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Mykhailo Liepieshko

Mykhailo Liepieshko

July 28, 2023 ・ Basics

How to use Kubernetes for application scaling

Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform developed by Google that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. As businesses grow and applications evolve, it becomes crucial to manage the increasing workload effectively. Kubernetes provides a powerful solution for scaling applications, allowing developers to deploy and manage applications seamlessly.

We will explore how Kubernetes can be utilized for application scaling, addressing the key components and steps involved in this process.

I. Understanding Kubernetes Components for Scaling

  • Nodes and Clusters: Nodes are the physical or virtual machines that run containerized applications. A cluster is a group of nodes managed by a master node, which is responsible for managing the overall state of the cluster. Scaling in Kubernetes can be achieved by increasing the number of nodes in a cluster.

  • Pods: A pod is the smallest and most basic unit in Kubernetes that runs one or more containers. Pods enable horizontal scaling, as developers can deploy multiple replicas of a pod to handle increased workload.

  • ReplicaSets: ReplicaSets ensure that a specified number of pod replicas are running at any given time. They automatically create or remove pods based on the desired state, enabling efficient scaling and self-healing.

  • Deployments: Deployments are higher-level abstractions that manage ReplicaSets and provide declarative updates to applications. They enable rolling updates, canary releases, and automated rollbacks, ensuring smooth scaling and application stability.

  • Services: Services are Kubernetes objects that define a logical set of pods and enable network access to them. Services maintain load balancing and discoverability, which are essential for scaling applications.

II. Implementing Application Scaling with Kubernetes

  • Horizontal Pod Autoscaling (HPA): HPA is a Kubernetes feature that automatically scales the number of pod replicas based on predefined metrics, such as CPU utilization or custom metrics. HPA can be configured by creating a HorizontalPodAutoscaler object that references a Deployment or ReplicaSet. Kubernetes will then monitor the specified metrics and adjust the number of replicas accordingly to maintain the desired performance.

  • Cluster Autoscaling: Cluster autoscaling adjusts the size of a cluster by adding or removing nodes based on resource demands. By monitoring resource utilization and pod scheduling events, Kubernetes can dynamically scale the cluster to accommodate fluctuating workloads, ensuring optimal resource usage and cost-efficiency.

  • Custom Metrics and Autoscaling: Beyond built-in metrics like CPU and memory usage, developers can use custom metrics to inform Kubernetes autoscaling decisions. Custom metrics can be collected from within the application or external sources, providing more granular control over application scaling.

  • Deployment Strategies for Scaling: Kubernetes offers various deployment strategies to ensure smooth scaling and minimize downtime. Rolling updates allow for incremental updates with zero downtime, while canary deployments enable the testing of new versions with a small subset of users. Additionally, blue-green deployments create an entirely separate environment for the new version, allowing for seamless rollbacks if necessary.


Kubernetes has become the go-to platform for managing containerized applications due to its powerful capabilities and flexibility. By leveraging Kubernetes components like nodes, pods, and services, developers can effectively scale applications to handle increased workloads. With features like horizontal pod autoscaling, cluster autoscaling, custom metrics, and various deployment strategies, Kubernetes ensures applications remain stable, performant, and cost-efficient as they grow. By understanding and employing these concepts, organizations can confidently scale their applications to meet the ever-changing demands of the modern digital landscape.

  • Basics