A Learning Journey for Kubernetes Operators and Cloud Orchestration

Want to become a Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)? Get advice on your learning journey from a Kubernetes expert in this article!

This is a guest article by Andrew Gelinas of RX-M

How does someone go from a complete Kubernetes beginner to a Certified Kubernetes Administrator? We’ve put together an easy to navigate “subway map” to help prospective Kubernetes administrators build their skills.

For beginners, we recommend getting a foundational look at Docker, which can be done in our three-day Docker Foundation class. This course is designed to give working developers, DevOps staff and other technology professionals a comprehensive understanding of:

  • The architectural constructs in the Linux kernel enabling Docker
  • How containers are used in development, test and production settings
  • Docker OSS & commercial products and their place in the market
  • How other players in the container ecosystem fit into various solution stacks

During the Docker Foundation class, students will gain hands-on experience with the Docker command line, Dockerfiles and Docker image architecture. The idea is to dive into Container operations in-depth and get exposure to the full range of Docker subcommands and Dockerfile instructions in their entirety so, upon completion of the course, attendees will have the skills and information necessary to begin integrating container technology with their development, test, and deployment processes.

The course does include an introduction to advanced topics such as Docker volume, security, networking, and clustering, providing a natural transition to Kubernetes Administration.

As shown on the Kubernetes Operator Learning Journey Map above, we recommend future Certified Kubernetes Administrators take one of two paths once they are familiarized with Docker. Option one is to start your Kubernetes education with a Kubernetes Foundation class. Option two is to jump into the specialized Kubernetes for Operators training course.

Kubernetes Foundation

The Kubernetes Foundation training course covers all of the core features of Kubernetes orchestration. It is the recommended prerequisite course for those considering the Certified Kubernetes Administrator Exam and/or the specialized Kubernetes training courses covered later in this article.

Kubernetes Foundation will build skills around:

  • The installation of Kubernetes
  • Pod deployment and management using Controllers
  • Kubernetes Services
  • Mapped Volumes

All of the core features of Kubernetes orchestration are covered in Kubernetes Foundation including Pods, Labels, Volumes, Controllers, Services and more. Attendees will leave with a clear understanding of Kubernetes, how it operates in a container-based enterprise and should feel comfortable with basic Kubernetes use.

Kubernetes for Operators

The Kubernetes for Operators course was strategically designed for operations staff, platform managers, and SREs looking for a deep dive into Kubernetes architecture and internals. It covers:

  • The scheduling algorithm
  • kubelet internals
  • Service meshes and service proxies
  • Software-defined networking
  • Service discovery
  • Cluster security
  • Observability: monitoring, tracing, and logging

By design, the course picks up where our Kubernetes Foundation course leaves off and is designed to provide experienced Kubernetes users with a detailed look at the administration and deployment of the Kubernetes platform through a combination of lecture, demonstrations, and hands-on lab exercises. Overall, this course will give attendees a better understanding of Kubernetes features including the scheduler, replication controller master, kublet and service proxies.

Attendees leave class with experience working with Kubernetes add-ons including DNS, container registry, web UIs, and cluster monitoring. Additionally, familiarity with configuring and managing Kubernetes in a live lab cluster benefits those looking to ensure a clear understanding of the more advanced features of Kubernetes and how they can be applied to your organizational objectives.

At this point in your Kubernetes Administrator learning journey, the options for your skill-building widen. For those looking to get their official Certified Kubernetes Administrator certification, it’s the right time to sign up for a Kubernetes Boot Camp where the CKA exam is proctored at the end of the class or for those ready, to register for the CKA exam and take the test.

However, there are plenty of options for those wishing to sharpen their skills with additional Kubernetes training. At RX-M, we offer a deeper dive into Kubernetes as shown on the Kubernetes for Operators Learning Journey “subway map”. These courses include:

Securing Kubernetes

Securing Kubernetes is designed to teach attendees the processes and practices around securing Kubernetes. This is a two-day course and attendees can plan on leaving with a clear understanding of Kubernetes container-based security concerns, which include foundational security concerns including:

  • Securing cloud native applications
  • Container isolation
  • Image security
  • Network policy/segmentation

On the second day, students get to work hands-on with:

  • Kubernetes authentication
  • Control plane security
  • etcd security
  • RBAC configuration and management.

The RX-M Securing Kubernetes class concludes with a look at keylogging and metrics monitoring as well as Kubernetes security auditing features. Upon completion of the course, attendees will have the skills and information necessary to effectively secure a production-grade Kubernetes cluster.

Kubernetes Networking

In Kubernetes Networking, it’s time to take a deeper look at a range of Kubernetes networking topics.

This course is a two-day, hands-on experience designed to provide Kubernetes operators with a deeper dive into networking in the Kubernetes environment, providing attendees with concepts and practical skills for working with a range of Kubernetes networking solutions.

Kubernetes Networking covers the pros and cons of both L3 and L4 solutions. Core Kubernetes network functionality is also examined in detail, including Kubernetes DNS and network policy.

When you leave class, you’ll have the skills necessary to effectively manage Kubernetes networking solutions in production environments.

Kubernetes Day 2 Operations

In Kubernetes Day 2 Operations, Kubernetes operators take a deeper dive into the Kubernetes platform and the tasks associated with maintaining and running a production cluster after their initial deployment. The two-day K8s Day 2 Operations course gives students key day two operations skills and experience through a combination of lectures, demonstrations and of course, extensive lab work.

Kubernetes Day 2 Operations covers key topics such as:

  • Cluster backup and recovery
  • Upgrades
  • Observability
  • etcd management
  • Troubleshooting

Finally, there are a series of training options for using Kubernetes as a Service. These options include:

  • Amazon EKS
  • Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
  • Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Container Engine for Kubernetes (OKE)
  • IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service (IKS)

Kubernetes aaS training courses enable users to run K8s without needing to install and operate their own Kubernetes clusters. For some, this makes deploying and managing containerized applications easy. Each respective course gives students the skills they’ll need to begin using Kubernetes in that specific environment.

Passing the Certified Kubernetes Administrator Exam

In order to pass the exam, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate your competency in each section. Currently, the CKA exam consists of ten components:

  1. Scheduling
  2. Logging/monitoring
  3. Application lifecycle management
  4. Clusters
  5. Security
  6. Storage
  7. Troubleshooting
  8. Core concepts
  9. Networking
  10. Installation, configuration, and validation

Following a learning journey like the one we’ve designed for Kubernetes operators means that when a Kubernetes administrator ultimately sits down to take the official CKA exam they’ll be confident in their understanding of each one of the exam components.

Author Bio: Andrew Gelinas

Andrew is the Director of Marketing at RX-M, a leading cloud native technology training and consulting firm. As participants and evangelists of the cloud native space, we share our consulting and training experience while bringing a market-neutral perspective to every client engagement. Our philosophy allows us to bring our expertise to your organization to solve challenges together or teach your team to solve them on their own.

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