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G Suite Admins Blog > Multi-Cloud, Google Cloud Platform

An Apps Admin's Guide to Google Kubernetes Engine


A growing number of CIOs know, containers can make life a lot easier when it comes to managing, packaging, and shipping code. Since containers provide the operating system, or OS required to run an application, they can save you a great deal of time and money compared to the costs associated with running virtual machines and servers.

At Google, everything runs in containers, from YouTube videos, to search functions, to Gmail accounts. The containerization of these elements makes it easier for development teams to deploy software quickly, operate fast, and deliver innovations at an unbeatable scale.

Fortunately, Google's experience using containers has also given them the insight they needed to start offering their own container services to the IT Channel. This solution has been carefully packaged into the pre-existing Google Cloud Platform, so that any business, of any shape or size can tap into the latest information at a time that suits them.


What is the Google Kubernetes Engine?

Formerly called Google Container Engine, Kubernetes Engine is an efficient and effective tool for managing Docker containers. It's designed to help Google Admins and Dev-Ops manage their containers automatically based on set specifications regarding memory and CPU ability. The Container Engine was built using the open-source Kubernetes system, which means that organizing container clusters couldn't be simpler.

Developers can design applications through Container Engine that are reliable, highly secure, and backed by the dependable Google service-level agreement. These apps will also be able to scale massively, so that they can handle growing computing loads with ease.

With Google Kubernetes Engine, developers don't have to worry about how they can cluster containers together, where their containers will run, or whether they can get their containers up and running. Instead, all you need to do is tell the Engine what the app needs, and the system will take care of the rest. It's capable of managing everything from provisioning, to container logging, replication, and checking.


Why Use Containers in the First Place?

Before we continue to address why Google containers are so effective, let's consider why app developers should be using containers at all. Basically, instead of virtualizing your hardware stack with the virtual machine approach, the use of containers allows app developers to virtualize at an operating system level, with various containers running on top of the OS at once. This simply means that your containers are much more light-weight, and less likely to weigh down your application.

Containers can also silo applications and separate them from each other unless you choose to connect them directly. This means that app developers won't have to worry about dealing with resource allocation or conflicting dependencies. Instead, you simply choose the resource limits for each of your services, while enjoying an extra layer of separated security.

Containers ensure that developers have the ability to create a predictable environment that's isolated from other applications in a network. In fact, you can even design containers that facilitate software dependencies for each application, such as software libraries or programming language runtime, leaving you with stronger productivity. With containers, you can:

  • Reduce time spent diagnosing differences in environments and debugging issues with apps and software.

  • Run your containers anywhere, easing the deployment and development practices on all operating systems and virtual machines.

  • Virtualize your memory, CPU, storage, and network resources at the level of OS, so you can access a sandboxed view of your environment.


What Makes Google Kubernetes Engine So Useful?


Google Kubernetes Engine is perfectly suited for Dev-Ops and IT teams who want to focus on building application code, rather than basic infrastructure. It's also great when workload mobility is a concern, such as when you're moving applications between machines, or you're transferring code to a client that you need to be sure will work properly.


Google Kubernetes Engine supports app developers by:

  • Reducing overhead costs significantly compared to VMs and on-premise systems.

  • Removing the demands on IT when it comes to managing infrastructure.

  • Allowing for the development of portable applications to reduce cloud-vendor lock-in.

  • Reporting how resources are utilized to simplify the management process.


As a technology leader, Google can offer a truly innovative container solution. What's more, Google actually developed 'Kubernetes', the orchestration system that runs their container engine. Every week, the brand launches more than 2 billion containers, so they're completely devoted to developing the best containers on the market.


How Can Mid-Market Companies Benefit from Google Kubernetes Engine?


Currently, container technology is still in the early adoption phase, despite its obvious potential. However, many development experts have recognized this strategy as a solution for cutting costs, and minimizing time requirements when it comes to developing new apps.


Challenges that  Google Kubernetes Engine can help Dev-Ops teams to overcome include:

  • Application Speed Concerns: If you want to stay ahead in today's digitally disruptive environment, then your go-to-market strategy needs to be as fast as possible. Unfortunately, difficult-to-configure environments and complex IT requirements can make speed difficult to achieve. Google Kubernetes Engine can help by allowing developers to launch apps with minimal IT support, on a super-fast network. What's more, the containerization process itself is enough to improve go-to-production speed.

  • App Scalability Issues: Traditionally-created monolithic applications cannot scale easily to meet changes in customer demand. However, containers are naturally scalable, which means that developers can continue to build and adapt their applications however they like. What's more, network communications benefit from natural load balancing with  Google Kubernetes Engine.

  • IT Complexity: We're living in a world of ever-more complicated demands in the IT sector. This means that creating, and managing a resilient infrastructure takes up a lot of an app admin's time and expertise. Additionally, attempting to run on a multi-cloud network can be increasingly complex.    Google Kubernetes Engine helps by delivering the Kubernetes system, which runs the same on-premise, with the Amazon Web Services cloud, and with the Google Cloud Platform. That means that you don't have to worry about vendor lock-in. You can simply ship applications as and when you choose, without worrying about machines.

  • Reduce Time to Deploy: Today's app developers are spending too much time devoting their efforts to simple infrastructure, rather than innovating on new products. Google Kubernetes Engine has a failover and reliability solution in place for applications by default. What's more, the Container Engine seamlessly addresses node failures within an instant.


Whether Google Kubernetes Engine is right for you is a decision that you'll need to make based on your company’s unique background and goals. However, it's safe to say that for agile app developers, this strategy has plenty of value to offer.