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Kubernetes Simplified: Understanding its Inner Workings


This blog will demystify Kubernetes by breaking down its core components, revealing its operational principles, and guiding you through the process of running a pod. By the end of this blog, you will have a solid understanding of Kubernetes and be equipped to harness its capabilities effectively.


Kubernetes has revolutionized the world of container orchestration, providing organizations with a powerful solution for deploying, managing, and scaling applications. However, the complexity of Kubernetes can be daunting for newcomers. In this blog, we will demystify Kubernetes by breaking down its core components, revealing its operational principles, and guiding you through the process of running a pod. By the end of this blog, you will have a solid understanding of Kubernetes and be equipped to harness its capabilities effectively.

Introduction to Kubernetes

If you're just starting out with Kubernetes, here’s a brief introduction to this robust container orchestration system. Kubernetes, also known as K8s, simplifies the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications, empowering developers to effortlessly handle their apps within a cluster of machines. This results in enhanced availability and scalability for your applications.

At the core of a Kubernetes cluster lie pods, which serve as the fundamental and smallest units in the Kubernetes object model. These pods represent individual instances of running processes within a cluster and have the capability to host one or more containers. By treating pods as a unified entity, developers can easily deploy, scale, and manage applications with utmost simplicity.

A Kubernetes cluster consists of various components, such as nodes, controllers, and services. Nodes are the worker machines responsible for executing pods and providing computational resources to the cluster. On the other hand, controllers ensure the cluster maintains the desired state and guarantees a smooth operation of pods.

Understanding Kubernetes Components

The architecture of Kubernetes seamlessly combines various components into a user-friendly unit. If you are seeking a versatile solution for container orchestration, self-healing capabilities, and traffic load balancing, Kubernetes is the answer. At its core, Kubernetes operates on a client-server architecture, providing a robust framework for managing containerized applications.

Now, let’s delve into the major Kubernetes architecture components: the master node, etcd, and worker nodes.

Master Node

This is a crucial component that ensures the integrity of the cluster by supervising the interactions among its constituents. Its main purpose is to make sure that system objects are in line with the desired state, creating a well-coordinated environment.


Introducing etcd, the often overlooked yet vital component of the Kubernetes architecture. It serves as a distributed key-value storage system, diligently maintaining records and consistency of the cluster states. Etcd stores essential information such as the number of pods, deployment states, namespaces, and service discovery details. This dependable protector ensures that the data in the cluster is safe and easily available.

Worker Nodes

These nodes are responsible for executing containers, worker nodes are essential for the functioning of applications. The master node takes charge of managing these worker nodes, ensuring seamless and efficient operations.

Uncovering Intricacies

Within each major component, there are various parts, each serving a unique purpose. Understanding the functions of these individual parts will offer you a deeper understanding of Kubernetes architecture as a whole. Let’s start?

Master Node Components

Within the master node of a Kubernetes cluster, several components work tirelessly to ensure seamless operations. Let’s explore the key components that contribute to the master node’s functionality and their essential roles:


The kube-apiserver serves as a vital gateway for interacting with the cluster. Users can leverage it to perform various actions, including creating, deleting, scaling, and updating different objects within the cluster.

Clients like kubectl authenticate with the cluster through the kube-apiserver, which also acts as a proxy or tunnel for communication with nodes, pods, and services. Moreover, it is responsible for the crucial task of communicating with the etcd cluster, ensuring the secure storage of data.


To comprehend the kube-controller-manager, we must first grasp the concept of controllers. In Kubernetes, most resources have metadata defining their desired state and observed state. Controllers play a pivotal role in driving the object’s actual state toward its desired state.

For instance, the replication controller manages the number of replicas for a pod, while the endpoints controller populates endpoint objects like services and pods. The kube-controller-manager comprises multiple controller processes that operate in the background, constantly monitoring the cluster’s state, and making necessary changes to align the status with the desired state.


The kube-scheduler takes charge of efficiently scheduling containers across the cluster’s nodes. By considering various constraints such as resource limitations, guarantees, affinity, and anti-affinity specifications, it determines the best-fit node to accommodate a service based on its operational requirements. This component ensures optimal utilization of resources and facilitates the seamless execution of workloads.

