Why Kubernetes Is Important to Industrial Internet of Things
The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is transforming the way business is conducted by companies in industries such as manufacturing, oil and gas, utilities, and automotive. These companies are increasingly using connected devices to optimize processes, conduct preventative maintenance, and promote worker safety.
IIoT requires a new approach to IT architecture and application development that presents unique challenges. These innovative architectures require information technology and operational technology (IT/OT) convergence. Connected devices also push computing to the edge of the network where data is generated by sensors.
Kubernetes enables companies to meet many of the challenges of IIoT by orchestrating containers for automated application deployment, scaling, and management, as well as edge computing.
What Is Kubernetes?
Today’s applications are being developed and run using containers which provide an entire runtime environment. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation Survey 2019 found that use of containers had increased 15% since the previous year. Containers are especially useful in IIoT because industrial sites are often geographically dispersed. IIoT applications may use many containers that are deployed across multiple servers, making them difficult to manage.
Kubernetes is open-source software that orchestrates containers, unifying and simplifying management. The CNCF survey reported that 78% of respondents are using Kubernetes.
With Kubernetes, companies can deploy and manage containers at scale through an open-source API. Clusters of virtual machines (VMs) can be orchestrated and containers can be scheduled to run on them based on resource requirements and availability by using load balancing and tracking resource allocation. Kubernetes can also scale based on compute requirements.
Kubernetes allows industrial companies to be agile about application development. In IIoT, applications must be developed for advanced analytics so that industrial companies can gain deep insights from sensor data. IIoT solutions can be customized to meet unique business needs through the development of new applications.
With Kubernetes, DevOps teams can quickly test and deploy innovative IIoT applications as well as those that have been updated or upgraded with additional functionality. Kubernetes provides a unified deployment model that allows for rolling updates that don’t trigger any downtime that would interrupt production.
IIoT at the Edge
Connected devices used in IIoT are located at the edge of the network, in the field or at warehouses and factories. As a result, mission-critical data is being generated at the edge, far from the company data center. To harness the insights of real-time data, organizations must move compute power to the edge as well.
Kubernetes provides a platform for deploying data analytics and machine learning capabilities at the edge and in the cloud. With Kubernetes, companies can orchestrate and automate edge processes across all the edge hardware and software resources. Resources are orchestrated as they move between the edge and the cloud. Using Kubernetes, you can apply policies to your entire edge infrastructure or customize policies for certain edge nodes.
Optimizing IIoT Solutions
Kubernetes allows companies to get more out of their IIoT solutions by automating and orchestrating applications and infrastructure resources at the edge. However, developing IIoT applications and environments begins with your technology partner.
CBT has built an IIoT Practice on the foundations of our expertise in IT/OT convergence. We offer a range of IIoT solutions, including Connected Worker, Video as a Service, and Asset Integrity Management. These solutions empower our clients to optimize maintenance, increase productivity, and increase worker safety. We can help you put together a supporting environment for IIoT that includes leading technologies such as Kubernetes.
Learn more about how CBT can customize IIoT solutions for your company. Schedule a meeting with us to discuss your goals and explore potential use cases.