Application Mobility in Kubernetes: The What, Why, and How

Application mobility in Kubernetes refers to the ability to move applications between different Kubernetes clusters, configurations, clouds and environments. But why is it important? Well, because the development world has changed. Applications are no longer tethered to a group of servers or data centers, and application mobility gives organizations greater flexibility, resilience, and efficiency in managing their applications, wherever they reside.

Be careful not to confuse true mobility with application migration – the process of moving applications from running on bare metal servers or virtual machines to running in containers or “service transfer” – the shifting of workloads from one platform to another, for example, from on-premises to a public cloud or from one public cloud to another. Application mobility is a broader concept that emphasizes dynamic and seamless movement across environments to optimize resource usage and high availability.

Why Move Your Kubernetes Native Apps?

While application mobility is a complex operation, there are good reasons for achieving application mobility. Let’s examine three in greater detail:

  • Disaster Recovery: Application mobility is a critical component of disaster recovery planning, ensuring applications can quickly recover and resume normal operations in the event of an unexpected incident. It enables organizations to maintain uninterrupted services by seamlessly moving applications to healthy clusters in case of hardware failures, network issues or other disruptions.
  • Cost: Organizations can optimize costs by utilizing resources from clusters or cloud providers that offer the most cost-effective options. By moving applications to clusters with available resources, organizations can efficiently utilize computing capacity, preventing overprovisioning and minimizing resource wastage. Automation tools that facilitate application mobility streamline resource allocation, management and deployment, reducing manual intervention and operational overhead.
  • Load balancing: Application mobility supports dynamic scaling by migrating workloads to clusters with available resources, ensuring optimal performance during traffic spikes. When applications can be readily moved between different clouds or regions, organizations can ensure that they’ll have the compute, storage and networking resources needed to meet business demands.

Other benefits include improving data sovereignty, avoiding vendor lock-in, and testing and development. These drivers collectively underscore the importance of enabling Kubernetes native application mobility, and are prompting organizations to explore solutions that make it easier.

Challenges With Application Mobility

Despite the many benefits, there are many challenges involved with moving Kubernetes Native applications of which you should be aware.

First and foremost, modern applications comprise multiple services and components running in containers – configmaps, secrets, replicasets, deployments, custom resources and persistent volumes, to name a few. Kubernetes orchestrates bringing all of those components together when an application runs – but what happens when you move it?

When you move an application in Kubernetes, you have to account for all of its components and resources and their associated configurations and data. If you leave anything behind, once you move it, it won’t run!

Here are some other pressing challenges:

  • Networking Complexity: Migrating applications across different clusters or environments often involves complex networking considerations, including IP address changes, DNS updates and maintaining connectivity between services.
  • Data Consistency: Ensuring data consistency and synchronization between migrated application instances can be challenging, especially for stateful applications that rely on persistent data storage.
  • Configuration Differences: Kubernetes clusters may have different configurations, including node sizes, network policies and security settings. Adapting applications to these variations can be time-consuming and error-prone.
  • Security: Maintaining consistent security controls, access policies and encryption across migrated applications is essential to prevent potential vulnerabilities or data breaches.
  • Dependencies: Ensuring that applications and their dependencies are compatible with different Kubernetes versions and configurations is critical to avoid performance issues or failures.

In addition to tackling these challenges, when you think about application mobility, you have to consider application scope. Applications can be set up and made available in different ways, for different reasons, on different infrastructures. For example, namespaces, clusters, accounts, regions and clouds all factor into the scope of an application.

Simplify Application Mobility with Kasten K10

Kasten K10 by Veeam is the leading solution for Kuberenetes backup, recovery and application mobility. It provides the ability to move an application across namespaces, clusters, accounts, regions and clouds to support a variety of use cases, including Disaster Recovery (DR), Test/Dev with realistic data sets, and performance testing in isolated environments.

For a deep dive on Kubernetes Native application mobility, download Kasten’s Gorilla Guide to Kubernetes Native Application Mobility, Express Edition. If you’re new to Kasten K10, try it out for free today!

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