Arrow icon

What Makes Kubernetes Complex?

Kubernetes has rapidly become the standard for container orchestration, providing a powerful platform for deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications. However, despite its many benefits, Kubernetes can also be challenging to work with due to its inherent complexity. In this context, it is essential to recognize the reasons why Kubernetes is complicated to understand the best practices for deploying applications on Kubernetes. In this article, we will explore reasons why Kubernetes can be challenging to work with, including the complexity of the system, the steep learning curve, the high degree of customization, and debugging and troubleshooting. Understanding these factors can help developers and operators to overcome common challenges and deploy robust, scalable applications on Kubernetes.

Complexity of the system:

Kubernetes is a complex system with many components, making it difficult to understand and configure for those without experience. Kubernetes is designed to handle container orchestration, scaling, and deployment, which involves numerous interconnected components such as the Kubernetes API server, etcd cluster, Kubernetes scheduler, and Kubernetes controller manager. This complexity requires a significant amount of time and effort to learn, and can be daunting for beginners. Additionally, as the system evolves, new features and updates can add to the already complex architecture, making it more challenging to maintain and troubleshoot.

Steep learning curve:

Kubernetes requires a deep understanding of containerization, networking, storage, and cluster orchestration. It takes time and effort to understand these concepts and to become familiar with the many Kubernetes tools and components. For example, understanding how to configure and deploy Kubernetes pods, services, and replication controllers is critical to building and scaling applications on Kubernetes. Furthermore, Kubernetes is a constantly evolving platform, and staying up to date with new features and changes requires ongoing learning.

High degree of customization:

Kubernetes offers great flexibility and customizability, but this can also make things more complicated. There are a vast number of configuration options, and the multitude of choices can be overwhelming. Kubernetes provides configuration options for container networking, storage, scheduling, and many other features. It can be challenging to know which configuration options to choose and how to properly customize the cluster to meet specific application requirements. Moreover, customizing the cluster can lead to unexpected problems and requires a deep understanding of the Kubernetes architecture.

Debugging and troubleshooting:

When issues arise in a Kubernetes cluster, debugging and troubleshooting can be challenging due to the distributed nature of Kubernetes. Kubernetes applications can be distributed across multiple pods, nodes, and namespaces, making it difficult to pinpoint the root cause of an issue. Debugging Kubernetes applications can require complex and time-consuming tasks such as logs analysis, cluster state inspection, and network analysis. Furthermore, the dynamic nature of Kubernetes can mean that issues may arise suddenly or intermittently, making it difficult to reproduce and debug problems. Overall, debugging and troubleshooting Kubernetes applications requires significant expertise and experience.


Kubernetes is a powerful and flexible platform for container orchestration, but its complexity can pose challenges for developers and operators. By recognizing the reasons why Kubernetes is complicated and taking steps to address these challenges, developers and operators can build and scale applications with confidence. Whether it involves investing in training and education or leveraging third-party tools and services, there are many ways to overcome the challenges of Kubernetes and unlock the full potential of this powerful platform. Ultimately, by understanding the complexities of Kubernetes, developers and operators can ensure that their applications are reliable, scalable, and efficient.

If you're looking to adopt Kubernetes without all of the complexity, try out harpoon for free or book a demo.