What is Kubernetes, & How it Works?

By Anshul Pal Oct22,2023
What is Kubernetes

In the world of modern software development and deployment, containerization has revolutionized how we package and distribute applications. Kubernetes, often abbreviated as K8s, is an open-source container orchestration platform that has become the de facto standard for managing containerized applications. In this article, we will explore what Kubernetes is and how it works.

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes, originally developed by Google and now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), is an open-source container orchestration platform. It provides a powerful and flexible framework for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes is designed to work with various container runtimes, and Docker is one of the most commonly used options.

In the ever-evolving landscape of software development and deployment, containers have become a game-changer for organizations. At the forefront of container management is Kubernetes, a container-centric orchestration platform that has emerged as the standard for deploying and running containerized applications. Google Cloud significantly contributes to this field, as Google initially conceptualized and developed Kubernetes, releasing it as an open-source project in 2014. Kubernetes has leveraged Google’s 15 years of experience in managing containerized workloads and has received valuable input from the open-source community.

official documentation of Kubernetes

Inspired by Google’s internal cluster management system, known as Borg, Kubernetes simplifies the entire process of deploying and managing applications. With its automated container orchestration capabilities, Kubernetes enhances the reliability of applications and reduces the time and resources required for day-to-day operational tasks.

What is Container Orchestration?

Much like virtual machines, containers excel in separating concerns within applications, yet they achieve this with significantly reduced overhead and remarkable flexibility. Consequently, containers have fundamentally transformed our approach to software development, deployment, and maintenance.

Within a containerized framework, the distinct services that form an application are encapsulated within individual containers and distributed across a cluster of physical or virtual machines. However, this paradigm shift necessitates the implementation of container orchestration, which serves as an essential tool for automating the deployment, management, scaling, networking, and ensuring the availability of applications based on containers.

Why kubernetes is calles K8s?

You may have heard Kubernetes referred to as “k8s” or “kube,” and it’s all about orchestrating containers, streamlining deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications.

Kubernetes traces its origins back to Google, where engineers conceived and initially developed it. The name “Kubernetes” originates from the Greek word for “helmsman” or “pilot,” symbolizing its role in guiding and managing containers, exemplified by the helm in the Kubernetes logo.

Key Concepts in Kubernetes

  1. Nodes: Kubernetes operates on a cluster of machines, called nodes. These nodes can be physical or virtual servers and are the foundation on which your containers run.
  2. Pods: Pods are the smallest deployable units in Kubernetes. They can contain one or more containers that share the same network namespace, making them ideal for co-locating tightly coupled applications.
  3. Services: Services are used to expose pods to the network. They provide a stable network endpoint to connect to a group of pods, which is essential for load balancing and scaling applications.
  4. ReplicaSets and Deployments: These objects are used to manage the replication of pods. ReplicaSets ensure a specified number of pod replicas are running, while Deployments provide updates and rollbacks for applications.
  5. Namespaces: Namespaces are virtual clusters within a physical cluster. They help in organizing and isolating resources and can be used to manage multi-tenant environments.

How Does Kubernetes Work?

  • Cluster Setup: A Kubernetes cluster typically consists of a master node and multiple worker nodes. The master node is responsible for managing the cluster, while the worker nodes run the containers. The master node includes various components like the API server, controller manager, and etcd, which serves as the cluster’s database.
  • Deploying Applications: To deploy an application in Kubernetes, you create a configuration file, typically written in YAML, which describes the desired state of your application. This file includes information about the number of replicas, container images, networking, and storage requirements.
  • API Server and Controller Manager: The API server is the primary entry point for interacting with the cluster. When you submit a configuration file, the API server processes it. The controller manager, which includes components like ReplicaSet and Deployment controllers, continuously monitors the cluster state and ensures that the actual state matches the desired state defined in your configuration.
  • Scheduler: The scheduler is responsible for deciding which worker node a pod should run on. It considers factors such as resource requirements, node capacity, and placement constraints.
  • Container Runtime: The container runtime, such as Docker or containerd, is responsible for running containers on worker nodes.
  • Kubelet: Kubelet is an agent running on each worker node. It communicates with the master node and ensures that the containers are running as specified in the pod configurations.
  • Service and Ingress: To provide network access to your applications, Kubernetes offers services for internal cluster communication and ingress controllers for external access.
  • Scaling and Load Balancing: Kubernetes allows you to scale your applications horizontally by increasing or decreasing the number of pod replicas. Services provide load balancing to distribute traffic among pods.
  • Monitoring and Logging: Kubernetes integrates with various monitoring and logging solutions, such as Prometheus and Fluentd, to help you track the health and performance of your applications.

Benefits of using Kubernetes

Kubernetes, the open-source container orchestration platform, offers numerous benefits to organizations and development teams. Some of the key advantages of using Kubernetes include:

  1. Scalability: Kubernetes simplifies the process of scaling applications. You can easily scale your application up or down to meet changing demands. This elasticity ensures your application can handle traffic spikes without manual intervention.
  2. High Availability: Kubernetes is designed to ensure high availability. It automatically distributes workloads across multiple nodes, and if a node or container fails, it can reschedule workloads to healthy nodes, minimizing downtime.
  3. Resource Efficiency: Kubernetes optimizes resource utilization by packing containers efficiently onto nodes. This ensures you get the most out of your infrastructure, reducing costs and improving performance.
  4. Automated Rollouts and Rollbacks: Kubernetes allows for seamless application updates. You can define how updates should be performed and rolled back in case of issues, reducing the risk of disruptions.
  5. Security: Kubernetes offers various security features, including RBAC (Role-Based Access Control), network policies, and secrets management. These features help protect your applications and sensitive data.
  6. Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Support: Kubernetes is cloud-agnostic, allowing you to run your applications on various cloud providers or in hybrid cloud environments with ease.
  7. Ecosystem: The Kubernetes ecosystem is rich and diverse, with a wide range of tools and add-ons available. These tools can extend Kubernetes’ functionality and provide solutions for specific use cases, such as monitoring, logging, and CI/CD.
  8. Cost Efficiency: Kubernetes can help lower operational costs by streamlining the management of containers and reducing the need for manual intervention, thereby enhancing overall operational efficiency.


Kubernetes has revolutionized container orchestration, making it easier for developers and DevOps teams to manage and scale containerized applications. Understanding the key concepts and how Kubernetes works is essential for those looking to leverage its power in modern software development and deployment. As the cloud-native ecosystem continues to evolve, Kubernetes remains a fundamental piece of the puzzle, enabling organizations to build, deploy, and manage applications at scale.

By Anshul Pal

Hey there, I'm Anshul Pal, a tech blogger and Computer Science graduate. I'm passionate about exploring tech-related topics and sharing the knowledge I've acquired. With two years of industry expertise in blogging and content writing. Thanks for reading my blog – Happy Learning!

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