May 28, 2021 | Ajay Gowda

Containerization and Deployment in Just 10 minutes!

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This blog talks about Why Containerization, What are containers? Why Containers?, Benefits of Containers, Deploying a Containerized App in Google GKE(Google Kubernetes Engine).

Containerization allows developers to move fast, deploy software efficiently, and operate at a pioneering scale.

Why Containerization of Application?

In ancient times, we used to develop monolithic architectures, where each piece of the application is intertwined from Input-Output to the data processing to rendering, making it a cumbersome process. Containers work best for microservice-based architectures. Separation and division of labor allow services to run continuously even if others are failing, keeping the application as a whole more well-grounded. 

What are Containers?

A container is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another.

Why Containers? 

  • Containers eliminates the possibility of missing artifacts when a Dev team hands over a program to the IT team for deployment.
  • Containers allow Dev teams to package any software required by the program to be deployed. This eliminates the need to provide a list of the required software to the IT team when providing the program for deployment.
  • Containers allow Dev teams to test the program as a deployed unit independent of the IT team and the actual deployment environment.
  • Containers allow Dev teams to decide how the program uses the available resources without worrying about interference from other programs, e.g., conflicting environment vars, conflicting file locations.
  •  Specification (Code) and tools enable automation of tasks associated with packaging, deployment, and operation of containers. This enables automatic detection of issues; possibly before the execution of the tasks.

Benefits of Containers

  • Less overhead – Containers require fewer system resources than traditional or hardware virtual machine environments because they don’t include operating system images.
  • Increased portability – Applications running in containers can be deployed easily to various different OS and hardware platforms.
  • More consistent operation – IT teams know applications in containers will run the same, regardless of where they are deployed.
  • Greater efficiency – Containers allow applications to be more rapidly deployed, scaled or patched.

Deploying a Containerized App in Google GKE

Google Cloud Platform provides the well grounded and easily managed Kubernetes clusters, as Google is the creator of Kubernetes and donated it to the open-source community.

Below, we’ll start our process by creating some containers for a microservice application in the Google Cloud Platform. You’ll need a GCP account to continue. Keep in mind that, if you are completely new to GCP, GCP’s free tier gives you $300 credit.

The kickoff step in deploying a containerized app is setting up a CLI environment in GCP. We will use Cloud Shell to do this, since it already has installed and configured Docker and kubectl. Besides, the CLI already runs inside the GCP console where you can access your resources and check their statuses.

Open the Google Cloud Console, and click “Activate Cloud Shell” on the top of the navigation bar.

A terminal with a command-line prompt will open as follows:

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In Cloud Shell, clone the source code of the sample application:

Step-1 

git clone https://github.com/GoogleCloudPlatform/kubernetes-engine-samples

Step-2

cd kubernetes-engine-samples/hello-app

Step-3

In this step we’ll build the container image with a tag that includes GCP project ID

docker build -t gcr.io/${DEVSHELL_PROJECT_ID}/hello-app:v1 . 

Step-4

If you are using the registry for the first time, enable it in the API Library.

Authenticate to the registry with the following command, and then push the image:

gcloud auth configure-docker

Step-5

In this step we’ll be packaging and uploading the container image to the registry

docker push gcr.io/${DEVSHELL_PROJECT_ID}/hello-app:v1

Now, we can create a Kubernetes cluster and distribute the hello-app application over the cloud.

Creating a Kubernetes Cluster in GKE

Open the Kubernetes Engine within the GCP control panel, and click on “Create cluster”:

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In this article, we will go with the default settings by simply clicking “Create”:

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Within few minutes, a new cluster will be created as seen below:

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Click the “Connect” button, and then click “Run in Cloud Shell” to continue in the terminal. In the terminal, run the following command to list the nodes:

kubectl get nodes
The default setup will create three nodes with Name, Status, Role, Age, Version.


Containers to Cloud 
Create a deployment with the following command:

Kubectl create deployment hello-world –image=gcr.io/${PROJECT_ID}/hello-app:v1

Containers to the Internet

The following command creates a service resource in Kubernetes, and it provides networking with an IP attached to the application instances.

kubectl expose deployment hello-world –type=LoadBalancer –port 80 –target-port 8080

Well, Congratulations! you now have a fair knowledge about containers.

YAY!!, we’ve taken our app, packaged it into a container, and deployed it to the web with Google Cloud!. Thanks to some brilliant tools namely Kubernetes and GCP the process is painless and results in flawless deployments time after time. Stay tuned for my upcoming Blogs on Docker and Deployment. 

References:

  1. https://cloud.google.com/containers
  2. https://cloud.google.com/kubernetes-engine/docs
  3. https://kubernetes.io/docs/tutorials/kubernetes-basics/
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