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What is included in this blog:
– An introduction of Kubernetes Pods
– Use of Pods
– The life cycle of a Pod

Kubernetes Pods

A Kubernetes (K8s) Pod is the smallest deployable unit in K8s. It is essentially is a group of one or more containers (e.g. Docker containers) which share the computing resources including storage and network and each container can request to have its own CPU and memory resources. As shown in the following picture, a Pod is very similar to an application specific “host” running one or more “processes” (containers). These “processes” work together to provides some kind of service.

Hosts V.S. Pods

Use of Pods

The following example demonstrates how to use a K8s Pod to construct a single-replica microservice. This Pod consists of three containers: the user-usvc container has all the microservice’s business logic, the cloudsql-proxy container proxies all the MySQL requests to a Google Cloud SQL instance, while the datadog-agent container sends the logs to datadog.

# ConfigMap for user-msvc apiVersion: v1 kind: ConfigMap metadata: name: user-msvc data: mysql-host: --- # Pod for user-msvc apiVersion: v1 kind: Pod metadata: name: user-msvc labels: app: user-msvc spec: # "Processes" containers: - name: user-msvc image: ports: - name: secure-port containerPort: 443 protocol: TCP env: - name: MYSQL_HOST valueFrom: configMapKeyRef: name: user-msvc key: mysql-host volumeMounts: - name: named-pipe mountPath: "/var/log/user-msvc" requests: cpu: 100m memory: 100Mi limits: cpu: 200m memory: 200Mi - name: cloudsql-proxy image: ports: - name: connect-port containerPort: 3306 protocol: TCP requests: ... - name: datadog-agent image: volumeMounts: - name: named-pipe mountPath: "/var/log/monitor" requests: ... # Storage volumes: - name: datadog-dir emptyDir: {} --- # External Service for user-msvc kind: Service apiVersion: v1 metadata: name: user-msvc spec: ports: - name: secure-port port: 443 targetPort: 443 protocol: TCP selector: app: user-msvc type: LoadBalancer loadBalancerIP: # This is a fake IP ---


K8s ConfigMaps are used to store configurations for other K8s objects. It is designed for decoupling configurations from the configurations of other K8s objects. Kubernetes Secret is also designed for this purpose and it is used for storing sensitive data like SSL certificates.

In this case, the mysql-host config is stored in the user-msvc ConfigMap and gets used as an environmental variable in the user-mscv container.

Pod Template

Required Fields

The apiVersion, kind: Pod and metadata fields are required as they are the Pod’s metadata. The .spec field is also required as it defines all the components of the Pod, including volumes and containers.


The .spec.containers defines all the containers of the Pod. For each container, you need to configure which image it is going to run, all the environmental variables and computing resources it needs, including storage, CPU, memory, and network.

Storage Configuration

The .spec.volumes field specifies the shared storage resources for all the containers of the Pod. Kubernetes supports many types of Volumes. you can check this doc for more details.

In this example, an emptyDir volume is created when the Pod is created. The volume is respectively mounted to the /var/log and /var/log/monitor path in the user-msvc and monitor container. Both containers share the data in this Volume. Because of this, the user-msvc container can create a file called /var/log/user-msvc-error.log and writes logs to this file, while the datadog-agent container can read the logs from the /var/log/monitor/user-msvc-error.log file and then sends them to datadog.

Kubernetes provides Persistent Volumes and Persistent Volume Claims for isolating storage configurations. You can check this blog for more details.


The network is another shared resource among the containers running in the same Pod, which means these containers can reach each other through localhost ( This also means a port cannot be used in two containers at the same time. You need to deal with the port assignment for each container.

In this example, the cloudsql-proxy container exposes itself by opening the port 3306. So that the user-msvc container is able to connect to it through Moreover, the user-msvc container opens the 443 port and a K8s LoadBalancer Service user-msvc is in charge of redirecting HTTPs requests to this port so that the user-msvc container can process them.

The following picture shows what the user-msvc microservice looks like in Kubernetes world.

user-msvc Topology

What is Next

It is not a good idea to directly utilize K8s Pods to run applications as Pods are mortal. They cannot be resurrected when they are killed for whatever reason. Because of this, you should use K8s Deployments to run stateless applications and K8s StatefulSets to run stateful applications.

You can take a look at this this blog if you are curious about K8s Deployments

You can take a look at this this blog if you are curious about K8s StatefulSets.