Kubernetes has grown steadily over the past few years, firmly cementing itself as one of the go-to tech tools for any cloud-native technology. However, although Kubernetes is praised for the sheer quantity of functions you can access within the system, a common complaint is that it can be challenging to navigate.
Especially within a more extensive product, with over 21% of all users governing more than 500 clusters at once, it’s no wonder that many people get lost within their systems. One of the best ways to overcome this problem is by effectively using Kubernetes labels, detailing what each pod, node, or cluster does, and providing an excellent overview.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the top three reasons to use Kubernetes labels, demonstrating exactly why you should incorporate this practice into your next project build.
Often confused with Kubernetes annotations, a label is an additional value added to a pod or another object within the Kubernetes system. Instead of leaving a new thing in its most basic form, attaching these other values through labels allows you to document further the design you’re constructing.
Once you’ve assigned some labels to a new object, you can directly access the thing by browsing through those labels. You’ll be able to search through brands to find all common occurrences of the title you’ve written, helping you rapidly navigate through your system.
On the other hand, Kubernetes annotations are similarly structured but don’t bring any additional conditions to an object. These are more commonly used when giving more information about something that is not relevant to how it runs, like who developed it, or an additional element that may be useful to someone reading through the documentation.
Alongside providing structure to your Kubernetes ecosystem, using labels will allow you to access various benefits. From clarifying your Kubernetes architecture to providing an easy-to-navigate system for everyone involved, tags can radically improve how you use Kubernetes.
The main benefits that you’re able to experience are:
- Constructing a Hierarchy
Let’s break these down further.
Labeling within Kubernetes is a comprehensive system that allows you to categorize every single one of your elements. Before using the labeling function, someone that hasn’t had total exposure to your project may get confused about the process of different elements.
After labeling each element in your system, you can easily organize your Kubernetes platform. Instead of reading through code to understand the function of a component or pod, you’ll be able to read the label, using this as a way of rapidly navigating through your system.
One of the best practices for Kubernetes labeling is to construct a range of all-encompassing labels right at the beginning of your project. The earlier you start labeling things, the less additional work you’ll have when you want to organize your system.
Having all these labels pre-defined when you begin your project ensures that everyone working on the platform knows which typed tags to use. Two software engineers may label the same element differently if undefined, creating an overly complex system.
If you’re looking to create a thoroughly organized Kubernetes structure, then labeling is the most crucial feature you should be taking advantage of.
Another significant benefit of Kubernetes labels is allowing users to filter through their systems rapidly. Instead of searching through different clusters or nodes until they find what they’re looking for, you can filter by specific labels.
If you’ve accurately labeled all the different elements within the ecosystem, this filtration tool will allow you to navigate through lots of information in only a few seconds. Never again will you have to spend time looking for a specific element that you created but have now lost in the sea of nodes.
Kubernetes ecosystems can grow exponentially over time, with the most complicated systems having layers of pods, nodes, and clusters that all contribute to the system’s overall function. While this is where Kubernetes’ strength lies, it is also one of the most frustrating parts of the system, as it’s difficult to trace where certain functions are coming from.
However, once you start effectively labeling your system, you can create a symbolic hierarchy of different functions. Instead of searching through other clusters, you’re able to look at an overall map of the system, then be able to trace any specific feature you’re looking for directly.
Equally, if you bring anyone new onto the team, then having this hierarchy structure will be significantly easier to explain than moving through each element of the system. This can radically decrease the amount of time that’s needed to onboard a new member of the team, helping to keep your project running as smoothly as possible in the long run.
With Kubernetes label’s visualization tools, you suddenly get a much better understanding of exactly how your system works.
With potentially thousands of different nodes all intersecting and working together, an unmanaged Kubernetes ecosystem can rapidly become difficult to manage. Especially for new engineers that enter your project, a lack of labeling can lead to problems in understanding exactly how the system works.
Going beyond being able to understand at a glance, Kubernetes labeling also allows you to create a much more organized system. With the advanced ability of filtering that labels give, you can navigate your ecosystem easily, learning more about how everything fits together and works.
If you’ve constructed your labels well, this will also mean you can directly see the network hierarchy of the entire ecosystem, allowing you to take full advance of the view tools within Kubernetes.