These components within the master node form the backbone of a Kubernetes cluster, enabling smooth orchestration, management, and scaling of containerized applications.

Worker Node Components

Within the worker nodes of a Kubernetes cluster, several essential components work together to ensure efficient container execution. Let’s explore these components and their crucial roles:


The Kubelet serves as the primary and most critical controller in Kubernetes. It plays a vital role in enforcing the desired state of resources, ensuring that pods and their containers are running as intended.

The Kubelet is responsible for monitoring and managing the containers on its node, making sure they adhere to the desired specifications. It also sends regular health reports of the worker node to the master node, providing vital insights into the node’s status.


Kube-proxy acts as a proxy service running on each worker node. Its primary function is to forward individual requests targeted at specific pods or containers across the isolated networks within the cluster.

By intelligently routing network traffic, Kube-proxy enables seamless communication between various components and ensures that requests reach their intended destinations efficiently.

Container Runtime

The container runtime is a crucial software component responsible for executing containers on the worker nodes. It provides the necessary environment and resources for running containers effectively.

Common examples of container runtimes include runC, containerd, Docker, and Windows Containers. The container runtime ensures the proper instantiation and management of containers, allowing them to function seamlessly within the Kubernetes cluster.


In addition to these components directly related to the Kubernetes cluster, it’s worth mentioning the ‘Kubectl’ tool.

Kubectl serves as the primary command-line interface for interacting with the cluster, enabling users to execute commands, manage resources, and obtain information about the cluster’s state.

Understanding the Interactions among components

To better understand how the various parts of Kubernetes work together, let's examine the step-by-step process of creating a new pod in the cluster.

Step 1: User Request Processing

  • When a user wants to create a new pod in Kubernetes, they start by issuing a command through the kubectl command-line tool.
  • This command travels to the kube-apiserver, which plays a crucial role as the central hub for communication within the cluster. The kube-apiserver then validates the user request, ensuring its integrity and security. If the validation is successful, the kube-apiserver proceeds to create a new key-value record for the pod in the etcd storage system.
  • Etcd serves as a reliable data store, housing the cluster’s configuration and state information. This record in etcd becomes the authoritative source for the pod’s details and attributes, allowing Kubernetes to manage and track its lifecycle effectively.

Step 2: Worker Node Scheduling Process

  • The kube-scheduler, in continuous interaction with the kube-apiserver, plays a crucial role in the creation of a new pod. It becomes aware of the need for a new pod and initiates the scheduling process.
  • Then the kube-scheduler carefully evaluates various parameters, including resource requirements and affinity rules, to determine the most suitable worker node for scheduling the pod. Once the decision is made, the kube-apiserver steps in and establishes communication with the chosen worker node’s kubelet. It provides essential information such as the pod’s image name and environment variables to the kubelet.
  • Armed with this information, the kubelet is ready to create and manage the new pod on the designated worker node. Simultaneously, the kube-apiserver updates the worker node’s information in etcd, ensuring that the cluster’s state accurately reflects the addition of the new pod

Step 3: Pod Status

  • During the lifecycle of a pod in Kubernetes, seamless communication between the kubelet and the kube-apiserver ensures real-time updates on the pod’s status.
  • The kubelet, running on each worker node, acts as the primary agent responsible for monitoring the pod. It continuously reports the current state of the pod to the kube-apiserver, providing valuable insights into its health and operation.
  • The kube-apiserver, acting as the central control plane component, receives and records this information in the etcd key-value store, ensuring an accurate representation of the pod’s status within the cluster.
  • Once the pod transitions from the pending state to the running state, the kube-apiserver promptly notifies the user, conveying the latest details on the pod’s state and availability.

By understanding these steps, we can grasp the intricate coordination and communication between the components of Kubernetes during the creation of a new pod. This insight enables us to navigate the Kubernetes ecosystem with confidence and effectively manage our applications within the cluster.


Kubernetes has undoubtedly revolutionized the way we deploy and manage applications. With the given solid understanding of its components and operational principles, we are well-prepared to navigate the Kubernetes ecosystem and unlock its full potential to drive innovation and scalability in our organizations.

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Squadcast is a cloud-based software designed around Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) practices with best-of-breed Incident Management & On-call Scheduling capabilities.
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