Achieve Operational Efficiency with Cloud Native Integration

Jul 23, 2021
Achieve Operational Efficiency with Cloud Native Integration
Achieve Operational Efficiency with Cloud Native Integration

Speed and operational efficiency is one of the key differentiators between low-performing organizations and the leaders across industries. Kubernetes provides several out of the box capabilities that allow organizations to accelerate delivery cycles and rapidly scale their operations:

  • Application resiliency and responsiveness by replicating services under load with selective burst application components
  • Scaling the application across many servers in a cluster based on the dynamic user traffic. The Kubernetes autoscaler provides horizontal scaling by replicating pods to multiple nodes
  • Creation of symmetric environments to support various needs. Kubernetes makes the application portable across these environments 
  • Application reliability and stability with liveness and readiness checks
  • Application security with data encryption, vulnerability scanning, mutual TLS, and other capabilities
  • Rolling updates which can offer zero downtimes 

Kubernetes advocates an API-first microservice architecture for greater flexibility and immense scalability, but it also brings challenges. APIs are often used to consume enterprise-owned services as well as third-party products. Consequently, there is an explosion of temporal and ephemeral services with diverse technologies and specific integration patterns. These bespoke integrations must provide resilient communication, transport-level security, support throughput statistics, send tracing data to an observability tool, etc. Implementing all of these commodity features in all microservices is overwhelmingly complex. The effort would increase significantly if the microservices were written across different languages. 

Enterprise Integration as Non Functional Requirement

Application integration is one of the most critical yet largely concealed requirements of the Kubernetes architecture. As per a study by Gartner, integration accounts for around 50% of the time and cost in building modern cloud solutions. A siloed integration approach can become complex and time-consuming since a faulty integration can immediately affect the business. The costs get multiplied by the number of autonomous development teams as each team invests in learning until the required maturity. On the other hand, a coherent enterprise integration strategy can lead to development cost savings and early time-to-market.

Enterprises need a next-generation cloud native integration solution that is lean, lightweight, secure, fault-tolerant, and that supports various integration protocols. TriggerMesh is an agile, distributed, and API-centric solution that enables organizations to integrate microservices in the Kubernetes landscape. TriggerMesh offers enterprises operating in today's hybrid and multicloud environments several significant advantages, the most prominent of which we outline below.

Cloud Native Approach

Kubernetes is a vendor-neutral solution that organizations are leveraging for their hybrid cloud strategy. It allows them to build a strong cloud competency without having to worry about underlying vendor complexities. But there are often concerns regarding third-party solutions and their compatibility with the cloud infrastructure provider.

The cloud native approach prescribes distributed architecture with loosely coupled services and automation. While each of these services supports a limited function, they are highly elastic. Kubernetes provides the necessary abstractions to deploy the services on different infrastructures. It describes specifications that a cloud native solution must confirm for an optimal Kubernetes integration. These standards are quite progressive. They not only address current issues but also provides solutions for future growth, e.g., the cloud native event model routes events and allows you to work with dynamic workloads like logs, compute, etc.

Development teams can confidently leverage cloud native solutions with a significant level of interoperability for their hybrid cloud strategy—interoperability that applies to both the cloud infrastructure and to the solution as well. Teams can switch to a different cloud native tool without significant development effort. 

Out-of-the-Box Solutions

In larger organizations, teams often operate in silos with complete ownership and their own integration practices. This results in processes that are inconsistent with the holistic view of the business. Solutions like TriggerMesh can help by providing pluggable pieces that deliver specific functionality without building it from scratch. An integration platform will accelerate your deliverables if it can be used at multiple places across a variety of systems. As a result, it lowers the total costs and decreases time to market for applications. A cloud native solution allows standardization of processes and practices across different teams without reinventing the wheel.

Modest Learning 

Kubernetes’ API-first approach flattens the learning associated with a new tool. The approach recommends all Kubernetes solutions have their own custom resource definitions - a YAML based schema used to configure all features. The schema removes the need for tool-associated learning like CLI, configuration files, user interfaces, etc. Instead, it prescribes a YAML-based standard and Kubectl command for all business operations tools. Cloud native solutions like TriggerMesh offer easier paths for adopting cloud native architecture. 

Workload Management

All the resources in Kubernetes—Pods, Configurations, Deployments, Volumes, etc.—are expressed in a YAML format. The representation makes it easier for engineers to express their workloads without any programming language. Yet many large enterprises are struggling with DevOps and their ability to become cloud native. This is because the default Kubernetes configuration grows and replicates very quickly (number of components x number of environments), making it difficult to manage. 

Cloud native tools like Helm and Kustomize help to simplify this challenge. These tools provide templates for various Kubernetes resources that combine to form an application. Additionally, they also support environment or deployment-specific configurations which can be supplied at runtime. Thus Helm charts for TriggerMesh simplify Kubernetes deployments across multiple Kubernetes platforms.

The Kubernetes API also provides an operator extension, which is built using Custom Resource Definitions. It can perform various operations:

  1. Deploy a service
  2. Monitor and scale the service
  3. Back up service data
  4. Perform service recovery 
  5. Upgrade and many more

Kubernetes operators automate complicated manual application management tasks, making these processes repeatable, scalable, and standardized. For application developers, operators make it easier to deploy and run the foundational services their apps depend on. 

Operational Governance

Kubernetes custom extensions provide many features out of the box. These include API watches for efficient change notifications, enhanced discovery methods to display field operations, HTTPS, and built-in authentication and authorization. These features allow an enterprise to build a coherent integration strategy with standardized integration practices that can control, collect, and aggregate metrics across different sources. TriggerMesh supports integration with existing Kubernetes solutions like Prometheus, Grafana, Jaeger, Datadog, Kibana, Elastic etc., which can enforce practices and reduce toil.

Next Steps

Kubernetes-based microservices using bespoke integrations lead to significant development and operational effort. Alternatively, an enterprise integration strategy can bring improved operational efficiency besides offering cost benefits and optimal time-to-market. TriggerMesh is a Kubernetes-based next-generation cloud native integration solution.

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