Healthcare Technology Featured Article

January 24, 2023

Kubernetes in the Health Industry: What You Should Know




What Is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open-source platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It provides a container-centric infrastructure, allowing developers to easily and efficiently deploy, scale, and manage their applications in various environments.

Kubernetes is often used in conjunction with container orchestration systems such as Docker and is widely adopted by organizations of all sizes to manage their containerized workloads. Kubernetes has several key features that make it a powerful platform for managing containerized applications, including:

  • Automatic scaling: Scales the number of replicas of a given application based on CPU or memory usage.
  • Self-healing: Restarts failed containers and reschedule them on healthy nodes.
  • Load balancing: Distributes incoming network traffic across multiple service replicas.
  • Service discovery: Discovers and connects to services across multiple pods.
  • Automated rollouts and rollbacks: Rolls out and back changes to an application, making it easy to deploy new features and roll back in case of errors.
  • Configuration management: Kubernetes allows you to easily configure and manage your applications using declarative configuration files.
  • Multi-cloud and on-premises: Kubernetes can run on different cloud providers as well as on-premises.
  • Plugins and extensions: Kubernetes has a large and active ecosystem of third-party plugins and extensions that can be used to add additional functionality.

Kubernetes Benefits to the Health Industry

The healthcare industry faces several challenges, including:

  • Managing large amounts of data: Healthcare organizations must manage and store large amounts of patient data, including electronic medical records, imaging studies, and lab results.
  • Compliance and security: Healthcare organizations must comply with strict regulations regarding the handling and storage of sensitive patient data, and must also protect that data from breaches and unauthorized access.
  • Interoperability: Healthcare organizations must be able to share patient data with other organizations, including hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies, in order to provide the best possible care.
  • Scalability: Healthcare organizations must be able to handle large and variable workloads, as patient volume can fluctuate greatly depending on the time of day and the season.

Kubernetes can help healthcare organizations address these challenges in several ways:

  • Data management: Kubernetes can be used to manage and scale data storage systems, such as databases, object stores, and data lakes, making it easier to store and access large amounts of patient data.
  • Compliance and security: Kubernetes can be used to deploy and manage security-hardened containerized applications, and can also be integrated with security tools such as network segmentation, identity and access management (IAM), and encryption to protect sensitive patient data.
  • Interoperability: Kubernetes can be used to deploy and manage a variety of different applications and services, making it easier to connect and share data between different healthcare organizations.
  • Scalability: Kubernetes can automatically scale the number of replicas of a given application based on CPU or memory usage, making it easy to handle large and variable workloads.
  • Innovation: Kubernetes can be integrated with other technologies, such as machine learning, big data, and IoT to enable healthcare organizations to develop new and innovative solutions to care for patients.

Adopting Kubernetes: What You Should Know

Kubernetes Dashboard

The Kubernetes Dashboard is a web-based user interface that allows you to manage and monitor your Kubernetes cluster. It provides a visual representation of the state of your cluster and allows you to perform common tasks, such as scaling and rolling out applications, managing persistent storage, and debugging issues.

The Kubernetes Dashboard can be used to:

  • Monitor the state of your cluster: The Dashboard provides an overview of the resources in your cluster, including pods, services, and nodes, and allows you to quickly identify and troubleshoot issues.
  • Manage applications: You can use the Dashboard to deploy and manage your applications, including scaling the number of replicas and rolling out updates.
  • Create and manage resources: You can use the Dashboard to create and manage resources such as pods, services, and persistent volumes.
  • View logs and metrics: You can use the Dashboard to view and analyze logs and metrics from your applications, making it easier to identify and troubleshoot performance issues.
  • Access control: The Dashboard allows you to manage user access and roles, so you can control who has access to your cluster and what actions they can perform.
  • Easy to use: Dashboard has a simple and easy-to-use interface, making it accessible to developers and operators of all skill levels.

Use a Git-Based Workflow

A Git-based workflow is a way of using the Git version control system to manage the development of software projects. It involves using Git to track changes to the project's code and collaborate with other developers on the team.

Using a Git-based workflow can bring several advantages:

  • Version control: Git allows you to keep track of all changes to the codebase, including who made the change, when it was made, and why it was made. This makes it easy to roll back changes if necessary and to understand the history of the project.
  • Collaboration: Git allows multiple developers to work on the same codebase simultaneously, and it provides tools for merging and resolving conflicts between different versions of the code. This makes it easy to collaborate on a project with other developers.
  • Branching and merging: Git allows developers to create branches for different features or bug fixes, which can be worked on independently and then merged back into the main codebase when they are ready. This makes it easy to work on multiple features at the same time without interfering with the main codebase.
  • Continuous integration and deployment: Git can be integrated with other tools to automate the process of building, testing, and deploying code, enabling a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) workflow. Advanced organizations use a GitOps workflow that manages entire environments using Git based configuration.
  • Auditing and traceability: Git allows you to see who made changes, when they were made, and why they were made. This makes it easy to track down issues and understand the history of the codebase.
  • Open-source friendly: Git is widely used in the open-source community, making it easy for developers to contribute to open-source projects and for projects to accept contributions from external developers.

Set Resource Requests & Limits

In Kubernetes, resource requests and limits are used to control the number of resources that a container can consume.

  • Resource allocation: By setting resource requests, you can ensure that a container has the resources it needs to run properly. This can help to prevent a container from crashing. By setting resource limits, you can ensure that a container does not consume more resources than it needs, which can lead to poor performance or resource contention with other containers.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): Kubernetes uses resource requests and limits to determine the QoS of a container. Containers that have their resource requests met are considered to have a "Guaranteed" QoS, while those that have their limits exceeded are considered to have a "Burstable" QoS.
  • Cluster utilization: By setting appropriate resource requests and limits, you can ensure that your cluster is being used efficiently.
  • Autoscaling: Kubernetes can use the resource requests and limits to determine when to scale up or down the number of replicas of a deployment.
  • Cost optimization: By setting resource requests and limits, you can optimize the cost of running your applications. For example, if you set a limit on memory usage, you'll be able to run more applications on the same cluster, reducing the cost of running the cluster.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Kubernetes is a powerful platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. It can help healthcare organizations to address many of the challenges they face such as managing large amounts of data, ensuring compliance and security, interoperability, scalability, and developing new innovative solutions. By using Kubernetes, healthcare organizations can more easily and efficiently deploy, scale, and manage their applications.

Author Bio: Gilad David Maayan

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Check Point, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/giladdavidmaayan/









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