Tekton is a strong and adaptable open-source framework for building continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines that automate software development workflows.
Have you been curious about Tekton and found yourself searching the internet for information like “What is Tekton? What is Tekton used for? And what is Tekton pipeline? If the answer is yes, you have come to the right place! As we will be addressing these questions along with many others in this blog. But before we delve into the specifics of Tekton, let’s first take a quick look at kubernetes, which is now a well-known concept and is famous for its capabilities in automating and scaling container deployments. Refer to our previous blogs to learn the basics of Kubernetes.
However, working with Kubernetes is easier said than done. It presents its own set of challenges:
- Complex to set up and manage when scaling
- Steep learning curve
- Kubernetes can be resource-intensive, leading to high costs and performance issues if not properly managed.
- Challenges with securing container images, the control plane, and the Kubernetes API server.
- Applications on Kubernetes can be complex to manage with multiple services that must work together, creating testing, monitoring, and deployment challenges.
- Ecosystem fragmentation with many different tools and approaches, making it difficult to choose the right tools for a given use case.
And this is where a Kubernetes-native approach can help tackle these challenges and help standardize Kubernetes deployments.
Being Kubernetes native has a lot of other advantages. Kubernetes-native could be any object, resource, custom resource, application, middleware, workload, image, tool, interface, etc., designed to run on the Kubernetes platform.
Introduction to Tekton: Advantages of being Kubernetes-native
So, what is Tekton?1 let us look at the advantages it offers for being kubernetes native.
- Scalability: Kubernetes allows for easy deployment and management of large, complex applications, providing automatic scaling to meet changing demands.
- Portability: Applications built with Kubernetes are portable, which means they can run on any Kubernetes cluster regardless of the underlying infrastructure.
- Reliability: Kubernetes offers built-in resiliency and fault tolerance, ensuring that applications continue running even in a failure.
- Automation: Kubernetes enables the automation of many application deployment and management aspects, reducing the need for manual intervention and improving efficiency.
- Community: Kubernetes has a large and active community of developers, which means many resources and tools are available to help organizations build and manage their applications.
What exactly is Tekton?
In the past, before Tekton, there were many CI/CD systems designed to run on Kubernetes, but they all had to build the same basic infrastructure before they could start solving customer problems. Kubernetes could make scheduling, orchestration, and infrastructure management more simple. However, it was still a challenge for users to assemble a few pieces before using them as an application delivery platform.
The only possible solution was to have a Kubernetes-native framework that attempted to standardize Kubernetes deployments. To make this a reality, Tekton was created. It was included in the newly established Continuous Delivery Foundation and was released as vendor-neutral, making it easily accessible to everyone. It has now matured into a graduated CDF project with strong community backing.
- Tekton, a powerful but flexible Kubernetes-native open-source framework, helps developers build, test, and deploy across various cloud providers.
- Started life as a part of the Knative project; the framework aids in continuous integration and continuous delivery of the software components. Furthermore, being a Knative technology, Tekton is easy to scale; thus, you can add more nodes to your clusters during a higher workload.
- Its goal is to specify the ‘API’ and provide the Kubernetes building blocks so that the developers can run their pipelines in a cloud-native fashion.
- With Tekton, you can build cloud-native CI/CD systems in Kubernetes and take advantage of standardized tools and procedures that work with all vendors, platforms, and languages. As a result, it works very well with Jenkins, Jenkin X, Skaffold, Knative, and many more CI/CD tools.
- Tekton pipelines go well with other third-party tools enabling you to store, manage and secure your artifacts.
- Tekton is ideal for developers who need CI/CD systems to do their work and platform engineers who build CI/CD systems for developers in their organization.
Benefits of Tekton and how it tackles Kubernetes challenges:
You can now see how Tekton addresses the issues we mentioned at the beginning of the blog post because you have a better understanding of what is Tekton.
- Complex Pipeline Management: Tekton simplifies pipeline management by providing a standard, Kubernetes-native framework for building and deploying pipelines.
