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An Essential List Of Different Ways To Set Up And Run Kubernetes

Meaning helmsman or pilot in Greek, Kubernetes is a flexible and portable open-source platform used to manage containerized workloads and services on a web server framework required to run cloud applications. The Kubernetes system makes it possible to outsource data centers to public cloud service providers and offer large-scale web hosting.  




Businesses and organizations running mobile applications and websites featuring lots of custom code can utilize Kubernetes on most commodity hardware, resulting in reduced public cloud host web server costs and better optimization of software development processes. 


The key role of Kubernetes is to automate web server provisioning in tune with the level of web traffic in production. The hardware required to operate web servers is not restricted to one location and is often found across a range of data centers, hardware, and hosting providers.  


The architecture of Kubernetes originates from the code used by Google to manage scaled-up data centers and later Amazon Web Services (AWS) started to provide elastic web server frameworks with the introduction of the EC2 platform. The benefit of Kubernetes is that it allows companies to orchestrate containerized systems with open-source code and the majority of public cloud hosts including AWS, Azure and Google provide Kubernetes support so that customers can utilize the platform to make the most of data center outsourcing, optimize mobile and web applications, receive SaaS support, run cloud web hosting or carry out high-performance computing. 


For those looking to learn more about Kubernetes, how it works and which tools are required to set it up, here is an essential list of the different ways to do it. 

Security Considerations

Before going further into the various tools that can be used to set up Kubernetes, it is important to consider security. In recent years, both the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released advice on Kubernetes hardening for companies and organizations to follow guidelines to make their Kubernetes deployments more secure. The report provides a range of practical recommendations to encourage the secure administration of Kubernetes, the main areas of the report include: 


  • Supply-chain attacks; can occur during the infrastructure acquisition or the container build cycle 
  • Insider threats posed by administrators, cloud service providers, or system users who have been granted permission to access the infrastructure of a Kubernetes system and chosen to abuse their privileges 
  • Malicious actors who can take advantage of misconfigurations and weaknesses in parts of the Kubernetes infrastructure such as issues with the control plane, containerized applications, or worker nodes 


 To improve Kubernetes security, the report put forth a range of recommendations, including: 


  • Operating containers and pods with the minimum possible privileges
  • Scanning containers and pods to discover misconfigurations and weaknesses
  • Implementing a firewall to reduce unnecessary network connectivity and ensure confidentiality by using encryption 
  • Reducing the risk of insider attacks by using powerful authentication and authorization processes
  • Separation of networks to manage the scope of damage caused by an attack
  • Utilizing log auditing to allow administrators to carefully monitor activity and spot activity that is potentially malicious
  • Scheduling regular reviews of Kubernetes settings after scans to identify security risks and apply patches when necessary 

Set Up Your Own Kubernetes vs Using Installers 

When it comes to setting up Kubernetes infrastructure, there are two main routes to take, which can be categorized as DIY solutions and bootstrapping methods. 

Do-It-Yourself Solutions

If you are looking to gain an in-depth understanding of how Kubernetes works or already have plenty of experience, then DIY Kubernetes set up solutions are the way to go. However, this option is rather labor-intensive and often the only way to fix an error is by deleting the cluster and starting the process over, as administrative tasks like rolling upgrades can be complex. The main benefit of DIY Kubernetes solutions is that the admin has full control over the creation of the infrastructure. 

Following Kubernetes the Hard Way

The original instructions for setting up Kubernetes called ‘Kubernetes the Hard Way’ provide a detailed step-by-step guide on how to set up a cluster from the ground up. The directions in the manual explain how to manually set up services with Google Cloud and AWS, and are a great way of gaining a good understanding of how the system works. 

Using Terraform and Ansible

Although not an installation tool by itself, Terraform is a useful tool as it allows users to transform installation tasks into declarative infrastructure so that repeatable tasks can be scripted and run through a version control system such as Git. To manage resources that interact with Kubernetes, Terraform provides a specific module. 


Similar to Terraform, Ansible allows users to produce scripts containing repeatable tasks to be performed by Kubernetes resources, however, the key difference between the tools is that Ansible enables direct communication with the Kubernetes API servers. 

Kubernetes Installers

If you are looking to simplify the installation process and make use of tools for administrative tasks, the best option is to make use of a Kubernetes installer that aims to install a cluster on AWS with minimal commands. 

Kubernetes Operations (kops)

Using Kops, an administrator can create, destroy, maintain or upgrade Kubernetes clusters in a command line and is currently supported by AWS, GCE, VMware, and vSphere. 


Created in 2016, Kubeadm is an official component of the Kubernetes open-source project and is one of the fastest and simplest methods to set up a Kubernetes cluster. The design scope of Kubeadms is relatively limited, although it can be installed on existing machines, meaning it can be used when setting up cluster flow with Terraform later being used to provide the infrastructure. 


Compared to other tools, Kubicorn is quite a new tool that can be used to build on kubeadm, additionally, it also allows users to bootstrap a cluster and manage infrastructure by utilizing a concept of profiles that describe the Kubernetes framework. 


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Kubernetes is an essential open-source framework required for running cloud-based applications and websites effectively and securely, therefore if you are planning to use Kubernetes, it is important to understand the security issues as well as the variety of ways to install and use Kubernetes.


Read more: What You Need to Know About Cloud Security

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