The tech era is undoubtedly unlocking a vast store of traditionally untapped potential within enterprise organizations. By spreading operations across a network of digital infrastructure, companies are no longer beholden to expensive, localized server networks and in-house hardware to run their critical applications. As CTOs and other C-Suite executives continue to recognize the benefits of multi-cloud application environments, container management systems are becoming more and more important. Open-source programs systems like Kubernetes have revolutionized this practice.
Thanks to the contributions of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and thousands of different companies and DevOps teams from across the globe, Kubernetes has progressed beyond Day 0 and Day 1 for the majority of firms that implement it. From design and proof of concept to installation and deployment, the cloud application solution has solidified its position as a strong option for enterprises looking to scale their operations in a multi-cloud environment. But, for as much attention as the initial infrastructure planning and deployment process receives from DevOps departments, the upkeep of Kubernetes remains one of the most complicated and challenging tasks for organizations.
Day 2 operations, which includes the monitoring of Kubernetes and the infrastructure services to manage, identify and solve any issues, requires a combination of skills that may not be familiar to many of the IT developers within this rapidly specializing field. Manual installation of Kubernetes is a great way for professionals to familiarize themselves with the nuances of the system, but, when it comes time to actually scale the system, a more efficient, pragmatic approach is necessary.
Day 2 Kubernetes Concerns
Container orchestration systems like Kubernetes are adopted because companies have to spread their operations across different cloud application environments to maintain cost-effective functionality. Depending on the best practices and protocols of the organization, containers can be grouped into highly specific or generalized clusters. Each offers a series of benefits and risks that stakeholders need to keep in mind of the process to function optimally.
Kubernetes clusters don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s important to understand the risk profile of Kubernetes in the Day 2 operations stage.
Because of the flexibility and extensibility that it affords, Kubernetes lacks adequate security by default. By allowing multiple users to make requests and deploy applications across multiple, dynamic environments, the cloud application management system can be exploited for vulnerabilities unless guard rails are established.
Kubernetes allows for multiple different applications and systems to be integrated into the same container management system. This can mean multiple, disparate teams, protocols, and even languages are being used within the same cluster. Ensuring each team is abiding by company best practices becomes increasingly difficult at scale.
When failures inevitably happen, it can be difficult to determine the scope and underlying reason. Additionally, the expansive nature of the Kubernetes system makes it difficult to have individuals dedicated to monitoring all aspects at once.
Managing a shared platform becomes increasingly difficult in enterprise environments as companies try to scale operations while still updating their various clusters. To manually carry out this kind of management would require massive expenditure on oversight positions, ultimately leading to financial drain.
Solving Day 2 with Simplicity: Isolation and Access Controls
Although the aforementioned issues can make Day 2 operations seem increasingly complex, policy engines allow DevOps teams to effectively meet these challenges. In the case of Kubernetes, Nirmata’s open-source Kubernetes policy engine, called Kyverno, allows for the simple automation of multiple regulatory tasks. These automated controls are centralized, meaning implementation is simple and widespread.
The two main benefits of policy engines are that they allow for both Isolation and specific access control. These core features help enterprises maintain a fine-grained control over who has access to the container management system and what they can do within that system.
The popularity of multi-cloud application environments is that they allow for the integration and application of a diverse range of software tools. Unfortunately, clusters are less secure than traditional software systems because they don’t employ a protective layer around the entire system. Instead, container management tools and policy engines allow for individual, isolated clusters to be secured through the use of specific policies. These specific measures allow for highly-contextualized policy development and implementation, as well as allowing any necessary resource mutations to be done in real-time.
Having dozens to hundreds of isolated clusters means that companies need fine-grained control over who is given access to each cluster and also who gets access to applications within each cluster. Because Kubernetes is so dynamic, there is expanded system access when it is in an unregulated state — this represents a huge security risk, especially during Day 2 operations.
Policy engines like Kyverno allow companies to enact high-level policy protocols across all environments to ensure that the correct users are accessing the system. As teams grow, shrink, and change during Day 2 operations, these policies can mutate to ensure that they are still applicable in their given cloud applications environment. The secure self-service that is enabled by expanded access control functionality also allows for efficient, real-time intervention in the event of environment-specific configuration errors.
Given the increasing reliance on multi-cloud environments amongst today’s competitive enterprise industries, it’s no surprise that Day 2 operations challenges are surpassing development and deployment as a top concern for CIOs and CTOs across the globe. Addressing production lifecycle issues with Kubernetes container management requires a cloud-native solution with the ability to correct isolated, cluster-specific issues. Kubernetes policy engines like Kyverno give stakeholders enhanced access control over their various DevOps teams, ensuring that production-stage errors are reduced.
If you want to learn more about how Kyverno can improve the operations of your multi-cloud enterprise system, reach out to Nirmata today! Our experienced team of professionals created this Kubernetes policy engine and therefore provide the best insights and solutions relevant to this domain.
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