Consul vs Kubernetes

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Consul vs Kubernetes: What are the differences?

Consul and Kubernetes are both powerful tools in the realm of microservices and container orchestration. Let's explore the key difference between them.

  1. Deployment management: Consul focuses on service discovery and service mesh capabilities, providing a way to find and connect services dynamically. On the other hand, Kubernetes is primarily an orchestrator for containerized applications, helping with deployment management, scaling, and load balancing of containers and services.

  2. Service mesh vs. container orchestrator: Consul acts as a service mesh that enables service-to-service communication, load balancing, and service discovery. It helps manage the networking layer within a distributed system. In contrast, Kubernetes is a container orchestrator that coordinates the deployment and running of containers across a cluster of machines, ensuring fault tolerance and scalability.

  3. Multi-cloud and multi-platform support: Consul is designed to work in a multi-cloud environment, allowing services to communicate seamlessly across different cloud providers. It also supports various platforms like VMs, containers, and bare metal servers. Kubernetes, similarly, provides multi-cloud support but is primarily focused on container orchestration, allowing applications to run consistently across different environments.

  4. Health checking and monitoring: Consul provides health checks for services, constantly monitoring their availability and ensuring that only healthy instances receive traffic. It allows proactive health monitoring and service recovery. Kubernetes also offers health checks but focuses more on container health. It restarts unhealthy containers and provides monitoring and logging capabilities through its ecosystem of tools.

  5. Service discovery mechanisms: Consul uses DNS, HTTP, and gRPC for service discovery, making it flexible and compatible with a wide range of applications and programming languages. Kubernetes, on the other hand, uses its own DNS-based service discovery system, where each service gets assigned a DNS name that resolves to the service's IP address.

  6. Configuration management: Consul provides a key-value store for configuration management, allowing applications to dynamically retrieve and update their configuration settings. Kubernetes also offers a key-value store called ConfigMap, but its main focus is on managing containerized applications rather than configuration management.

In summary, Consul is primarily a service mesh that focuses on service discovery, networking, and monitoring, while Kubernetes is a container orchestrator that handles deployment management, scaling, and load balancing.

Decisions about Consul and Kubernetes
Michael Roberts

We develop rapidly with docker-compose orchestrated services, however, for production - we utilise the very best ideas that Kubernetes has to offer: SCALE! We can scale when needed, setting a maximum and minimum level of nodes for each application layer - scaling only when the load balancer needs it. This allowed us to reduce our devops costs by 40% whilst also maintaining an SLA of 99.87%.

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Simon Reymann
Senior Fullstack Developer at QUANTUSflow Software GmbH · | 30 upvotes · 9.3M views

Our whole DevOps stack consists of the following tools:

  • GitHub (incl. GitHub Pages/Markdown for Documentation, GettingStarted and HowTo's) for collaborative review and code management tool
  • Respectively Git as revision control system
  • SourceTree as Git GUI
  • Visual Studio Code as IDE
  • CircleCI for continuous integration (automatize development process)
  • Prettier / TSLint / ESLint as code linter
  • SonarQube as quality gate
  • Docker as container management (incl. Docker Compose for multi-container application management)
  • VirtualBox for operating system simulation tests
  • Kubernetes as cluster management for docker containers
  • Heroku for deploying in test environments
  • nginx as web server (preferably used as facade server in production environment)
  • SSLMate (using OpenSSL) for certificate management
  • Amazon EC2 (incl. Amazon S3) for deploying in stage (production-like) and production environments
  • PostgreSQL as preferred database system
  • Redis as preferred in-memory database/store (great for caching)

The main reason we have chosen Kubernetes over Docker Swarm is related to the following artifacts:

