Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) simplifies deploying a managed Kubernetes cluster in Azure by offloading the operational overhead to Azure. As a hosted Kubernetes service, Azure handles critical tasks, like health monitoring and maintenance. Since Kubernetes masters are managed by Azure, you only manage and maintain the agent nodes. Thus, AKS is free; you only pay for the agent nodes within your clusters, not for the masters.
Azure Kubernetes Service Benefits
Azure Kubernetes Service is currently competing with both Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). It offers numerous features such as creating, managing, scaling, and monitoring Azure Kubernetes Clusters, which is attractive for users of Microsoft Azure. The following are some benefits offered by AKS:
Efficient resource utilization
The fully managed AKS offers easy deployment and management of containerized applications with efficient resource utilization that elastically provisions additional resources without the headache of managing the Kubernetes infrastructure.
Faster application development
Developers spent most of the time on bug-fixing. AKS reduces the debugging time while handling patching, auto-upgrades, and self-healing and simplifies the container orchestration. It definitely saves a lot of time and developers will focus on developing their apps while remaining more productive.
Security and compliance
Cybersecurity is one of the most important aspects of modern applications and businesses. AKS integrates with Azure Active Directory (AD) and offers on-demand access to the users to greatly reduce threats and risks. AKS is also completely compliant with the standards and regulatory requirements such as System and Organization Controls (SOC), HIPAA, ISO, and PCI DSS.
Quicker development and integration
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) supports auto-upgrades, monitoring, and scaling and helps in minimizing the infrastructure maintenance that leads to comparatively faster development and integration. It also supports provisioning additional compute resources in Serverless Kubernetes within seconds without worrying about managing the Kubernetes infrastructure.
When running containers in a production environment, containers need to be managed to ensure they are operating as expected in an effort to ensure there is no downtime.
Without container orchestration, If a container was to go down and stop working, an engineer would need to know the container has failed and manually start a new one. Wouldn’t it be better if this was handled automatically by its own system? Kubernetes provides a robust declarative framework to run your containerized applications and services resiliently.
Kubernetes has been designed and built to be used anywhere (public/private/hybrid clouds).
Prevents Vendor Lock-In
Your containerized application and Kubernetes manifests will run the same way on any platform with minimal changes.
Increase Developer Agility and Faster Time-to-Market
Spend less time scripting deployment workflows and focus on developing. Kubernetes provides a declarative configuration which allows engineers to define how their service is to be ran by Kubernetes, Kubernetes will then ensure the state of the application is maintained.
Kubernetes understands and supports a number of various clouds such. This allows Kubernetes to instantiate various public cloud based resources, such as instances, VMs, load balancers, public IPs, storage..
Azure Kubernetes Service Use Cases
We’ll take a look at different use cases where AKS can be used.
Migration of existing applications
You can easily migrate existing apps to containers and run them with Azure Kubernetes Service. You can also control access via Azure AD integration and SLA-based Azure Services like Azure Database using Open Service Broker for Azure (OSBA).
Simplifying the configuration and management of microservices-based Apps
You can also simplify the development and management of microservices-based apps as well as streamline load balancing, horizontal scaling, self-healing, and secret management with AKS.
Bringing DevOps and Kubernetes together
AKS is also a reliable resource to bring Kubernetes and DevOps together for securing DevOps implementation with Kubernetes. Bringing both together, it improves the security and speed of the development process with Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) with dynamic policy controls.
Ease of scaling
AKS can also be applied in many other use cases such as ease of scaling by using Azure Container Instances (ACI) and AKS. By doing this, you can use AKS virtual node to provision pods inside Azure Container Instance (ACI) that start within a few seconds and enables AKS to run with required resources. If your AKS cluster is run out of resources, if will scale-out additional pods automatically without any additional servers to manage in the Kubernetes environment.
AKS can also be used to ingest and process real-time data streams with data points via sensors and perform quick analysis.
AKS Reference Art
The reference architecture is composed of:
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
At the center of the architecture is AKS.
A cluster running your workloads, deployed on AKS. With AKS you only manage agent nodes; AKS assumes responsibility for the Kubernetes control plane.
AKS creates a virtual network in which agent nodes can be deployed. In advanced scenarios, you can create a virtual network first, to give you more control over configuration of subnets, local connections, IP addresses, etc.
The ingress provides an HTTP/HTTPS path to access cluster services. Behind it, you will typically deploy an API Gateway to manage authentication and authorization.
Azure Load Balancer
Created when the NGINX ingress controller is implemented. Used to route incoming traffic to the ingress.
External data storage
Microservices are usually stateless and save data to external data stores, such as relational databases like Azure SQL Database or NoSQL stores like Cosmos DB.
Azure Active Directory (AD)
AKS has its own Azure AD identity, used to generate and control Azure resources for Kubernetes deployments. In addition to these mechanisms, Microsoft recommends using Azure AD to establish user authentication in client applications that use the Kubernetes cluster.
Azure Container Registry (ACR)
used to store your organization’s Docker images and use them to deploy containers to the cluster. ACR can also leverage authentication by Azure AD. Another option is to store Docker images in a third party registry, like DockerHub.
part of the Azure DevOps service, and can help you automate the build/test/deployment cycle. Alternatively, you can use a third-party CI/CD solution like Jenkins.
the Kubernetes package manager. You can use it to combine Kubernetes objects into a package for easier distribution and versioning.
Collects and stores logs from Azure services that interact with your Kubernetes cluster, including AKS controllers, nodes, and containers. You can use this data to monitor applications, configure alerts and dashboards, and analyze the root causes of errors.
Azure Kubernetes Service Pricing
AKS is a free container service where nothing will be charged for Kubernetes cluster management. You’ll have to pay only for the cloud resources such as VMs, storage, and network resources you consume makes it the most cost-effective container orchestration service in the market. Microsoft Azure introduced the Container Services calculator to calculate the estimated cost of the consumed or required resources.