6 Best Books on Kubernetes for Beginners in 2021

Kubernetes is a container management platform.

Kubernetes is a container management platform.

Kubernetes has emerged as one of the most important and exciting container management platforms. It allows you to deploy cloud-native applications anywhere and manage them exactly as you like everywhere.

It achieves this through a combination of features within the Kubernetes platform, including Pods and Services. It is a tool written in Golang and it is created by Google.

If you want to learn Kubernetes in-depth and are looking for the best Kubernetes books then you have come to the right place.


Why learn Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is arguably the most important container management technology in the world. It marks a breakthrough for devops because it allows teams to keep pace with the requirements of modern software development. We are going to give you some reasons why you should learn Kubernetes.

  • Extensible: Kubernetes is very extensible. There are a set of existing resources like Pods, Deployments, StatefulSets, Secrets, ConfigMaps, etc. However, users and developers can add more resources in the form of Custom Resource Definitions.

  • Efficient: Kubernetes is an efficient model for application development and operations. It eliminates infrastructure lock-in by providing core capabilities for containers without imposing restrictions. 

  • Multi-cloud flexibility: Kubernetes allows to derive maximum utility from containers and build cloud-native applications that can run anywhere, independent of cloud-specific requirements. 

  • Architectural advantages: Kubernetes brings dynamism. It makes your architecture more responsive to the change.

  • High in demand: Kubernetes is in the trends and DevOps with proper knowledge of Kubernetes can grab excellent high-paying jobs. Kubernetes is mostly used by enterprise-level companies like Google, VMware, Deloitte, etc. So, you can expect a salary anywhere from $72K to $146K per year.

  • Active community support: Another big aspect of Kubernetes popularity is its huge, active, and strong community.


What Makes Best Kubernetes Books?

Depending upon the reader’s background, book’s style, and content coverage, different books will resonate with different people. Here are our criteria for the selection of the books:

  • Use clear, precise, and easy-to-understand language

  • Thoroughly teach and explain the basic concepts of Kubernetes 

  • Contain exercises, examples, and practice problems for hands-on experience

  • Enable to hold the attention of readers

  • Well-structured and friendly toward self-taught programmers


Best Books on Kubernetes

To help you in selecting a well-structured and latest book for Kubernetes, we have narrowed it down to the top 6 best Kubernetes books. Let’s dive in:


1. Best book for total beginners: The Kubernetes Book

The Kubernetes Book by Nigel Poulton and Pushkar Joglekar helps you gain insight into the inner workings of Kubernetes. The book will help you to learn how to deploy and manage applications on Kubernetes. You will also explore ways to build and secure Kubernetes clusters.

After reading the book, you will be able to:

  • Explore cluster-level and node-level isolation and runtime isolation options

  • Use Kubernetes Deployments for self-healing, scaling, and updating apps

  • Manage Kubernetes clusters with kubectl

  • Write a Container Storage Interface (CSI) plugin to work across multiple orchestrators

  • Use Kubernetes features such as Jons and CronJobs in your apps

  • Identify vulnerabilities and learn measures to prevent and mitigate them

The 228-page book consists of eleven chapters. The topics covered in the book are:

  • Chapter 1 covers Kubernetes Primer

  • Chapter 2 talks about Kubernetes Principles of Operation

  • Chapter 3 talks about Installing Kubernetes

  • Chapter 4 talks about Working with Pods

  • Chapter 5 covers Kubernetes Deployments

  • Chapter 6 talks about Kubernetes Services

  • Chapter 7 covers Kubernetes Storage

  • Chapter 8 covers other Important Kubernetes Stuff

  • Chapter 9 talks about Threat Modeling Kubernetes

  • Chapter 10 covers Real-World Kubernetes Security

By the end of the book, you’ll have the confidence and skills to leverage all the features of Kubernetes to develop scalable applications.


2. Best book for step-by-step learners: Kubernetes: Up and Running

Kubernetes: Up and Running by Joe Beda, Kelsey Hightower, and Brendan Burns describe the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator and how its tools and APIs can be used to improve the development, delivery, and maintenance of distributed applications.

The contents of this book are concise and well-constructed. Each chapter leads to the next. You won't feel the slightest need to skip forward or go back at any point in the book. Here's what you will learn from the book:

  • Explore the distributed system challenges that Kubernetes addresses

  • Dive into containerized application development, using containers such as Docker

  • Create and run containers on Kubernetes, using the docker image format and container runtime

  • Explore specialized objects essential for running applications in production

  • Reliably roll out new software versions without downtime or errors

  • Get examples of how to develop and deploy real-world applications in Kubernetes

By the end of this book, you'll have a solid understanding of what Kubernetes is and how it works, as well as skills to deploy a Kubernetes cluster and simple applications.


3. Best book for hands-on learners: Kubernetes in Action

Kubernetes in Action by Marko Luksa is an excellent guide to effectively developing and running applications in a Kubernetes environment. The book gives an overview of container technologies like Docker so readers who haven't used these technologies before can get up and running.

The book is divided into three parts and eighteen chapters. The topics covered in these chapters include:

Part 1. Overview

  • Chapter 1 introduces you to Kubernetes

  • Chapter 2 talks about the first steps with Docker and Kubernetes

Part 2. Core concepts

  • Chapter 3 covers Pods: running containers in Kubernetes

  • Chapter 4 talks about Replication and other controllers: deploying managed pods

  • Chapter 5 covers Services and how to enable clients to discover and talk to pods

  • Chapter 6 talks about Volumes and attaching disk storage to containers

  • Chapter 7 covers ConfigMaps and Secrets: configuring applications

  • Chapter 8 talks about accessing pod metadata and other resources from applications

  • Chapter 9 talks about Deployments and updating applications declaratively

  • Chapter 10 covers StatefulSets. It talks about deploying replicated stateful applications

Part 3. Beyond the basics

  • Chapter 11 helps you to understand Kubernetes internals

  • Chapter 12 talks about securing the Kubernetes API server

  • Chapter 13 talks about securing cluster nodes and the network

  • Chapter 14 talks about managing pods’ computational resources

  • Chapter 15 covers automatic scaling of pods and cluster nodes

  • Chapter 16 covers advanced scheduling

  • Chapter 17 talks about best practices for developing apps

  • Chapter 18 talks about extending Kubernetes

The book leverages a unique, friendly, and straightforward approach to teaching Kubernetes. It is perfect for software developers with little or no familiarity with Docker or container orchestration systems.