  • Key features: Easy and flexible installation, Clear dashboard, Great scaling operations, Monitoring is an integral part, Great load balancing concepts, Monitors the condition and ensures compensation in the event of failure.
  • Applications: An application can be deployed using a combination of pods, deployments, and services (or micro-services).
  • Functionality: Kubernetes as a complex installation and setup process, but it not as limited as Docker Swarm.
  • Monitoring: It supports multiple versions of logging and monitoring when the services are deployed within the cluster (Elasticsearch/Kibana (ELK), Heapster/Grafana, Sysdig cloud integration).
  • Scalability: All-in-one framework for distributed systems.
  • Other Benefits: Kubernetes is backed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), huge community among container orchestration tools, it is an open source and modular tool that works with any OS.
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Pros of Consul
Pros of Kubernetes
  • 61
    Great service discovery infrastructure
  • 35
    Health checking
  • 29
    Distributed key-value store
  • 26
    Monitoring
  • 23
    High-availability
  • 12
    Web-UI
  • 10
    Token-based acls
  • 6
    Gossip clustering
  • 5
    Dns server
  • 4
    Not Java
  • 1
    Docker integration
  • 1
    Javascript
  • 164
    Leading docker container management solution
  • 128
    Simple and powerful
  • 106
    Open source
  • 76
    Backed by google
  • 58
    The right abstractions
  • 25
    Scale services
  • 20
    Replication controller
  • 11
    Permission managment
  • 9
    Supports autoscaling
  • 8
    Cheap
  • 8
    Simple
  • 6
    Self-healing
  • 5
    No cloud platform lock-in
  • 5
    Promotes modern/good infrascture practice
  • 5
    Open, powerful, stable
  • 5
    Reliable
  • 4
    Scalable
  • 4
    Quick cloud setup
  • 3
    Cloud Agnostic
  • 3
    Captain of Container Ship
  • 3
    A self healing environment with rich metadata
  • 3
    Runs on azure
  • 3
    Backed by Red Hat
  • 3
    Custom and extensibility
  • 2
    Sfg
  • 2
    Gke
  • 2
    Everything of CaaS
  • 2
    Golang
  • 2
    Easy setup
  • 2
    Expandable

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Cons of Consul
Cons of Kubernetes
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    • 16
      Steep learning curve
    • 15
      Poor workflow for development
    • 8
      Orchestrates only infrastructure
    • 4
      High resource requirements for on-prem clusters
    • 2
      Too heavy for simple systems
    • 1
      Additional vendor lock-in (Docker)
    • 1
      More moving parts to secure
    • 1
      Additional Technology Overhead

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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is Consul?

    Consul is a tool for service discovery and configuration. Consul is distributed, highly available, and extremely scalable.

    What is Kubernetes?

    Kubernetes is an open source orchestration system for Docker containers. It handles scheduling onto nodes in a compute cluster and actively manages workloads to ensure that their state matches the users declared intentions.

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    What companies use Consul?
    What companies use Kubernetes?
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    What tools integrate with Consul?
    What tools integrate with Kubernetes?

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    What are some alternatives to Consul and Kubernetes?
    etcd
    etcd is a distributed key value store that provides a reliable way to store data across a cluster of machines. It’s open-source and available on GitHub. etcd gracefully handles master elections during network partitions and will tolerate machine failure, including the master.
    Zookeeper
    A centralized service for maintaining configuration information, naming, providing distributed synchronization, and providing group services. All of these kinds of services are used in some form or another by distributed applications.
    SkyDNS
    SkyDNS is a distributed service for announcement and discovery of services. It leverages Raft for high-availability and consensus, and utilizes DNS queries to discover available services. This is done by leveraging SRV records in DNS, with special meaning given to subdomains, priorities and weights (more info here: http://blog.gopheracademy.com/skydns).
    Ambassador
    Map services to arbitrary URLs in a single, declarative YAML file. Configure routes with CORS support, circuit breakers, timeouts, and more. Replace your Kubernetes ingress controller. Route gRPC, WebSockets, or HTTP.
    Redis
    Redis is an open source (BSD licensed), in-memory data structure store, used as a database, cache, and message broker. Redis provides data structures such as strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets with range queries, bitmaps, hyperloglogs, geospatial indexes, and streams.
    See all alternatives