Kubernetes, often abbreviated as K8s, is an open-source container orchestration platform from Google. It automates the deployment, management, and scaling of container-based applications, enabling software developers to focus on writing their code without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.
Kubernetes clusters consist of a control plane and worker nodes. The control plane manages cluster-wide configurations, while worker nodes run containers inside pods. Key features include load balancing, self-healing, and horizontal scaling.
Kubernetes has become an industry standard, supported by major cloud providers and a large ecosystem of tools and services, making it a popular choice for managing containerized applications.
Serverless computing is a cloud computing paradigm that abstracts away server management and infrastructure provisioning, allowing developers to focus on writing code for individual functions. In this model, cloud providers automatically allocate resources, scale the application based on demand, and charge users only for the actual compute time consumed, rather than pre-allocated resources.
Serverless computing simplifies application development, deployment, and maintenance by reducing the operational overhead. Popular serverless platforms include AWS Lambda, Microsoft Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions. While serverless offers advantages, it may not suit all use cases due to potential latency, vendor lock-in, and limitations in customization.
This is part of a series of articles about serverless monitoring
In this article
Serverless and Kubernetes are two popular technologies used for deploying and managing applications, but they are designed for different use cases and offer different advantages. Here’s a comparison of Serverless and Kubernetes:
Serverless computing is an event-driven, managed execution environment where cloud providers dynamically allocate resources to run your application code. With serverless, you don’t need to manage any underlying infrastructure. Azure Functions, AWS Lambda, and Google Cloud Functions are examples of serverless platforms.
Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform that automates the scaling, management, and deployment of containerized applications. Kubernetes manages the infrastructure by distributing containers across clusters of virtual or physical machines.
Serverless platforms automatically scale your applications based on demand. This means that as the number of requests or events increases, the platform will allocate more resources to handle the load without any manual intervention.
Kubernetes also supports scaling, but it requires manual configuration of auto-scaling rules or the use of custom metrics to determine when to scale the application.
Serverless platforms typically use a pay-per-use pricing model, where you are billed for the number of requests and the duration of execution time. This can lead to cost savings, especially for applications with variable or unpredictable workloads.
Kubernetes requires you to provision and manage the application’s underlying infrastructure, such as virtual machines or physical servers. This can result in higher costs, particularly for applications with low or sporadic workloads.
Flexibility and control
Serverless platforms abstract away the underlying infrastructure, which can limit the level of control and customization available to developers. This can be a disadvantage for applications with specific infrastructure requirements or complex networking configurations.
Kubernetes provides a high level of flexibility and control over the infrastructure, allowing you to customize networking, storage, and compute resources as needed.
Serverless frameworks are tools that simplify the development, deployment, and management of serverless applications. They enable serverless computing on Kubernetes by providing a layer of abstraction, handling the orchestration of containerized functions while leveraging Kubernetes’ scalability and robustness.
OpenFaaS (Open Function as a Service) is an open-source, community-driven project that provides a platform for running serverless functions on Kubernetes. OpenFaaS focuses on simplicity, ease of use, and developer experience.
OpenFaaS has a modular architecture, consisting of the following components:
Functions in OpenFaaS are packaged as Docker images, making it easy to build, distribute, and run them on any platform that supports Docker containers.
Knative is a Kubernetes-based open-source platform that simplifies building, deploying, and managing serverless applications. It is developed by Google in collaboration with other industry leaders like IBM, Red Hat, and Pivotal. Knative focuses on providing a set of middleware components that enable developers to use familiar idioms, languages, and frameworks.
Knative’s modular architecture comprises the following components:
Knative functions are Kubernetes-native, running inside containers as standard Kubernetes deployments, ensuring compatibility with existing tooling and infrastructure.
Apache OpenWhisk is an open-source, distributed serverless platform developed by IBM, designed to execute functions in response to events. It supports a variety of languages and can be deployed on various platforms, including Kubernetes.
OpenWhisk’s architecture consists of the following components:
Functions in OpenWhisk are packaged as Docker images or as platform-specific artifacts, allowing flexibility and portability across different platforms.
Fission is an open-source, Kubernetes-native serverless framework focused on providing a fast, simple, and efficient platform for running functions. Fission emphasizes a short cold-start time and seamless integration with the Kubernetes ecosystem.
Fission’s architecture comprises the following components:
Lumigo is a distributed tracing platform purpose-built for troubleshooting microservices in production. Developers building serverless apps with Kubernetes, Amazon ECS, AWS Lambda or other services use Lumigo to monitor, trace and troubleshoot their microservice-based applications. Deployed with no changes and automated in one-click, Lumigo stitches together every interaction between micro and managed services into end-to-end stack traces, giving complete visibility into serverless environments. Using Lumigo to monitor and troubleshoot their applications, developers get: