Build your first application in Kubernetes part 1

GoalSpin-up your first application in Kubernetes
ObjectivesSee the differences between several Kubernetes implementations, and understand how to prepare different Kubernetes flavours for this blog .Review the basic usage of the kubectl command and understand how to connect to your Kubernetes cluster by using the CLI.Execute a pre-built application in your Kubernetes cluster and review the resources related to the process.
SectionsContrasting Kubernetes Distributions (and Guided Exercise)Introducing Kubectl (and Guided Exercise)Running and Interacting with Your First Application (and Guided Exercise)

Contrasting Kubernetes Distributions

Container Orchestration with Kubernetes part 02
Container Orchestration with Kubernetes part 02


Kubernetes application: After completing this section, you should be able to see the differences between several Kubernetes implementations, and understand how to prepare different Kubernetes flavours for this blog.

Kubernetes Distributions

Kubernetes has historically been a general solution for container management and orchestration. With this versatility, Kubernetes can solve the same problems in different ways depending on needs and opinions. Because of this, Kubernetes has evolved into different opinionated distributions based on:

  • The target size of the cluster: From small single-node clusters to large-scale clusters of hundreds of thousands of nodes.
  • The location of the nodes: Either locally on the developer workstation, on premises (such as a private data center), on the cloud, or a hybrid solution of those two.
  • The ownership of the management: Self-managed clusters versus Kubernetes-as-a-Service.

The following table shows a classification for some of the most popular Kubernetes distributions:

 Big ScaleSmall Scale
Self-Managed – Local minikube, CodeReady Containers, Microk8s, Docker Kubernetes
Self-Managed – On Premises / HybridRed Hat OpenShift, VMWare Tanzu, Rancher 
Kubernetes-as-a-Service – On CloudOpenShift Dedicated, Google Container Engine, Amazon EKSDeveloper Sandbox

Kubernetes application: NOTE

This blog supports minikube (version 1.20.0) for local development and Developer Sandbox for remote development. Instructions and exercises have been tested in the following operating systems:

  • Fedora Linux 33 and 34
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8
  • Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise
  • MacOS Big Sur (11.3.1)

Visit the links in the References section for a comprehensive list of Kubernetes certified distributions.

Kubernetes Extensions

Kubernetes is highly extendable for adding more services to the platform. Each distribution provides different approaches (or none) for adding capabilities to Kubernetes:


DNS allows internal name resolution inside the cluster, so pods and services can refer to others by using a fixed name.

Both minikube and OpenShift include a CoreDNS controller that provides this feature.


The dashboard provides a graphical user interface to Kubernetes.

minikube provides an add-on and utility commands for using the general-purpose Dashboard open source application. OpenShift includes the Console, a dedicated application that integrates most of the Kubernetes extensions provided by OpenShift.


The ingress extension allows traffic to get into the cluster network, redirecting requests from managed domains to services and pods. Ingress enables services and applications inside the cluster to expose ports and features to the public.

minikube uses an ingress add-on based on the ingress nginx controller.

Kubernetes application: NOTE

You must install the ingress add-on for minikube for some exercises. Refer to the section called “Guided Exercise: Contrasting Kubernetes Distributions for instructions.

OpenShift deploys an ingress controller based on HAProxy and controlled by a Ingress Operator. OpenShift also introduces the route resource. A route extends the ingress manifest to ease controlling ingress traffic.


The storage extension allows pods to use persistent storage and nodes to distribute and share the storage contents.

OpenShift bases its storage strategy on Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation, a storage provider supporting multiple storage strategies across nodes and hybrid clouds. minikube provides out-of-the-box storage by using the underlying storage infrastructure (either local the file system or the virtual machine’s file-system). This feature is provided by the storage-provisioner add-on. minikube also provides a storage-provisioner-gluster add-on that allows Kubernetes to use Gluster as shared persistent storage.

Authentication and authorization.

Kubernetes embeds a certificate authority (CA) and considers anyone that presents a certificate issued by that CA as a valid user.

minikube provides the user with an administrator minikube account, so users have total control over the cluster.

Different OpenShift implementations differ on authentication features, but all of them agree on avoiding the use of administration accounts. Developer Sandbox provides limited access to the user, restricting them to the username-dev and username-stage namespaces.

Authorization in Kubernetes is role based. Authorized users or administrators can assign predefined roles to users on each resource. For example, administrators can grant read-only access to auditor users to application namespaces.


Operators are a core feature of most Kubernetes distributions. Operators allow automated management of applications and Kubernetes services, by using a declarative approach.

minikube requires the olm add-on to be installed to enable operators in the cluster.

OpenShift distributions enable operators by default, despite the fact that Kubernetes-as-a-Service platforms usually restrict user-deployed operators. Developer Sandbox does not allow users to install operators, but comes with the RHOAS-Operator and the Service Binding Operator by default.

Table 2.1. Comparison summary of Kubernetes features

 minikubeDeveloper Sandbox
DashboardDashboard add-onOpenShift Console
IngressNGINX Ingress add-onOperator-controled HAProxy
StorageLocal or Gluster add-onsRed Hat OpenShift Data Foundation,
AuthenticationAdministrator minikube userDeveloper used restricted to 2 namespaces
OperatorsOLM add-on. No restrictionsLimited to RHOAS and Service Binding

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