So, you know you want to run your application in Kubernetes but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re getting started but still don’t know what you don’t know.

This walk-through assumes you are a developer or at least comfortable with the command line (preferably bash shell).

What we’ll do

  1. Get the code and run the application locally
  2. Create an image and run the application in Docker
  3. Create a deployment and run the application in Kubernetes


Containerizing an application

In this section you’ll take some source code, verify it runs locally, and then create a Docker image of the application. The sample application used is a very simple Flask web application; if you want to test it locally, you’ll need Python installed. Otherwise, you can skip to the “Create a Dockerfile” section.

Get the application code

Use git to clone the repository to your local machine:

git clone

Change to the app directory:

cd hello-python/app

There are only two files in this directory. If you look at the file, you’ll see the application prints out a hello message. You can learn more about Flask on the Flask website.

from flask import Flask
app = Flask(__name__)

def hello():
return “Hello from Python!”

if name == “main”:‘’)

The requirements.txt file contains the list of packages needed by the and will be used by pip to install the Flask library.

Note: When you start writing more advanced Python, you’ll find it’s not always recommended to use pip install and may want to use virtualenv (or pyenv) to install your dependencies in a virtual environment.

Run locally

Manually run the installer and application using the following commands:

pip install -r requirements.txt

This will start a development web server hosting your application, which you will be able to see by navigating to http://localhost:5000. Because port 5000 is the default port for the development server, we didn’t need to specify it.

You may also like: 50+ Useful Kubernetes Tools

Create a Dockerfile

Now that you have verified the source code works, the first step in containerizing the application is to create a Dockerfile.

In the hello-python/app directory, create a file named Dockerfile with the following contents and save it:

FROM python:3.7

RUN mkdir /app
ADD . /app/
RUN pip install -r requirements.txt

CMD [“python”, “/app/”]

This file is a set of instructions Docker will use to build the image. For this simple application, Docker is going to:

  1. Get the official Python Base Image for version 3.7 from Docker Hub.
  2. In the image, create a directory named app.
  3. Set the working directory to that new app directory.
  4. Copy the local directory’s contents to that new folder into the image.
  5. Run the pip installer (just like we did earlier) to pull the requirements into the image.
  6. Inform Docker the container listens on port 5000.
  7. Configure the starting command to use when the container starts.

Create an image

At your command line or shell, in the hello-python/app directory, build the image with the following command:

docker build -f Dockerfile -t hello-python:latest .
Note: I’m using the :latest tag in this example, if you are not familiar with what it is you may want to read Docker: The latest Confusion.

This will perform those seven steps listed above and create the image. To verify the image was created, run the following command:

docker image ls

The application is now containerized, which means it can now run in Docker and Kubernetes!

Running in Docker

Before jumping into Kubernetes, let’s verify it works in Docker. Run the following command to have Docker run the application in a container and map it to port 5001:

docker run -p 5001:5000 hello-python

Now navigate to http://localhost:5001, and you should see the “Hello form Python!” message.

Running in Kubernetes

You are finally ready to get the application running in Kubernetes. Because you have a web application, you will create a service and a deployment.

First verify your kubectl is configured. At the command line, type the following:

kubectl version

If you don’t see a reply with a Client and Server version, you’ll need to install and configure it.

If you are running on Windows or Mac, make sure it is using the Docker for Desktop context by running the following:

kubectl config use-context docker-for-desktop

Now you are working with Kubernetes! You can see the node by typing:

kubectl get nodes

Now let’s have it run the application. Create a file named deployment.yaml and add the following contents to it and then save it:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
name: hello-python-service
app: hello-python

  • protocol: “TCP”
    port: 6000
    targetPort: 5000
    type: LoadBalancer

apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
name: hello-python
replicas: 4
app: hello-python
- name: hello-python
image: hello-python:latest
imagePullPolicy: Never
- containerPort: 5000

This YAML file is the instructions to Kubernetes for what you want running. It is telling Kubernetes the following: * You want a load-balanced service exposing port 6000 * You want four instances of the hello-python container running

Use kubectl to send the YAML file to Kubernetes by running the following command:

kubectl apply -f deployment.yaml

You can see the pods are running if you execute the following command:

kubectl get pods

Now navigate to http://localhost:6000, and you should see the “Hello form Python!” message.

That’s it! The application is now running in Kubernetes!

More Info


In this walk-through, we containerized an application, and got it running in Docker and in Kubernetes. This simple application only scratches the surface of what’s possible (and what you’ll need to learn).

Originally published by Jason Haley at


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