Understand Kubernetes terminology from namespaces to pods

Understand Kubernetes terminology from namespaces to pods

Kubernetes can be a critical piece of successful DevOps but there's a lot to learn. We explain the terms and share a hands-on demo.

If you're brand new to Kubernetes, you'll want to start with our [Kubernetes 101 guide_](https://about.gitlab.com/blog/2019/10/24/kubernetes-101/)._

Kubernetes and containers are often seen as two key elements in a successful DevOps practice. But there's no question that Kubernetes can be intimidating to those not familiar with it. In fact, our 2020 Global DevSecOps Survey found just 38% of respondents are actively using Kubernetes today while 50% are not. Anecdotally though, interest in Kubernetes is very high:

"We are on the path to get our monolithic server into a sert of microservices and the goal is to use Kubernetes to help on this side."

"We're trying to get there."

"It's a priority for our platform team."

This past spring staff distribution engineer Jason Plum and senior distribution engineer Gerard Hickey walked attendees at GitLab's company-wide meeting Contribute through something they called Kubernetes 102 that looked at the practical building blocks required for a cloud-native application on Kubernetes. As Jason puts it in the video, "what we're trying to do here is to not just say, 'Look at all the magic we do' but actually explain the things we're doing right." Although this was a "laptops out" demo, here's a look at the key concepts and Kubernetes terminology you'll need to understand followed by a link to the entire presentation if you'd like to dive right in.

Start with containers

A container is not a jail, but a jail is a container, Jason explains. "A container is a way of packaging an application so that it is portable. It's contained, hence (the term) 'container' and it's immutable. It's the runtime requirements to actually execute and package that up in an immutable form that you can hand to someone."

But containers can have a tendency to get out of hand so you need something to help keep track. That's where Kubernetes comes in, Jason says in the presentation. "So what is Kubernetes at a high level? I've seen orchestrator, I've seen management system and I've seen coordinator. Kubernetes is all of those things."

Kubernetes weaves both containers and software-defined networking together, creating "a platform you can deploy onto with a clear syntax," Jason says. "That syntax is replicable and not vendor bound so that you can deploy it anywhere that supports the official behaviors. Its job is to start containers, keep them running and make sure they're still running. That's what its job is really about."


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