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Kubernetes Resource Model (KRM) and How to Make Use of YAML?


Brian Grant, one of Kubernetes' co-founders, has underlined the great simplicity that Kubernetes provides, which is partly due to the Kubernetes Resource Model (KRM). This resource model describes a mechanism for creating configuration files in a clear and understandable format, allowing the desired system state to be specified using code. The concept of universal declarative metadata is a critical component of KRM. As a result, KRM is usually represented as YAML, establishing the core notion that everything in Kubernetes can be distilled into YAML.

Kubernetes Resource Model (KRM) and How to Make Use of YAML

A similar basic principle is the cornerstone of the Everything-as-Code paradigm (EaC), sometimes known as "all as code." The guiding concepts of EaC argue that every aspect of an IT infrastructure, from configurations to security systems, may be painstakingly configured using code. This naturally declarative technique allows the emphasis to shift away from creating individual operations and toward describing ultimate goals and states. It's worth noting that YAML is still relevant in this environment, functioning as a critical tool for creating a healthy balance when working with both technologies in tandem.

Kubernetes and YAML

Compared to the 21st-century version of the Linux kernel for cloud-native applications, Kubernetes represents a significant shift in how we manage and interact with modern IT systems. This comparison highlights the similarities between Kubernetes and Linux by emphasizing their common capacity to access and change system information, albeit via different mechanisms.

The /proc directory in Linux offers access to the kernel and numerous system data. Examining these virtual file streams allows users to investigate and retrieve information about the system. Similarly, the API is a portal to the system's inner workings in Kubernetes. This API exposes information about the whole Kubernetes cluster and allows users to query and control Kubernetes resources.

Crucially, this accessibility is provided by an accessible format in both Linux and Kubernetes. It's virtual file streams in Linux and YAML files in Kubernetes. YAML files provide a structured and human-readable approach to define configurations and intended states. This method streamlines system management, configuration, and monitoring tasks.

Here are some strong reasons why YAML files have become the de facto solution for setting Kubernetes and comparable systems:

Human-Friendly: YAML files are accessible and approachable for people, making them an excellent choice for configuration.

Versatility and Expressiveness: YAML's versatility allows it to express a wide range of configurations and data structures, allowing a wide range of use cases.

Ease of Setup and Operation: Setup and operation are simple, minimizing the learning curve for novices to Kubernetes and related systems.

Cross-Language Compatibility: YAML is easily translatable from one programming language to another, promoting interoperability.

Consistent Data Model: YAML files adhere to a consistent data model, simplifying the construction of generic tools and parsers.

One-Pass Processing: YAML files may be processed in a single pass, making them human- and machine-efficient.

Usage Simplicity: They make it easier to communicate with systems by reducing the need to type complex commands on the command line.

Version Control: YAML files can be added to source control systems to enable versioning and change tracking.

Adaptability: YAML's ability to describe complicated data structures makes it suited for constructing intricate settings beyond what is possible with the command line.

DevSecOps and the collaborative nature: Using YAML to ensure the same type and consistency of implementation is critical for several compelling reasons, particularly in the context of DevSecOps and the collaborative nature of modern IT operations:

Clarity and Readability: Because YAML is structured, configurations are clear and readable. When everyone conforms to the same type and structure, it becomes easier for all team members to understand and work with the configurations, independent of department or function. This clarity improves comprehension and communication.

Finally, the intimate interaction between Kubernetes and YAML emphasizes the significance of this structured configuration language in current IT operations. Because of its human-friendly and consistent nature, YAML facilitates the management and setup of complex systems, making it a must-have tool for developers and operations teams in the age of cloud-native computing.

How do you link resources?

Linking resources in Kubernetes is critical for creating interactions and dependencies between different components of your application or infrastructure. Kubernetes has various techniques for connecting resources, and understanding these approaches is critical for effectively managing big systems. Here are three highlighted methods for linking resources in Kubernetes:

ownerReference (UID): OwnerReference allows one resource to create a hierarchical relationship with another. It denotes that one resource is the "owner" or "parent" of another.

Use Cases: This is typically employed when one resource logically owns or controls another. A Deployment, for example, is the "parent" of a ReplicaSet, and the ReplicaSet is the "parent" of the pods it maintains.

Garbage Collection: Kubernetes uses a Garbage Collector technique to handle resources linked by ownerReferences.

When the "parent" resource is removed, the Garbage Collector deletes all connected "child" resources.

Labels and the Selector: Labels and selectors provide a flexible approach to connect resources based on key-value pairs.

Labels are assigned to resources, such as pods or services, to categorize and group them based on specified features. Other resources can then use selectors to identify and reference resources with certain labels. A Service, for example, can use a selector to route traffic to pods with certain labels.

Labels and selectors enable flexibility in defining associations between resources by allowing you to construct bespoke groupings based on your application's demands.

Targetref: The targeted method's purpose is to specify the linked resource's API version, name, and resource type.

