How To

The Step-by-Step Guide to Monitoring Kubernetes


The container management capabilities of Kubernetes are a boon to organizations striding boldly into a cloud-native future dominated by containerization as a software packaging solution. Kubernetes also represents a growing branch of the IT industry, with Gartner forecasting container management revenue growth of up to $944 million by 2024 from $465.8 million in 2020.

Companies embracing this trend must, however, understand the necessity of monitoring Kubernetes for performance and security.

Key Takeaways:

  • Any strong monitoring strategy starts with tracking metrics, with crucial Kubernetes metrics including pod resource consumption and network traffic.
  • Scalability is a crucial feature of this technology, so Kubernetes monitoring methods must be scalable to match.
  • The result of strong monitoring practices in a Kubernetes environment is logging and alerts that IT staff can utilize for proactively addressing issues.

By learning more about the ins and outs of monitoring Kubernetes, IT decision-makers can grasp the necessary steps for successfully tracking and improving container orchestration at every level of datacenter operations.

What does monitoring Kubernetes involve?

Kubernetes is an open-source platform for managing containerized workloads and services. Implementing Kubernetes in your IT operations means gaining access to storage orchestration capabilities, load balancing, and self-healing at the infrastructure level.

Monitoring, on the other hand, is a necessary practice in any IT environment for ensuring system and network health, efficiency, and overall security. Many organizations satisfy their monitoring needs by way of specialized software or built-in infrastructure functionality.

Monitoring Kubernetes in particular refers to the practices by which IT teams identify issues pertaining to Kubernetes clusters. Such issues can include insufficient resource allocation, failure-to-start problems, or the inability of a node to join a cluster.

Strong Kubernetes monitoring practices benefit the enterprise by allowing for easier management of containerized workloads, increased uptime, and more efficient utilization of cluster resources.

Step 1: Track crucial Kubernetes metrics

When it comes to monitoring Kubernetes, tracking metrics means that every element of your clusters will be actively observable and that you can proactively manage those clusters to ensure the best possible performance. Crucial Kubernetes metrics to measure include:

  • Pod resources
  • Deployment metrics
  • Network traffic
  • Storage metrics
  • Node metrics

When monitoring pod resources, it is important to carefully track the capability of each pod to replicate or autoscale as necessary. Metrics related to Kubernetes deployments and individual nodes typically refer to the CPU and memory usage of those particular elements.

Control plane metrics are also important to monitor. The control plane is the interface element through which an operator manages the entire Kubernetes ecosystem, preferably giving them the ability to monitor the system from a single pane of glass. Crucial control plane metrics are those which reflect the system’s troubleshooting capabilities.

Step 2: Ensure the scalability of monitoring systems

A notable benefit of adopting Kubernetes is that, by nature of containerization, it enables efficient scaling of workloads. The systems you use for monitoring Kubernetes should likewise be highly scalable to match.

Just as you might scale the Kubernetes cluster up by adding a worker node with a single click, the scaling of the accompanying monitoring system should be as simple. A Kubernetes-ready platform such as the Nutanix Kubernetes Engine (NKE) comes equipped with monitoring solutions designed to scale alongside adaptable Kubernetes clusters.

Scalability as an infrastructure-wide feature also powers more efficient cloud native development. Kubernetes and the cloud share a close-knit existence, leading many organizations to the natural conclusion of using cloud-native monitoring tools to gain full visibility over cluster activity.

Scalability goes hand in hand with data retention, a monitoring system’s ability to store and provide access to historical data from a respective cluster. Organized data retention makes it possible to observe trends and patterns that are useful for troubleshooting and tracking performance when monitoring Kubernetes.

Step 3: Enable logging and alerts

A monitoring system can only accomplish so much without alerts and logging. Even if a monitoring system grants visibility over all Kubernetes clusters, its usefulness is limited if it depends upon a human to constantly watch the monitoring data.

A sophisticated logging solution will not only store monitoring data but will do so in a way that makes it easy for IT teams to access and scan for issues that may be at the root of problems that emerge within Kubernetes clusters.

It is also possible to configure the monitoring system to generate alerts in response to certain data patterns. For example, when monitoring Kubernetes, the system can give an alert when a metric reaches a certain critical threshold so that the appropriate IT teams can act before the problem becomes catastrophic.

When planning a Kubernetes alert strategy, remember that alerts should be impactful and actionable. Examples of meaningful alerts in the Kubernetes environment include “host is down” alerts, disk usage warnings, and API server failures.

The right cloud platform for monitoring Kubernetes

Containerization through Kubernetes grants key benefits to enterprise IT, but effective management of Kubernetes requires system-wide visibility. Strong monitoring practices such as tracking metrics, building in scalability, and configuring alerts will contribute to that visibility and overall infrastructure health.

The most efficient use and monitoring of Kubernetes does require a cloud platform that accommodates containerization to the fullest, however. The Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure with NKE is the cloud-native Kubernetes solution that facilitates the deployment of applications on intelligent distributed infrastructure and integration with cloud-compatible storage, all on one platform.

Kubernetes offers a path of freedom for developers building modern cloud-native applications. Monitoring Kubernetes with proven industry-wide best practices can ensure the best possible experience for both internal IT teams and application users alike.

Learn more about datacenter risk management beyond monitoring as well as enterprise data protection at the CIO level.

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