Terminology


We have learned that Kubernetes is an orchestration system to deploy and manage containers. Containers are not managed individually; instead, they are part of a larger object called a Pod. A Pod consists of one or more containers which share an IP address, access to storage and namespace. Typically, one container in a Pod runs an application, while other containers support the primary application.

Kubernetes uses namespaces to keep objects distinct from each other, for resource control and multi-tenant considerations. Some objects are cluster-scoped, others are scoped to one namespace at a time. As the namespace is a segregation of resources, pods would need to leverage services to communicate.

Orchestration is managed through a series of watch-loops, also called controllers or operators. Each controller interrogates the kube-apiserver for a particular object state, then modifying the object until the declared state matches the current state. These controllers are compiled into the kube-controller-manager, but others can be added using custom resource definitions. The default and feature-filled operator for containers is a Deployment. A Deployment does not directly work with pods. Instead it manages ReplicaSets. The ReplicaSet is an operator which will create or terminate pods by sending out a podSpec. The podSpec is sent to the kubelet, which then interacts with the container engine, Docker by default, to spawn or terminate a container until the requested number is running.

The service operator requests existing IP addresses and endpoints and will manage the network connectivity based on labels. These are used to communicate between pods, namespaces, and outside the cluster. There are also Jobs and CronJobs to handle single or recurring tasks, among others.

To easily manage thousands of Pods across hundreds of nodes can be a difficult task. To make management easier, we can use labels, arbitrary strings which become part of the object metadata. These can then be used when checking or changing the state of objects without having to know individual names or UIDs. Nodes can have taints to discourage Pod assignments, unless the Pod has a toleration in its metadata.

There is also space in metadata for annotations which remain with the object but cannot be used by Kubernetes commands. This information could be used by third-party agents or other tools.