Kubernetes is an incredible tool that can be used as the architecture for a number of different cloud-based constructions. While the end products of two projects can look incredibly different, they both share some common elements. One of them is that most of their configurations are defined using YAML files.
As a “human-centric” file that allows developers to quickly read and understand its content, YAML files are great for streamlining a project. However, they are notoriously difficult to attribute to errors, especially with only static validation tools.
Because of this, and because of the popularity of YAML files in the Kubernetes community, developers from all over the world have started creating effective Kubernetes validation tools. In this article, we explain why this is so, explaining what YAML files are and why validators are needed when working with them.
Let’s get straight to that.
What is a Kubernetes validator?
A Kubernetes validator, sometimes referred to as a YAML validator, is a tool that validates all of the data in those files. This also allows copying and pasting of data in these files, adding more functionality to the ecosystem.
When a developer needs to validate one of their Kubernetes resources or make sure they are working properly, they typically use a Kubernetes validation tool.
What is a YAML file in Kubernetes?
While YAML files are by no means exclusive to Kubernetes, they are often associated with this platform simply because YAML files are the most common form of workload within this system. Defined as a “human-friendly” standard for programming languages, the YAML system was designed to accommodate a variety of datasets.
The six most common use cases for YAML are:
- data structures – YAML files are particularly efficient within complex data structures.
- object persistence – Specify to what extent a system can continue to work even if the central system is shut down. This is sometimes referred to as object durability.
- log files – All computer-generated logs containing activity, pattern, or information usage data adopt the YAML format in Kubernetes.
- Messaging between processes – Interprocess messaging, also known as interprocess communication, is the method by which different processes can communicate directly and synchronize their actions.
- configuration files – Initial configurations for your Kubernetes system.
- Cross-language data exchange – From shared storage to connecting different containers, Kubernetes uses a number of cross-language data exchange elements; all of which are enabled through YAML.
As you can see, YAML powers the vast majority of this system, which means moving to a YAML validator is critical to using Kubernetes.
What are the benefits of YAML files in Kubernetes?
YAML is the file of choice for the Kubernetes ecosystem for a variety of reasons, with it being one of the most flexible file types. Because of the sheer number of different applications, platforms, and usages that can be built or deployed within Kubernetes, the flexibility of YAML files is a great choice.
Additionally, here are the top five reasons why YAML files are so effective in this ecosystem:
- expressive – YAML files specify exactly what’s inside them, making them extremely user-friendly and ensuring software developers can read them at a glance.
- portable – Kubernetes is not specific to one language, as data engineers often use a number of different programming languages within this system. YAML files are very easy to move between programming languages, so they go well with Kubernetes.
- Agile – By adapting to the data structure of other agile languages, YAML files are ideal for on-the-fly and rapid deployment.
- Maintenance is easy – If you need to do any kind of file maintenance within YAML files, you can add these files directly to the source and track all changes made.
- Convenience – YAML files are not only flexible but also incredibly convenient to use as you don’t have to add all your parameters to your command line to access or use them.
These are just some of the main reasons why Kubernetes has embraced YAML on such a large scale.
What are the most common uses of Kubernetes validators?
Within the Kubernetes ecosystem, there are a number of reasons why you should use a validator. Specifically related to YAML files, there are three areas where you need a validation tool to ensure everything is working correctly.
These validation areas fall into three categories:
- API Validation – When iterating through the YAML manifest, a Kubernetes validation tool verifies that the API is running properly.
- In-App Checker – If you need to validate certain security elements within Kubernetes, then you would use this form of validation.
Due to these different uses and functions of validation within this ecosystem, a whole plethora of Kubernetes validation tools has emerged in recent years.
While YAML files offer a number of advantages within Kubernetes, a developer would not be able to detect all of the various errors in the file using only static validation. Likewise, policy violations in the YAML files would slip through the net and potentially cause massive security issues down the line.
To ensure that all YAML files within the ecosystem run properly and perform intended functions, developers use a special Kubernetes validation tool. There are a number of different tools available online, with the large community of developers gathering around this system creating different tools for different situations.
Regardless of what type of project you are using Kubernetes for, we always recommend that you have a system of validation tools in place to help ensure the future success of your platform.