What is Kubernetes?
I am sure everyone has heard about Kubernetes. It is considered to have a very fast adoption rate. It is called the Linux of the cloud. Even though Kubernetes is a very useful tool, it’s not the only tool used for orchestration. There are some alternatives to Kubernetes that help to carry out the function and sometimes more efficiently. Some tools like Docker, Mesos, and Nomad are included in a class of DevOps infrastructure management. This software is called Container Orchestration Engines. These tools develop an abstraction layer between the containers that run on the developer’s resources.
The whole point of working on containers and cloud is the effective allocation of the resources available. When multiple clouds and the company’s datacentre are used together to deploy various applications on the Orchestration Engines, the function gets complicated.
Basics of orchestration
While all the tools for Orchestration are classified in the terms of the ease of use, the features offered and supported. If we look at certain basics, it will be easy to understand. A simple e.g. would be a tool that multiple services are connected in a distributed computing network and contains a simple architecture. A good tool contains flexible load balancing features if not internally, it must support external clients.
These are a few basic requirements from an orchestration engine. The other desirable features are –
- Container scheduling
- System health checks
- Storage management
These tools are quickly evolving and various new features are being added. Besides, all the tools like Mesos and Kubernetes release major updates that add many features.
List of Kubernetes Alternatives
Now we are going to learn about Kubernetes Alternatives, So there are different types of Kubernetes Alternatives which are as follows:
1. Docker Swarm
Swarm and Docker Engine both make it possible to deploy the containers in Swarm mode. A Swarm cluster consists of Docker Engine which is deployed on multiple nodes. This functioning is similar to Kubernetes. Here there is a manager node that performs the orchestration function and cluster management.
The biggest challenge with using Kubernetes is that it is quite complicated. This is mainly because of the different setup for each Operating System is used. The system is not totally automatic and certain manual interference is necessary, whereas, Swarm is more user-friendly. The biggest advantage of using Swarm is that only one set of tools, Docker CLI is used to run all services. Using Swarm turns out to be cheaper than training thousands of employees on the use of Kubernetes.
2. Apache Marathon
Another popular tool for orchestration is Apache Marathon. Marathon is basically an orchestrator tool for Mesos. Mesos is considered as an orchestrator but it is actually a very scalable resource manager. There is a software called Mesosphere that does the functions like cluster management. In order to do this, it has Apache Mesos along with Marathon and Chronos as additional components.
The efficiency is derived by resource sharing as Mesos can reorganize workload to unused workloads. This also ensures durability and security if one of the nodes fails.
Mesos supports various frameworks that operate on this resource sharing feature. Marathon is also one of the frameworks and the function of Marathon is to launch other applications or frameworks. Besides this, Marathon can provide self-healing for containerized workloads. Marathon is scalable. It is versatile and can run in various environments. Hence, Marathon is used as a container orchestration platform with Mesos.
Unlike Kubernetes, Nomad is designed with a very small scope. It is one of the Kubernetes Alternatives because the architecture of Nomad is much simpler than Kubernetes. The client and the server ends of Nomad is a single binary. Nomad requires no additional resources or external management. Nomad is a very lightweight and sophisticated resource manager and a scheduler which consist of a bare minimum.
Nomad is a well-distributed and simple orchestration solution. It is highly available and supports virtualized containerized and standalone applications. Besides, Nomad efficiently works with various data center configurations and has been tested on up to 5,000 clusters. There is a possibility that Nomad can work without losing on efficiency with much larger clusters too.
Kontena, by a Finnish company, similar to Swarm was programmed to reduce the lead-time. The learning curve required to use this is not very steep, unlike the Kubernetes.
Kontena contains a separate server for authentication and the language used to develop this tool is Ruby. This makes Kontena different. The enterprise environments find this tool very attractive because it has a good audit log and very efficient access control options.
Kontena is very versatile and can be run on any infrastructure of cloud that has Linux. This OS can be on an actual machine or a Virtual setup or even any public, private or hybrid setup. In some aspects, Kontena is another alternative which is similar to Kubernetes. For eg., Kontena works on a virtual layer which is at a level higher than containers. These components of Kontena that build up the system are called services. The outermost container of the Kontena system that holds all the components together is called a grid. Kontena uses external and advanced network systems for inter-service communication. Some of these systems are Weave and OpenVPN.
Kubernetes is now considered as a service rather than a tool. The tool now includes a lot of options for various platforms like Microsoft, CoreOS, and Platform9. But Kubernetes uses a concept of a middleman. The Kubernetes alternatives mentioned above eliminate this step and become much easier to use. On a larger scale, companies prefer using Swarm rather than migrating to cloud in order to use Kubernetes because the transition involves many people.
On a smaller scale, tools like Nomad are preferred because it is simpler to use and it efficiently integrates with various services like Consul and Vault.
Any decision in an enterprise is made to choose a solution that is suitable in all situations. But in order to make an informed decision, one should be aware of various options. After understanding these options and the requirements of the company, the decision must be made taking into consideration the technical and financial constraints.
Kubernetes is without a doubt an excellent choice when it comes to an orchestration tool. But there can be other options better suited for the given situation.
This has been a guide on Kubernetes Alternatives. Here we have discussed Kubernetes Alternatives with Basics of orchestration and requirements of orchestration engine etc. You may also look at the following article to learn more :