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Understanding Health Probes in Kubernetes - Blog #12

Updated: Apr 12, 2023


When deploying applications to a Kubernetes cluster, it is important to configure health probes along with resource limits to ensure optimal performance. This article will discuss the different types of health probes and their significance in Kubernetes.

Types of Health Probes:

  1. Startup Probe: This probe ensures that the application is starting up correctly. It only runs once during startup.

  2. Readiness Probe: This probe checks if the application is ready to handle traffic. It is continuously active and if it fails, Kubernetes stops directing traffic to the application until it is ready again.

  3. Liveness Probe: This probe checks if the application is running smoothly. It is also continuously active, and if it fails, Kubernetes treats the application as stalled and attempts to restart it.

Common Pitfalls:

  1. Not considering third-party services like databases in the readiness probe.

  2. Having the readiness and liveness probes share the same endpoint.

  3. Using an old health endpoint from a virtual machine deployment instead of a container.

  4. Failure to utilize built-in safety features of the framework.

  5. Overcomplicating health checks, leading to internal denial of service attacks within the cluster.

  6. Triggering a domino effect of failures with liveness probes checking external services.

Use Case:

Suppose the Login service is used by three other services. If the liveness probe is configured to verify dependencies, it could lead to all services being marked as down even though only one had issues. To avoid this, circuit breakers can be used to separate liveness from responsiveness.

Conclusion: Configuring health probes is critical for optimal performance of applications in a Kubernetes cluster. Knowing the significance of each type of probe and avoiding common pitfalls can help ensure smooth functioning of the cluster.

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