ main objective is to simplify container management by providing REST APIs with the required functionalities. You can also use Kubernetes as a Service (KaaS) solutions to run clusters in various public or private cloud environments such as Azure and AWS, as well as platforms like OpenStack and Apache Mesos.
Migrating to a container-based cloud setting like Kubernetes allows you to utilize multi-cloud and hybrid cloud platforms, and manage far greater workloads and unanticipated failures.
Public cloud providers provide a wide range of container orchestration products developed on top of their Kubernetes managed services. Organizations taking the merchant-agnostic can create, design, and manage multi-cloud and hybrid cloud platforms without the danger of merchant lock-in. Kubernetes allows you to easily utilize a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy.
Managing extensive workloads in cloud environments demands effective autoscaling capabilities. You can upgrade your system’s scaling abilities by creating a container platform. The Kubernetes Horizontal Pod Autoscaler (HPA) allows clusters to increase or reduce the number of active applications during performance surges or during high traffic. Therefore, minimizing instances of surprise system outages and the resulting issues.
Managing critical failures with dedicated code is important for handling and recovering data from unexpected errors in contemporary applications. To minimize the impact these failures have, developers used to spend a lot of time and effort simulating as many errors as possible to be sufficiently prepared. Now, ReplicaSet helps them overcome this challenge by keeping a certain number of pods active.
Microservices engineers must manage the availability of their applications in order to provide the intended service and function. Moreover, they need to ensure that the service continues to operate without exception, in response to customer requests. The Kubernetes service discovery trait controls this so that engineers can spend more time on development projects.
Containers are standard software units that pack all the required code and dependencies for applications to run. Developers can use containers to deploy and run applications quickly and easily. Benefits provided by containers:
Companies commonly acquire multiple containers that require management, monitoring, deployment, and reliable connectivity in a cloud environment. Containerization platforms such as Kubernetes make it easy for developers to effectively manage these many containers.
Developers can easily move the application container to the cloud as the containers pack the application components into manageable block units. Hands-on management of containers can be tricky, which is why engineers use Kubernetes to migrate applications to the cloud and coordinate systems.
Below are the most popular migration strategies to a cloud-based container management platform.
Also commonly known as lift and shift, this strategy is the simplest. Complete applications and web services with all of their components are rolled into a Kubernetes cluster. This approach entails encasing your application in a container before deploying by configuring Kube yaml files. This approach is the fastest way to migrate to Kubernetes in the cloud as no changes to the app are required.
On the other hand, this strategy isn’t the most efficient way to make use of the cloud environment provided by Kubernetes. Firstly, all the fantastic benefits and flexibility of Kubernetes will not be available straight away, but the services and app components can be further broken down into additional nodes after the initial cloud migration completes.
This strategy requires specific preparation of the app along with making fundamental changes to the way the app works for migration to be successful. The migration process often involves dividing functions and services into separate containers and pods. Using the same application with different configurations is a quick solution to replatforming services.
However, replatforming takes more time than rehosting, as preparing applications for a container-based cloud setting is a complicated process. The process can be simplified by using local Kubernetes clusters and Minikube.
Migrating to a cloud cluster such as GKE or Azure becomes simpler when the updated version is available and the cloud cluster is set out. Applications can even be tested in Minikube to guarantee a smooth transition.
This method requires altering the entire application and supporting services. Refactoring migrations provide the ability to take full advantage of the cloud by redesigning the entire application. For example, cloud-native frameworks like Knative can be utilized to rebuild services intended to work with Kubernetes. This approach also allows you to operate serverless workloads in the cloud.
The downside, much longer migration times and extra resource requirements. The main advantage of this approach is a resulting application that is fully scalable and cloud-native. Use of this process is only recommended if codebase is necessary to support a large version upgrade, or if the goal is to achieve a completely cloud-native infrastructure.
Migrating to the cloud via a containerization platform such as Kubernetes provides many benefits but also challenges for developers. The ability to seamlessly migrate entire applications to the cloud with all components wrapped in an easily manageable package saves a lot of time and resources. In addition, companies can gain a better understanding of application traffic, develop a robust disaster recovery strategy, and improve their cloud security infrastructure.
Kubernetes is also future-proof, with advanced applications being created to improve its capabilities and offering. For example, Prometheus Kubernetes is an open-source instrument specifically designed to monitor the performance of cloud servers and migrated applications.
However, while K8s is a powerful tool, it can often be overkill for simpler applications that are not too complex, are not intended to drastically scale, and were not designed to support a vast audience. This complex application can be cumbersome and requires the adaptation of existing software to facilitate smooth migrations.
Companies utilizing Kubernetes to begin cloud migration practices should select a migration strategy that works best for certain applications by exploring its specific characteristics and functions.
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