Container orchestration tools are software solutions for web app management used during the development, testing, and deployment stages. Let’s take a look at the basic concepts of container orchestration processes and discover the best software for their implementation.
What Is Container Orchestration Tool?
Container platforms like Docker are often used for microservice-based apps packaging (containerization).
With the growing number of containers, the management process becomes more difficult. Container orchestration solves this problem by automating deployment, scaling, load balancing, and networking.
The main container orchestration benefits are:
- easy deployment and management;
- adaptability and portability;
- stable OS resource virtualization;
- equable load balancing ability;
- high scalability.
Deployment Strategies Used by Container Orchestration Tools
Let’s take a look at the basic strategies for container orchestration:
- recreate: version A is terminated and version B is rolled out;
- ramped (also known as rolling-update or incremental): version B is gradually rolled out and replaces version A;
- blue/green: versions A and B are released simultaneously, then the traffic is redirected to version B;
- canary: version B is released to a subset of users, then you proceed to a full rollout;
- a / b testing: version B is released to a subset of users under specific conditions;
- shadow: version B receives real traffic alongside version A and doesn’t impact the response.
Container Orchestration Tools Comparison
Now let’s take a look at the container orchestration tools list compiled by our experts.
Kubernetes is probably the best container orchestration tool that offers a wide range of features including automatic load balancing and scaling.
The Kubernetes software consists of four main components:
- nodes. In Kubernetes, nodes run containerized workloads and facilitate data exchange. Nodes can be virtual or physical;
- clusters. Clusters are sets of the nodes that consume resources and run containerized apps;
- replication controllers. Replication controllers are smart agents that schedule and allocate resources between containers;
- shortcuts. Shortcuts are the tags Kubernetes tool uses to identify containers in a module.
Kubernetes also offers an extensive function library and gives developers unmatched control over microservices. As a result, it provides great opportunities for building easy-to-manage container orchestration solutions.
EKS (AWS), AKS (Azure), GKE (Google)
It is important to review cloud Kubernetes services as well.
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (AWS) can be used in conjunction with Kubernetes. In particular, AWS is equipped with a tool called Elastic Container that serves as a means to run Kubernetes applications within the same cluster.
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) provides a serverless Kubernetes platform with built-in continuous integration and continuous delivery capabilities and enterprise-grade security and governance. Bring development and operations teams together on a single platform so you can build, deliver, and scale applications quickly and confidently.
Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is a cloud-based managed container orchestration service. GKE Autopilot has two components – the control plane and the work nodes. The management plane is responsible for managing the entire infrastructure of the cluster and the workloads running on it. And nodes run client applications packaged in containers.
Mirantis is a container orchestrator tool that helps to manage Kubernetes and Docker Swarms clusters with maximum flexibility. Mirantis offers multi-layered security including role-based access control (RBAC). With node-based isolation, this tool also forms an efficient multi-tenant architecture with clear resource sharing.
Mirantis uses Calico for Kubernetes networks and includes Istio Ingress to improve load balancing and provide optimized gateway management. This tool also helps to submit code faster and provides an easy experience on major cloud platforms.
With this solution, organizations can scale and modernize apps using the Drivetrain lifecycle management system. This tool integrates with the Mirantis Cloud platform to regularly update and improve open-source software. The Mirantis Drivetrain Lifecycle enables a DevOps development approach and also provides a continuous delivery pipeline.
The key features of Mirantis Kubernetes Engine:
- simplified container management with standard assemblies patterns usage;
- high-level security provided with independent apps running in different containers;
- app portability to various platforms;
- continuous-integration for faster deployment with Mirantis Drivetrain.
Mesos is the next cluster management tool that efficiently orchestrates containers. Mesos is open-source software that enables resource sharing between distributed frameworks. It provides resource allocation using modern core features such as Zones on Solaris and CGroups on Linux. Mesos also uses the Chronos Scheduler for running and stopping the services, and the Marathon API for services scalability and load balancing.
Key features of Apache Mesos:
- a graphical user interface for monitoring the cluster’s health;
- linear scalability with 10,000 node deployments;
- LXC isolation between tasks;
- integration with Zookeeper for fault-tolerant master replication;
- API for new app development in Java, C ++, etc.
Helios helps developers manage Docker containers by deploying them on distributed servers. Helios is especially popular with developers for its practicality and functionality that enhances CI/CD pipelines.
The platform integrates seamlessly with most DevOps workflows and doesn’t require any specific operating systems, cloud services, or network topologies. As the next benefit, Helios documents the cluster history with event logs such as restarts, deployments, and version changes. It helps developers identify underlying security vulnerabilities, effectively leveraging the HTTP API client or command-line interface.
Key features of Helios:
- integrated container orchestration tool in DevOps;
- can run both single-node and multi-node instances;
- doesn’t require Apache Mesos usage;
- provides prescribed load balancers and routers independence.
OpenShift provides an enterprise-grade hybrid platform that extends Kubernetes functionality for companies looking for managed orchestration. The platform is built on an enterprise-grade Linux operating system that automates the containerized app lifecycle.
This tool provides easy management of all the workloads using a container to virtualize each host. Moreover, with the help of templates and ready-made images, OpenShift simplifies the usage of databases, frameworks, and so on. The result is a highly optimized platform that standardizes manufacturing workflows, enables continuous integration, and helps companies to automate app services management.
On the Red Hat Marketplace, you can also purchase certified apps in different niches, such as billing, transparency, governance, and operational support.
Key features of Red Hat OpenShift:
- built-in Jenkins pipelines streamline workflows, speeding up production;
- comes with embedded container runtime (CoreOS), but also can be integrated with the standard CRI-O and Docker runtimes;
- supports SDN and tests integration with various network solutions;
- can be integrated with various development and operational tools for self-service containers;
- has the Embedded Operator Hub that gives administrators easy access to services such as Kubernetes operators, third-party solutions, and cloud service providers, such as AWS.
The software development industry is constantly changing and the need for container orchestration arises as its complexity grows. The list of container orchestration tools we have selected based on our DevOps experience will help you quickly and inexpensively automate the process of developing and organizing containers.
Dmitry has 5 years of professional IT experience developing numerous consumer & enterprise applications. Dmitry has also implemented infrastructure and process improvement projects for businesses of various sizes. Due to his broad experience, Dmitry quickly understands business needs and improves processes by using established DevOps tools supported by Agile practices. The areas of Dmitry’s expertise are extensive, namely: version control, cloud platform automation, virtualization, Atlassian JIRA, software development lifecycle, Confluence, Slack, Service Desk, Flowdock, Bitbucket, and CI/CD.