Use Cases: This strategy establishes obvious and direct linkages between resources. It is especially useful when explicitly linking resources based on their API version and name. This method is the most effective for creating exact linkages between resources.

Clarity: TargetRef gives a clear knowledge of all the relationships among your Kubernetes resources, making complicated systems easier to manage and maintain.

The best way to link resources relies on your application's specific requirements and the associations you must establish. The owner reference class is important for establishing hierarchical relationships, whereas labels and selectors allow greater freedom in categorizing and arranging resources.

In Kubernetes, creating resources is critical for describing how different components of your application or infrastructure interact. Understanding these strategies and selecting the best one for your use case will help you successfully build and manage Kubernetes resources while maintaining a well-structured and cohesive system.

Use of YAML in Kubernetes

In Kubernetes, the preferred configuration language is YAML (YAML Ain't Markup Language). It's used to define and configure various Kubernetes resources and applications. YAML is a good choice for defining and maintaining resources in a Kubernetes cluster due to its simplicity and human-readable style. In Kubernetes, YAML is utilized as follows:

Definitions of Resources: In Kubernetes, YAML is largely used to define the desired state of resources. Each resource has its own YAML configuration file, such as pods, services, deployments, config maps, and secrets.


The YAML file in this example defines a pod named "my-pod" with a single container running the most recent version of the Nginx image.

Labels & Metadata:

Metadata, such as names, labels, and annotations, are critical components of resource definitions. Annotations are used to hold non-identifying information, whereas labels are key-value pairs that give further information about resources.


The pod in this example has labels ("app: my-app") and an annotation with a description.


YAML files are used to provide resource configurations. Container images, environment variables, volume mounts, resource constraints, and other customizations can be included.


The YAML file defines a pod with a Nginx container and a volume mount.

Services and Networking:

YAML files are used to define Kubernetes services and networking configurations, such as service types (ClusterIP, NodePort, LoadBalancer), ports, and selectors.


This YAML file defines a service that routes traffic to pods labeled with "app: my-app."

Deployments and Controllers:

YAML files are used to define higher-level controllers like Deployments, StatefulSets, and DaemonSets. These controllers manage the lifecycle and scaling of pods.


This YAML file defines a Deployment that ensures three replicas of a pod running Nginx.

Configuration Files:

Kubernetes also uses YAML configuration files to set cluster-wide configurations, including authentication, authorization, and network policies.


This YAML file defines a ConfigMap with key-value pairs that can be used for configuration settings.

Helm Charts:

Helm, a package manager for Kubernetes, uses YAML files to define Helm charts, which encapsulate Kubernetes applications. Helm charts include templates, values files, and metadata, all defined in YAML.


This is an example of a Helm chart template for a Kubernetes service.

YAML is the standard language for defining and configuring Kubernetes resources. It is used for defining resource specifications, including metadata, configurations, services, controllers, and more. Kubernetes interprets these YAML files to create, update, or delete resources to match the desired state specified in the YAML configurations. Understanding how to write and manage YAML files is fundamental to working effectively with Kubernetes.

Real-life example

Imagine a typical day in your office where different teams work together to keep your company's applications and systems running smoothly. You have the development team, the operations team, and the security team, each with their own unique responsibilities.

One day, an issue arises that's causing a headache for the development and operations teams. They've been scratching their heads for hours, trying to figure out why an application works perfectly in one environment but fails miserably in another, despite everything seeming identical.

Frustration sets in as they hit a roadblock. They decide to contact the security team, hoping they have some insights. After all, they had heard that a third-party solution they were using might be the culprit.

To everyone's surprise, the security team dives in and finds that the third-party solution has introduced some hidden elements into the application's processes running in containers. These hidden elements blocked what the development and operations teams thought was normal behavior.

Now, here's where the frustration kicks in. The security team accessed certain interfaces and information that others didn't. It took their expertise and unique access to uncover the issue.

But this situation raises an important question: Should you always need to go through security for any infrastructure-related problem? Isn't it better if everyone involved, whether it's development, operations, or security, can see and understand what's happening in the infrastructure?

Imagine a workplace where all teams have equal access to the same information and tools. When a problem arises, teams collaborate seamlessly to identify and fix issues quickly. It's a place where everyone shares the responsibility for the systems' security, reliability, and performance.

In such an environment, problems are resolved faster, everyone feels empowered to contribute their expertise, and security isn't a gatekeeper but an integrated part of the process. This collaborative approach leads to smoother operations and ensures that your systems are secure and compliant with industry regulations.

Ultimately, it's about creating a workplace where everyone has the tools and knowledge they need to succeed and where transparency and teamwork are the keys to solving challenges.


In the age of DevSecOps, where agility, cooperation, and security are critical, mandating the same type and structure with YAML files guarantees that everyone involved in infrastructure management can work efficiently together. It improves communication, minimizes errors, and develops a culture of shared responsibility for the health and security of the infrastructure. As a result, it benefits individual teams and the overall success and robustness of the organization's IT operations.

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