Other books that you may enjoy:


4. Best book for cloud developers: Mastering Kubernetes

Mastering Kubernetes: Level up your container orchestration skills with Kubernetes is a great reference manual for Kubernetes, covering almost every topic in the K8s world to some degree or another. It goes beyond simply learning Kubernetes fundamentals and its deployment. The book takes you on a journey from the concepts and basic architecture to the latest innovations such as serverless computing and service meshes.

The book is updated with the latest tools and code enabling you to learn Kubernetes 1.18's latest features. Here's what you will learn in the book:

  • Master the fundamentals of Kubernetes architecture and design

  • Build and run stateful applications and complex microservices on Kubernetes

  • Use tools like Kubectl, secrets, and Helm to manage resources and storage

  • Master Kubernetes Networking with load balancing options like Ingress

  • Achieve high-availability Kubernetes clusters

  • Improve Kubernetes observability with tools like Prometheus, Grafana, and Jaeger

  • Extend Kubernetes working with Kubernetes API, plugins, and webhooks

The 642-page book is divided into the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1 talks about understanding Kubernetes Architecture

  • Chapter 2 guided you to create Kubernetes Clusters

  • Chapter 3 talks about High Availability and Reliability

  • Chapter 4 covers Securing Kubernetes

  • Chapter 5 talks about using Kubernetes Resources in Practice

  • Chapter 6 talks about managing storage

  • Chapter 7 talks about running Stateful Applications with Kubernetes

  • Chapter 8 talks about Deploying and Updating Applications

  • Chapter 9 covers Packaging Applications

  • Chapter 10 talks about Exploring Advanced Networking

  • Chapter 11 guides you in Running Kubernetes on Multiple Clouds and Cluster Federation

  • Chapter 12 covers Serverless Computing on Kubernetes

  • Chapter 13 talks about Monitoring Kubernetes Clusters

  • Chapter 14 talks about Utilizing Service Meshes

  • Chapter 15 talks about Extending Kubernetes

  • Chapter 16 talks about the future of Kubernetes

By the end of this Kubernetes book, you will graduate from an intermediate to advanced Kubernetes professional. This is an excellent book to keep on your desk for reference.


5. Best book for serious learners: Kubernetes Patterns

Kubernetes Patterns: Reusable Elements for Designing Cloud-Native Applications by Bilgin Ibryam, Roland Huß provide detailed, reusable Kubernetes patterns for container deployment and orchestration. Each pattern includes a description of the problem and a proposed solution with Kubernetes specifics. 

The book is well structured, allowing you to easily navigate and find a pattern that solves your problem. There are many concrete code examples and easy-to-understand diagrams to back explanations on what the Kubernetes resources are used for.

After reading the book, you will learn about the following pattern categories:

  • Foundational patterns cover the core principles and practices for building container-based cloud-native applications.

  • Behavioral patterns explore finer-grained concepts for managing various types of container and platform interactions.

  • Structural patterns help you organize containers within a pod, the atom of the Kubernetes platform.

  • Configuration patterns provide insight into how application configurations can be handled in Kubernetes.

  • Advanced patterns cover more advanced topics such as extending the platform with operators.

This book is great for developers already familiar with basic Kubernetes concepts who want to learn cloud-native patterns.


6. Best Book for Completionists: Kubernetes Cookbook

Kubernetes Cookbook: Building Cloud Native Applications by Sébastien Goasguen and Michael Hausenblas help you solve concrete problems around Kubernetes. The authors have compiled over 80 hands-on recipes for automating the deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers across clusters of hosts.

The book's easy-lookup problem/solution format helps you quickly find the detailed answers for many common issues you might face while working with Kubernetes. The hands-on recipes in the book focuses on:

  • Creating a Kubernetes cluster

  • Using the Kubernetes command-line interface

  • Managing fundamental workload types

  • Working with services

  • Exploring the Kubernetes API

  • Managing stateful and non-cloud native apps

  • Working with volumes and configuration data

  • Cluster-level and application-level scaling

  • Securing your applications

  • Monitoring and logging

  • Maintenance and troubleshooting

This book takes a practical approach to help you automate deployments and manage different operations of application containers across clusters of hosts. The recipes will make you stay focused and you will not be bored!


More ways to learn Kubernetes

We hope our book curation will help you to pick the right book to learn Kubernetes. When it comes to Kubernetes, there are some awesome online resources as well.

  • Coursera: Getting Started with Google Kubernetes Engine is an awesome course, offered by Google cloud, to learn Kubernetes from scratch. This course is part of the Preparing for Google Cloud Certification: Cloud DevOps Engineer Professional Certificate.

We also suggest over 70 coding resources that are free online.

That wraps our article about some of the best books to learn Kubernetes. It is hard to say which is the best book as it depends upon your background and choice. With the great selection of Kubernetes books and courses, the learning opportunities are simply endless!

Thanks for reading and see you in the next article.

Miranda Limonczenko

Miranda is the founder of Books on Code, with a mission to bring book-lover culture to programmers. Learn more by checking out Miranda on LinkedIn.


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