Efficient Cloud Migration With Kubernetes
Nowadays, most companies have at least one workload running in the cloud. Cloud environments are generally scalable, reliable and highly available. However, migrating large workloads to the cloud presents a challenge for developers. Using container-based cloud environments can be a solution.
A container packages the application components in easily manageable block units. Developers can then easily migrate the application containers to the cloud, making the process faster. Still, manually managing large quantities of containers can be difficult. This is why developers use orchestrate systems, such as Kubernetes. In this article, we will cover how you can migrate your applications efficiently to Kubernetes.
What Is a Cloud Migration Strategy?
Cloud migration is the process of migrating resources, data and workload to the cloud. Cloud computing is a type of computing where the services and capabilities are offered over the Internet.
A company can move their applications and data to a public or private cloud. Cloud migration provides benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness and scalability. However, there are some considerations to make before migrating your applications to the cloud.
A cloud migration strategy should consider the following security issues:
- Sensitive data—some data is not allowed to be stored in the public cloud due to compliance requirements. This includes storing and retrieving confidential data.
- Core proprietary technology—if your application relies on proprietary technology, it may not be compatible with the cloud provider. Another drawback is that the proprietary license does not include cloud deployment.
- Architecture compatibility—your application architecture may not be compatible with the cloud provider environment.
- Vendor lock-in—once you deploy your applications to a platform, it may be difficult to move to another provider.
- Downtime—cloud environments often guarantee minimal downtime. However, it can happen, so it’s best to account for this time into your cloud migration strategy.
Cloud service model
You should consider which type of cloud service meets your application requirements. There are three basic service models:
- IaaS—Infrastructure as a Service. It is more suitable for companies that want to outsource the hosting and management of their infrastructure.
- PaaS—Platform as a Service. A PaaS platform provides a full infrastructure environment.
- SaaS: Software as a Service. This model consists of a centrally hosted software that is available through a licensed subscription.
You can host your applications in a public, private or hybrid cloud. You can choose between three cloud types:
- Public—this model involves hosting your resources across public cloud servers. AWS and Azure provide public cloud services.
- Private—your resources are hosted in your own private cloud.
- Hybrid—your resources are hosted in a combination of on-premises and cloud data centers.
Other factors that can affect your cloud migration strategies are the complexity of the application, and its scalability, and compatibility with the cloud provider.
How Kubernetes Can Help With Cloud Migration
A container is a stand-alone software package which includes everything it needs to run. This enables developers to deploy applications easily and faster. Some of the benefits of containerization include:
- Portability—containers are self-contained units, enabling you to easily run the software across different environments. This simplifies software development and deployment.
- Scalability— the replication unit in Kubernetes is a pod, which consists of a number of containers deployed together. A cluster is a group of nodes, which can receive pods. This structure can help you easily scale up your application by adding pods to a cluster.
In a production environment, companies often end up with millions of containers that require deployment, management and connectivity. Container orchestration systems help developers manage large quantities of containers. This is where container orchestration services can help. There are several software-as-a-service solutions that can help companies with their cloud migration strategies.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes is an orchestration platform for automating the deployment and management of containerized applications across clusters of servers. It simplifies the daily container workflow by automatically handling storage and networking for containers.
The main benefit of a Kubernetes environment is that it enables high velocity through three key concepts:
- Immutability—Kubernetes requires building systems that meet the principles of immutable infrastructure, which means that servers cannot be modified after they’re deployed. To execute code in a container, you need the container image file. This file contains the instructions for the executable version of the application. The image becomes an instance of the container. You can use tagging to refer to a version of a container image.
- Declarative configuration—one of the ways Kubernetes support the creation of an object is the declarative object configuration. This method requires that you declare a desired state for the object, and the platform then matches this status.
- Self-healing system—once Kubernetes reaches a desired state configuration, the orchestrator strives to maintain the status. One of the best features of Kubernetes is its capability to replace unhealthy containers with new, healthy containers. This self-healing capacity monitors the health of containers in a pod to determine their health and act upon the results.
Cloud Migration Strategies: Three Methods
Here are the most common cloud migration methods to move your applications to a container management platform:
- Rehosting—also called “lift and shift”. It means you take your application as is and move it to a Kubernetes cluster, avoiding making changes to the software. Rehosting is the fastest method to migrate an application to a cloud environment.
- Replatforming—with this method, you only make minimal changes to adapt the application to the cloud environment. When migrating to a Kubernetes environment, you can make some basic changes by separating the functions into individual containers. For example, you can design a container for the app and another for the database.
- Refactoring—this approach involves modifying the app and the services to fit the containerized environment. The drawback of this method is that the migration process takes longer, as it often involves rewriting the entire application.
Moving to a cloud-based container platform such as Kubernetes presents many benefits for application developers. Decide which migration strategy works best for you by considering your objectives and the characteristics of the application. Assess your requirements and goals, and then decide which cloud migration strategy is right for your project.
Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Imperva, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership.