Kubernetes Hosting: 9 Key Features and How to Choose

What Is Kubernetes Hosting? 

Kubernetes hosting, also known as managed Kubernetes, refers to a service offered by cloud providers where they manage and maintain Kubernetes infrastructure for you. This allows businesses to focus on deploying their applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. 

Managed Kubernetes services automate key tasks such as deployment, scaling, and operations of containerized applications, making it easier for organizations to adopt and scale their use of containers. Providers typically offer features like automated Kubernetes upgrades, security, built-in monitoring, and high availability for Kubernetes clusters. 

Most providers fully manage the Kubernetes control plane (including services like the API Server and etcd database), while the customer operates Kubernetes worker nodes, usually deploying them via services like Amazon EC2 or Azure VMs.

Managed Kubernetes simplifies the complexities associated with setting up, operating, and scaling Kubernetes. For organizations, this translates to reduced operational overhead and the ability to leverage Kubernetes expertise without needing to invest heavily in in-house talent. This is part of a series of articles about Kubernetes management.

Key Features of Hosted Kubernetes Services 

Here are some of the key features provided by Kubernetes hosting services:

  1. Automated cluster management: Managed Kubernetes services automate the provisioning, setup, and scaling of Kubernetes clusters, reducing the complexity of cluster management. This automation extends to upgrades and patching, ensuring that the Kubernetes environment is always up to date with the latest security patches and functionality.
  2. High availability and scalability: These services are designed to offer high availability for your applications by distributing workloads across multiple instances and automatically replacing failed instances. They also provide the ability to scale resources up or down based on demand.
  3. Cost management: Cloud providers offer advanced tools for managing the cost of Kubernetes architecture, including the ability to define budgets, receive alerts in case of cost overruns, and receive automatic recommendations for cost optimization.
  4. Comprehensive security features: Managed services provide built-in security features such as role-based access control (RBAC), network policies, and secrets management. These features help in securing access to the Kubernetes API, managing who can perform actions within the cluster, and safely handling sensitive information.
  5. Integrated developer tools and ecosystem: Managed Kubernetes providers typically integrate with a wide range of developer tools and ecosystems, including continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, monitoring tools, and service meshes.
  6. Automatic backups and disaster recovery: Regular, automatic backups of the cluster state and application data help in ensuring that you can quickly recover from any unforeseen data loss or corruption. Disaster recovery capabilities are designed to restore operations swiftly in case of system failures, minimizing downtime.
  7. Customizable networking: Managed Kubernetes services offer a range of networking options to suit different application needs, including the choice of CNI plugins, enabling secure and efficient communication between containerized applications. Networking features also support microservices architectures by providing service discovery and load balancing.
  8. Monitoring and logging: These services provide integrated monitoring and logging solutions that provide insights into the health and performance of applications and infrastructure. This visibility is crucial for troubleshooting issues, optimizing resource usage, and improving application performance over time.
  9. Compliance and certification: For businesses operating in regulated industries, managed Kubernetes services often comply with key industry standards and regulations, such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI-DSS. This compliance helps ensure that applications are secure and that data handling practices meet the required legal standards.

Related content: Read the detailed guide to cloud cost management

Types of Kubernetes Hosting Platforms 

Cloud-Based Kubernetes Services

Cloud-based Kubernetes services offer a fully managed Kubernetes environment in the public cloud. For example, the three major cloud providers offer managed Kubernetes services: Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides Elastic Kubernetes Cloud (EKS), Google Cloud offers Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and Microsoft Azure offers the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). 

These services provide a seamless integration with each cloud provider’s ecosystem, offering additional services like storage, networking, and security, which can be easily attached to your Kubernetes clusters. The advantage of cloud-based services lies in their scalability, reliability, and extensive network of global data centers, allowing for high availability and reduced latency for global deployments.

Hybrid Kubernetes Services

Hybrid Kubernetes services cater to organizations that require a blend of cloud-based and on-premise environments. These services are designed to provide flexibility, allowing businesses to manage Kubernetes clusters across multiple environments from a single pane of glass. 

Solutions like Red Hat OpenShift and VMware Tanzu allow organizations to deploy and manage applications across cloud environments and on-premise data centers. Hybrid services are particularly important for organizations with strict regulatory requirements that may necessitate keeping certain workloads on-premise, while still wanting to leverage the scalability and innovation pace of cloud services. They also facilitate a smoother transition to the cloud, allowing businesses to gradually migrate workloads to public cloud providers.

Learn more in our detailed guide to hybrid cloud Kubernetes 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Kubernetes Hosting Provider  

When evaluating managed Kubernetes services, several practical considerations are essential to ensure that the chosen provider aligns with your operational requirements and strategic goals. Here are key factors to assess:

  • Cluster management and operational tools: Investigate the level of control and automation offered for cluster management. This includes the ease of deploying new clusters, scaling existing ones, and managing the Kubernetes lifecycle. Consider the quality and accessibility of operational tools for monitoring, logging, and diagnosing issues within your clusters.
  • Service compatibility and integration: Assess how well the managed Kubernetes service integrates with other cloud services and external applications your organization uses. This includes storage options, databases, and CI/CD tools. Seamless integration can significantly reduce development and maintenance overhead.
  • Support for Kubernetes versions and upgrades: Look into the provider’s policy for supporting Kubernetes versions. It’s crucial that the service supports the latest Kubernetes releases and offers a straightforward process for upgrading clusters without downtime. This ensures access to the latest features and security patches.
  • Security and compliance features: Consider the security measures in place, including network policies, encryption, access controls, and compliance with industry standards (e.g., HIPAA, GDPR). The ability to easily implement and manage these security features is crucial for protecting your applications and data.
  • Cost structure and optimization: Understand the pricing model of the Kubernetes service, including the cost of cluster operations, network usage, storage, and any additional features. Look for tools and services offered by the provider to optimize costs, such as recommendations for resource allocation or spot instance utilization.
  • Technical support and SLAs: Review the level of technical support provided, including availability, response times, and access to Kubernetes experts. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are critical to understand the guaranteed uptime and the provider’s commitment to resolving issues.
  • Networking options and policies: Examine the networking capabilities offered, including support for different CNI (Container Network Interface) plugins, network policies for security, and options for ingress and egress control. Flexible networking options are important for supporting diverse application needs.
  • Ecosystem and community support: Finally, consider the ecosystem surrounding the managed Kubernetes service, including available integrations, extensions, and community support. A vibrant ecosystem can provide additional tools and resources that enhance your Kubernetes deployment.

Kubernetes Troubleshooting & Reliability with Komodor

Kubernetes troubleshooting is complex and involves multiple components; you might experience errors that are difficult to diagnose and fix. Without the right tools and expertise in place, the troubleshooting process can become stressful, ineffective and time-consuming. Some best practices can help minimize the chances of things breaking down, but eventually something will go wrong – simply because it can.

This is where Komodor comes in – Komodor is the Continuous Kubernetes Reliability Platform, designed to democratize K8s expertise across the organization and enable engineering teams to leverage its full value.

Komodor’s platform empowers developers to confidently monitor and troubleshoot their workloads while allowing cluster operators to enforce standardization and optimize performance.

By leveraging Komodor, companies of all sizes significantly improve reliability, productivity, and velocity. Or, to put it simply – Komodor helps you spend less time and resources on managing Kubernetes, and more time on innovating at scale.

If you are interested in checking out Komodor, use this link to sign up for a Free Trial