Book Review: Getting Started with Kubernetes – Second Edition

Kubernetes is both a powerful tool and a work in progress. Naturally, there is a lot of interest in the technology. At the moment, it’s not an easy skill to pick up. So you need all the help you can get. Getting Started with Kubernetes – Second Edition: Orchestrate and Manage Large-scale Docker Deployments by Jonathan Baier can help you start the journey. Using this book you can pick up the basics of container management and Kubernetes technology.

Technical Content

Getting Started with Kubernetes is designed for beginners. So it doesn’t expect you to have any prior knowledge. However, you need Google Cloud account and Amazon AWS account set up if you want to take advantage of the exercises. Only reading isn’t enough to learn the concepts. You need to try out the command line and code to get an in-depth understanding of the concepts and ideas.

The book starts with an introduction to container technology and Kubernetes. You learn the basics of container management and how Kubenetes can help. You will also run your first Kubernetes cluster in the beginning chapter. Getting a hands-on experience from the start will give you a taste of the technology. If you are just curious and trying to figure out if it’s the right solution for you, the beginning cluster exercise should help you make a more informed decision.

Next few chapters of the book go more in-depth into explaining the constructs of Kubernetes. Understanding pods, services, replica controllers and labels are important to exploit the full potential of the technology. The book does a great job of explaining these concepts with graphical representations and actual command line code. It also relates how services are related to networking an load balancing.

Kubernetes is an orchestration and automation tool. The book covers rolling updates, A/B testing, and autoscaling in the context of Kubernetes so you will have better ways to orchestrate your processes. There is a separate chapter on how you can support applications during deployment. It will give you more in-depth background in application scaling and updates.

With any microservices architecture, persistent storage for stageful applications is always a problem. Persistence brings its own challenges. Getting Started with Kubernetes discusses the topic of persistent storage and stateful operations and gives you pointers to deal with your own unique situation.
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Kubernetes is a tool that helps facilitate better development and deployment. So DevOps practices like continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) are important components of building a successful pipeline. The book takes you through the process of implementing CI/CD in your Kubernetes clusters and shows you how to use Jenkins in conjunction with Kubernetes. For monitoring and logging, it also shows you ways to use tools like FluentD and Grafana. FluentD collects data for unified logging layer and Grafana helps you visualize the data for better monitoring.

In the latter part of the book, more advanced topics are discussed. The discussion goes into cluster federation. Federation helps with the management of multiple clusters. It gives you the ability to inspect, launch and control resources across clusters. So federation can help you improve your productivity and get more out of Kubernetes.

The book also touches the topic of container security. It will help you get a basic understanding of the risks of using containers. It talks about important points to consider when you are dealing with sensitive data.

Getting Started with Kubernetes also discusses OCP, CoreOS, and Tectonic. These are the emerging standards that can help improve your Kubernetes implementation. You should be aware of these standards and their advantages if you want to be prepared for the future. The book ends with information about tips, tools, and helpful resources, so you can continue your learning journey.

Approach to the Material

The book follows the format of a standard technical guide. Each chapter opens describing and illustrating the concepts. Then, it goes into command line tools to show the concepts in action.

The illustrations are clear and in color. They are easy to follow. The paragraphs are divided into small chunks. The book uses bullet points, indentations, and italics. So it’s easy to read. It uses warnings and tips to emphasize important points.

According to the Hemingway App, the readability of the book is below Grade 8. So it’s an easy and fast read. However, following the examples will require a time investment. You will need to set aside significant time to complete the exercises. You can always just read them. But a guide like this is meant to be a hands-on experience. So if you don’t try the exercises, you’ll miss out on the learning experience.

The Final Verdict

As mentioned at the beginning, Kubernetes is a work in progress. So things are changing fast. You shouldn’t use the book Getting Started with Kubernetes as a how to install and run guide, as things might change by the time you get it. However, the book addresses ever-green issues about container management and development pipelines. Also, the core concepts have been around for a few years. Those topics are going to be the same even if you use a newer version of the platform.

Getting Started with Kubernetes is designed to be useful for beginners and returning practitioners. It does a remarkable job of covering the fundamentals. Also, it’s designed as a practical guide. The examples are relevant to any real-life operation. You can use this book as a springboard for your Kubernetes journey. If you are already a seasoned Kubernetes user, this book might not provide that much value for you.

The book emphasizes mainly on Google Cloud. Kubernetes was created based on Google Technology. So the emphasis is understandable. However, the recent Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS) is a managed service that makes it easy for you to use Kubernetes. You might take that into consideration when you are running the exercises.

Overall, Getting Started with Kubernetes is an excellent resource for beginners. You will learn the basics and explore real-life examples to gain hands-on experience. The book strikes a nice balance between theory and coding. Getting Started with Kubernetes should be a nice addition to your learning library.

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