The Best Kubernetes Management Tools in 2023

Tyler Au
5 minutes
August 17th, 2023
Tyler Au
5 minutes
August 17th, 2023

An Eye for Better Kubernetes Management in 2023

 What is one thing in your daily life that you HAVE to do, no matter how complex? 

Maybe it’s cooking under a time constraint or filing your taxes daily .. for some reason. No matter the task and complexity level, there will always be something that can streamline the process. The same goes for Kubernetes operations.

Kubernetes is, without a doubt, revolutionizing how businesses evolve their applications and interact with their customers. With adoption of Kubernetes steadily rising in 2023, businesses are starting to realize the potential benefits of this technology and are increasing their budgets as a result. In the 2023 State of Kubernetes Report for VMWare Tanzu, 44% of business leaders and Kubernetes stakeholders reported a willingness to invest more in platform monitoring and alerting, with 30% of these participants also reporting a need for software and package management tooling. 

Businesses are looking to better service their operations through new Kubernetes tools, but what problems does Kubernetes present that warrant a need for better tooling?

Why Are Kubernetes Management Tools Needed in the First Place?

The potential of Kubernetes within your organization is almost limitless, with the enthusiasm around the tech only growing as it matures. Coming in different shapes and sizes to fit your specific business needs, Kubernetes truly offers a solution for most use cases, as detailed in one of our blogs, though the Kubernetes journey isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.

Kubernetes has the ability to be the best friend in your development journey, but it can also be your worst nightmare. Many have cited having difficulty with simply installing and integrating Kubernetes, let alone operating it. In fact, Kubernetes and its concepts are so complex that the CNCF has an illustrated series geared towards children that breaks down these concepts (check it out for a great introduction to Kubernetes)!

Here are just some of the reasons why you might need Kubernetes management tools:

  • Configuration requirements to work with existing environments and applications
  • Notorious internal networking challenges
  • The need to optimize cost and resource consumption as application grows
  • The sheer amount of moving parts within Kubernetes to keep track of

While platform engineering and internal developer platforms have certainly curbed the complexity of Kubernetes by providing dedicated developer spaces for Kubernetes resources, devoted management tools are certainly the way to go.

The Go-To Kubernetes Cluster Management Tools

Kubernetes cluster management has always been a hot topic in the Kubernetes space, especially because of how advanced its capabilities are. With the ability to automatically manage multiple Kubernetes clusters at scale comes the need for competent tooling- here are some of the tools leading the charge for cluster management:

Rancher

A name you’ve probably heard of, Rancher is a titan in the cluster management space, known for streamlining the development and deployment of clusters on premises or in the cloud, as well as through bare metal options. 

Hosting a powerful enterprise grade option, Rancher offers a comprehensive look at the cluster management process from A to Z, offering around the clock monitoring and security, along with deployment flexibility. Rancher can tackle the problem of Kubernetes cluster managements by offering solutions for notorious cluster challenges like:

  • Cluster authentication and access control
  • Cluster monitoring
  • Dynamic cluster creation 
  • Inconvenient cluster deployment

And so on.

Along with other customizable features that work with almost any Kubernetes platform, Rancher is a powerful tool to supercharge how you interact with and deploy your clusters. 

Image courtesy of Rancher Desktop

K9s

K9s is a terminal based UI that is tasked with Kubernetes cluster interaction and management. As stated on their website, the goal of K9s is to “make it easier to navigate, observe, and manage your deployed applications in the wild”, doing so through around-the-clock Kubernetes observation and automatic commands.

K9s is a formidable option in the Kubernetes cluster management landscape because of the powerful features it offers. With a user-friendly and intuitive interface and an intentional lightweight design, K9s offers features like plugin support, inline editing, resource filtering, and cluster metrics to make your cluster management efforts require less effort. And like most Kubernetes management platforms, K9s offers a set of tools to help with your deployment and management.

Image courtesy of k9s

Helm - The Game-Changing Tool for Your Kubernetes Infrastructure

The “game-changing tool” is a big title to fill for a Kubernetes tool, but let me explain.

Helm is a Kubernetes package manager that helps with Kubernetes management, making it easy to deploy certain applications and services into clusters. Helm allows developers package, configure, and deploy apps and services on the cluster itself, giving greater control and flexibility to a somewhat rigid cluster.

A crucial part of Helm is the Helm chart, basically the packaging format in Helm. A chart contains everything that defines that specific Kubernetes object, like YAML files and templates, and are reusable across different Kubernetes environments. Much like a container packaging all of an application’s dependencies into a convenient present, the Helm chart allows for easy replication and reduces overall build complexity.

Helm provides a variety of benefits including:

  • Flexibility
  • Community support
  • Automatic versioning
  • Productivity boosting

Just to name a few. Among the top benefits is the simplification and streamlining of the Kubernetes deployment process. Dev teams can use the same Helm chart throughout different stages of testing, different environments, and across different teams- and still expect the technology to work. Once the Helm chart is ready to be deployed on the desired Kubernetes environment, you can ensure that it's operation-ready, without having to jump through the hoops that new applications and software would normally have to endure.

Image courtesy of Weaveworks

The Best Kubernetes Management Tools

In order to better service their Kubernetes infrastructure, many companies are flocking towards the managed Kubernetes option, letting third-party providers take the reins and complexities of their Kubernetes systems. Here are some of our picks for managed Kubernetes options: 

“The Big 3”

In any industry, there are well known names and companies, names that even the most unaware of consumers knows just because of their reputation. For the Kubernetes space, these names are Amazon EKS, Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

Amazon EKS, GKE, and AKS are pretty similar out of the box- cluster configurations, automatic upgrades and updates, intuitive cluster scaling - the whole Kubernetes present with a nice bow on top. These 3 options also allow for more flexibility in cluster deployment, appealing to cloud native users and even hybrid clouds enthusiasts. 

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from using these platforms is the automated management and scaling of Kubernetes clusters. Through prebuilt Kubernetes cluster configurations, the Big 3 are able to quickly spin up managed Kubernetes clusters, injecting secure measures and getting them ready to deploy as fast as possible. With the autoscaling, you can ensure that your compute resources are being consumed at an optimal rate, leading to higher availability. And in the case of cluster failure, the Big 3 are able to upgrade your cluster control plane and repair nodes based on health requirements, ensuring that your clusters are pushed to their desired state in the end. 

These 3 options host a ton of similarities, though there are certainly differences in how they operate and in how customizable they are- learn more about these differences in our Kubernetes distributions blog.

Image courtesy of Amazon EKS

Lyrid Managed Kubernetes Platform

Lyrid Managed Kubernetes lets you reap the benefits of Kubernetes without having to deal with Kubernetes. Our managed Kubernetes include:

  • Automated cluster scaling for better resource management
  • Helm charts that automatically deploys your most in-demand applications
  • Cluster-friendly API for easy management and workload distribution
  • Intuitive cost optimizer that adjusts resource usage based on history

And much more! 

The Lyrid Managed Kubernetes platform provides visibility for every step in your multi cluster journey, letting you better monitor, manage, and even provision your clusters. With our pre-configured solutions and containers, you’re able to easily inject powerful solutions into your clusters, allowing you to supercharge your workloads and deploy applications faster than before.

To learn more about our managed Kubernetes platform, please visit our product page.

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