8 Kubernetes tools you would really love to know

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Let’s get into it…

Some tools are picked up while working on the Kubernetes cluster, some you pick up from colleagues, medium blogs, and different youtube channels, but most likely, your reaction when you found out about a new tool is:

So let’s take a look at the 8 Tools that can make all the difference in your Kubernetes experience:

  • Helm

  • Lens

  • Kube-Prometheus-Stack

  • Stakatr-Reloader

  • Cert-Manager

  • External-Secrets

  • External-DNS

  • Krew

Helm


Helm is a tool to package, configure and deploy your and third-party applications to the Kubernetes cluster. It allows a streamlined installation, upgrade, versioning, build dependencies, and roll back your application.


The basic Kubernetes setup allows you to write hardcoded YAML definition files; Helm will enable you to create a template on the files, which changes the behavior of your application by providing a different set of parameters.


Lens


Lens is one of the most used tools by developers and Kubernetes cluster admins to engage with their clusters. Lens gives you a comprehensive UI dashboard and reduces the complexity of interaction with your cluster by CLI commands.


Lens has the following features:

  • Real-time monitoring

  • Cluster catalog

  • Visualization of every resource on your cluster & ability to edit each resource

  • Helm chart management

It’s important to note that as release Lens 6, which introduces paid subscription, some of you will need to enroll to the paid subscription. While it depends on your company to invest in Lens subscription, you can switch to Openlens, which holds the core features of Lens and will stay open source in the foreseen future.


Kube-Prometheus-Stack

If you just deployed your k8s cluster, this tool will be one of the first things you want to deploy. This comprehensive helm chart holds a powerful monitoring stack that will provide metrics, a monitoring dashboard, and out-of-the-box alerting on your cluster nodes and workloads.


The stack has the option to deploy multiple components. Still, the core components which you will want to deploy first are

  • Prometheus — responsible for collecting and aggregating data metrics

  • Node exporter — exposes metrics from your cluster nodes

  • Grafana — a tool that visualizes the data to a meaningful dashboard

  • Alertmanager — responsible for alerting for a different set of defined channels

Stakatr-reloader

Kubernetes implements configMaps and secrets resources to inject config to your workloads. ConfigMaps and secrets can be changed frequently or rarely; for the changes to take effect, the cluster admins need to reload the relevant workload, which can be propagated by manual action or by a sidecar container.


If you want to remove manual steps from your flow when it comes up to updating secrets and ConfigMaps, the Stakatr reloader is your tool. The tool will monitor your k8s secrets and configMaps and roll out the relevant workloads.

Cert-manager


cert-manager

SSL certificate is an unpleasant topic to discuss in the team as the burden of needing to issue, monitor, and change the certificate.


Experiencing expired certificates and having your site untrusted by your browser can harm your business, affect your microservices communication, and create unwanted errors on your tech stack.


Cert-manager is the tool that will automate certificate management for you. If set up correctly, the Cert manager will be responsible for issuing the certificate and rotating them in a timely fashion.

External-secrets


external-secrets

Have you ever questioned how I could safely use my sensitive information, such as DB password, tokens, and connection strings on k8s without writing them on your GitHub repo?


Here is where External-secrets can be a good fit for you. External secrets will be connected to your secret store as Aws Secret Manager or vault and pull the relevant secrets to a k8s secrets. Any changes on the relevant secrets in the secret store will be synced to your k8s secrets without manual intervention!


External-DNS

Managing DNS can be another overhead you want to remove from your shoulders. External DNS allows you to set up annotations on your ingress or services resources and propagate them to your DNS provider.


This tool gives you great value when you need to provision clusters from scratch with all your components without needing to edit your DNS records manually.


Krew

Krew is a plugin manager for kubectl, which works similarly to the traditional yum, apt, apk, brew, and other package managers. Krew provides a simple way to retrieve and manage plugins for the kubectl util.


With Krew you can extend your kubectl util and work with your cluster more efficiently.


If it’s your first time hearing about Krew, I reviewed 6 plugins you must try in a separate medium blog.


Conclusion The 8 tools listed above will help you in different seniors, and from my experience, they can be relevant in almost any Kubernetes cluster. The tools will improve your experience with the cluster, increase efficiency, and reduce the overhead in your daily tasks.


Thank you, if you have any questions or need any help you can reach me over LinkedIn. Let me know if you want an in-depth review of any of the tools in the comments below or via direct message.