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Rohit is an investor, startup advisor and an Application Modernization Scale Specialist working at Google.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Death To the Kubernetes YAML! Long Live the Manifest Generators

You are wallowing in a wall of YAML, wondering where your inner loop developer productivity disappeared. You are wandering the annals of the internet to find the kubectl equivalent of cf push. You are a refugee from the land of the Platform As A Service wandering aimlessly in the Container As a Service world. The land of Kubernetes is intimidating for those of us who are used to the higher order abstractions afforded by platforms like Cloud Foundry or Heroku

In this series of blog posts a refugee from PaaS who has crossed  the chasm, will be your coach as you navigate this perilous journey. We will cover equivalence of concepts from Cloud Foundry to Kubernetes. We will draw out the distinctions of architecture & developer workflows across K8s and Cloud Foundry. You will get a deep understanding of the tools & the confidence necessary to make YAML your new best friend and conquer K8s to 10x your productivity developing in the Kubernetes native way.

So here it goes - episode 1 - Death to YAML long live the manifest generators!

What are the options when it comes to a cf push like experience on kubernetes. I am going to keep a running list of K8s YAML template generators here that generate K8s manifests for app deployments. Developers start with these tools below to escape death by YAML on first contact with kubernetes.

  1. Fabric8.io has a java DSL for kubernetes. The fabric8.io kubernetes java client. Istio and other projects use it.  fabric8 library is a single jar - It works in airgapped environments. Provides a Typesafe Kubernetes-manifest DSL for JVM-based apps
  2. The primary interface to kubectl is YAML. Pulumi exposes a rich, multi-language SDK to create API resources, and additionally supports execution of Kubernetes YAML manifests and Helm charts. 
  3. kf provides cloud foundry users a familiar workflow experience on top of Knative.
  4. Google Cloud Code - Google Cloud Code provides IDE support for the full development cycle of Kubernetes applications, from creating a cluster to deploying your finished application. https://cloud.google.com/code/docs/intellij/
  5. Lift - Spring 2 Cloud Internal hygen inspired YAML generator. Templating engine is pluggable - and based on mustache/handlebars ATM. Pivotal internal only at the moment. 
  6. Docker Enterprise 3.0 Simplifies Kubernetes Management  - It can identify and build, from Docker Hub, the containers needed and creates the Docker Compose and Kubernetes YAML files, Helm charts, and other required configuration settings.
  7. Develop with Java on Kubernetes using Azure Dev Spaces - Generate the Docker and Helm chart assets for running the application in Kubernetes using the azds prep command.
In the next blogpost I will cover the automation toolchain for building docker images from source. Tools like jib, pivotal build service, cloud-native-buildpacks, s2i etc fall in that category. 

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