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Phase 4: Improve

Improve cluster security, efficiency and reliability

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Introduction

Reaching phase 4 is a significant achievement for Kubernetes maturity. You will regularly deploy and ship features with success into Kubernetes. Your developers will be comfortable with:

  • Kubernetes terminology they are expected to affect like Deployment, Daemon Set, Service or Namespace
  • Modifying some configuration of Kubernetes resources like ConfigMap or Helm charts
  • Troubleshooting CI/CD process
  • Troubleshooting apps/service within Kubernetes including accessing logs and event and retrieving metrics/monitoring
You have more than the foundation covered and can now focus on improving operations.
Security, Efficiency and Reliability

For organization wide adoption of Kubernetes to be successful, you will need to spend time improving security, efficiency and reliability. It is important to have visibility into your configurations around these topics.

Security

You need to identify who is responsible for Kubernetes cluster security and how it will be managed. Can you quickly identify misconfigurations that leave security holes in your container and Kubernetes implementation?

Efficiency

Is Kubernetes running efficiently? Who is responsible for monitoring resource utilization to ensure you are not over provisioning or under provisioning resources. What’s the scope of your application or service?

Reliability

Does Kubernetes introduce any downtime challenges? Is the system reliable? Are you implementing all of the self-healing, autoscaling functionality and doing it without introducing configuration problems?

Each of these areas requires you and your team to develop policies and establish ways to easily ensure they are implemented across your clusters. Policy-driven configuration validation can help to:

  • Enforce custom policies through Open Policy Agent (OPA) integrations at the CI/CD stage, or as an admission controller
  • Prevent mistakes by detecting issues during application development to prevent mistakes from entering production in the first place
  • Save time by automatically scanning containers for vulnerabilities and auditing clusters for weaknesses
  • Reduce costs by identifying how to increase the efficiency of Kubernetes compute resources
Challenges

As with each stage of maturity, you’ll experience new pain points. You may be challenged with:

  1. Complexity that is now outside of your comfort zone
  2. Maintenance and operations efforts are large and costing teams time and toil
  3. Team worries around understaffing, boredom, distractions or skillset unable to address deeper Kubernetes challenges

Overcoming these challenges when you reach this level of maturity can be complicated. It may require hiring experts in house, however the budget may not exist. This is another area where training, professional and managed services, audits and configuration validation can help.

Outcomes
  • You have achieved a significant milestone in your Kubernetes maturity

  • You are improving security, efficiency and reliability by spending time with cluster configuration

  • Your team will be able to focus on your business instead of maintaining Kubernetes

Phase four is not the finish line. Without pushing to Phase 5 and continuing to optimize, you'll never realize the full benefit and value of Kubernetes.

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