Container Orchestration

Hello. Let us discuss Container Orchestration in this tutorial.

1. Introduction

Container Orchestration is an automatic process of managing the different containers for applications running on a microservices framework within multiple clusters. The most famous orchestration tools are Docker swarm, Kubernetes, Red Hat OpenShift, etc. The process helps to manage the containers’ lifecycle and their dynamic environments.

1.1 Usage of container orchestration

It is useful in scenarios like –

  • Scheduling of containers
  • Availability, Provisioning, and Deployment of containers
  • Scaling of containers to balance the application workloads across the infrastructure
  • Allocation of resources between the containers
  • Load balancing, traffic routing, and health monitoring of containers
  • Securing the interactions between the containers
  • Movement of containers from one host to another in case of failures or resource shortage
  • Self-healing

1.2 Different container orchestration tools

The different container orchestration tools are –

  • Kubernetes – Open source system for automating, deploying, scaling, and management of containerized applications
  • Red Hat OpenShift – Redhat product for developing, deploying, and managing containerized applications
  • Hashicorp Nomad – Flexible scheduler and workload orchestrator to enable an organization for easy deployment and management of containerized or legacy applications using a single unified workflow
  • Docker Swarm – Clustering and scheduling tool for docker containers
  • Rancher – Open-source multi-cluster orchestration platform to deploy, manage, and secure enterprise Kubernetes
  • Mesos – Open-source cluster manager with support for container storage interfaces

1.3 How does container orchestration work?

Container orchestration works with tools like Docker swarm and Kubernetes where the configuration files tell these tools what to do, how to network between the containers, and where to store logs. These tools schedule the deployment of containers into clusters and determine the best host for the containers. Once a host is put into action the tool manages the lifecycle of the containers based on the conditions specified in the container’s definition file (such as Dockerfile). The container orchestration tool can run in any environment where containers can run.

Fig. 1: Container orchestration lifecycle

In container orchestration, the SREs (Site Reliability Engineers) can use the Kubernetes patterns to manage the lifecycle, configuration, and scale of container-based applications. These repeatable patterns are the tools that help a developer with the system. Now let us take a look at the widely used container orchestration tools.

1.3.1 What is Docker container orchestration?

Docker container orchestration includes the following –

  • Docker machine to provide host and install docker-engine
  • Docker swarm – Cluster the multiple docker hosts under a unified host and can integrate with any tool that works with a single docker host
  • Docker compose – YAML file that helps to deploy multi-container applications by creating the required containers at runtime, starting them, and linking them with each other for an application

1.3.2 What is Kubernetes container orchestration?

Kubernetes container orchestration includes the following –

  • Automated deployment and replication of containers
  • Scale-in or scale-out of running container clusters
  • Load balancing the containers group
  • Automated rescheduling of failed containers
  • Controlled exposure of network ports to systems outside of the cluster environment

1.4 Pros and Cons

Just like any other technology Container orchestration also has some advantages and disadvantages. Let us discuss the advantages first –

  • Container orchestration offers increased portability where applications can be scaled with a single click
  • Fast and simple deployment offers to address the needs of the ever-growing traffic
  • Simplified installation process and decreased dependency errors
  • Enhanced security and application isolation to improve security by separating each application process into different containers
  • Offers load balancing, traffic routing, and container health monitoring

Container orchestration comes with cons because an abstraction layer introduced by the containers imposes a new level of management complexity to face.

1.5 Multi-cloud container orchestration

Multi-cloud container orchestration means that organization uses two or more cloud services from two or more cloud providers. With the increased usage of cloud infrastructure companies are now moving towards the usage of multi-cloud environments to achieve the best of all resources and have less or minimal downtime. The multi-cloud container orchestration offers infrastructure cost optimization, flexibility, and portability from one cloud to another. The multi-cloud model offers advantages like –

  • Access to the best technologies from different cloud providers
  • More reliable infrastructure
  • Ensure deployment flexibility
  • Enable disaster recovery
  • Save on cost

That is all for this tutorial and I hope the article served you whatever you were looking for. Happy Learning and do not forget to share!

2. Summary

In this tutorial, we learned about container orchestration and different tools to handle orchestration in the modern-day technology industry.


An experience full-stack engineer well versed with Core Java, Spring/Springboot, MVC, Security, AOP, Frontend (Angular & React), and cloud technologies (such as AWS, GCP, Jenkins, Docker, K8).
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