- Integration with Existing Tools: Tekton makes integrating with other tools and services easy, allowing organizations to build pipelines that incorporate the tools they already use.
- Scalability: Tekton is designed to scale with the organization’s needs, allowing for the deployment and management of large, complex pipelines.
- Customization: Tekton allows for the customization of pipelines to meet the organization’s specific needs, providing a flexible framework for building and deploying applications.
- No Vendor Locking: Tekton allows for the portability of pipelines across different Kubernetes clusters, making it easier to manage pipelines across multiple environments.
The Tekton Pipeline
What is Tekton pipeline and how are Tekton pipelines different? Tekton pipelines are Kubernetes extensions meant to be run and installed on Kubernetes clusters. This means we do not need additional machines to run our pipelines and can better utilize our existing ones. Not only this, but Tekton Pipeline also stores everything related to the pipeline within Kubernetes as Kubernetes resources. Tekton pipelines are designated in YAML files, primarily stored in a Git repository. In addition, Tekton provides a set of extensions to Kubernetes that define pipelines.
To understand better, let us look at the components that Tekton pipelines are made up of:
Step – It is the smallest building block for Tekton. Here you can specify an image, command, or argument. This step concept is like the existing Kubernetes container Spec. However, the new CRD (Custom Resource Definitions) for Tekton is Task.
Tasks: A Task is a unit of work in a pipeline that achieves a specific goal (build archive, docker image, test run, and deploy.) Each task is made up of various steps, which are the building blocks of a Tekton pipeline. Once the steps are planned and ordered, DevOps engineers can define the finer tasks Tekton can execute. These tasks help introduce reusability to the pipeline as they can be templatized and reused across various services.
Pipeline: A Tekton pipeline is a collection of tasks that can execute either sequentially, in parallel, or a combination of both. The order of execution can be specified as per your continuous integration flow to fit your business needs. DevOps teams can control the nodes (tasks) and steer the work in their preferred direction of execution. Here’s how a Tekton pipeline would visually look like:
Since it redefines how pipelines are built and standardizes Kubernetes deployments with its reusable pipelines, many challenges of working with Kubernetes can be tackled with the Tekton framework.
However, every rainbow has its rain! Tekton, though excellent on paper, is much more complicated to work with.
- Like Kubernetes, it has a steep learning curve, particularly for developers who are not familiar with Kubernetes
- While Tekton simplifies pipeline management, it still requires some expertise and effort to build and maintain pipelines, particularly as the complexity of the pipelines grows.
- Developers must often build custom tasks and plugins to meet their specific needs, as Tekton does not provide all the functionality required to build and deploy pipelines out of the box.
- While Tekton is designed to integrate with other tools and services, the integration can still be challenging, particularly if the tool or service is not already integrated with Tekton.
- Tekton pipelines can be resource-intensive, particularly if running on a large scale. Developers need to manage resources to ensure efficient pipeline execution carefully.
- As with Kubernetes, the Tekton ecosystem is large and fragmented, with many different tools and approaches, making it difficult to choose the right tools for a given use case.
Out of the above challenges, what gets developers on edge is the overall complexity of Tekton, which requires building custom tasks and plugins or working on custom tool integrations, which usually takes a lot of time, causing the focus to shift from streamlining DevOps to just working with Tekton.
Ozone: Building over Tekton to provide a unified CICD platform with automated deployments for modern apps
Ozone is a CI/CD platform with simple CI/CD automation that requires almost no learning curve. Built using Tekton, Ozone makes it easy for developers to automate Kubernetes application delivery. It simplifies end-to-end container development on Kubernetes. Ozone is developed to remove the hassles of managing too many DevOps tools to make it simple for developers to build and deploy applications on the Kubernetes cluster.
- Modern CI/CD platform, which is easy to learn.
- Ensures hassle-free deployments for both stateful and stateless applications.
- Simplified container deployment.
- Integrates with popular DevOps tools and Cloud providers.
- Aids organizations to focus on delivering value to the customer.
Reach us at [email protected] to know more or get a free demo of Ozone.