Koyeb vs Kubernetes

Tired of Kubernetes-induced headaches? Check out how it compares to Koyeb, the serverless platform delivering the fastest way to deploy applications globally.

It may seem strange at first glance to compare the Koyeb Serverless Platform to Kubernetes, but a lot of developers and businesses come to us because they are looking for a solution that is more efficient to operate and use than Kubernetes.

This type of comparison reveals exactly why we decided to build Koyeb: modern applications need resilient and high-performing global architectures without the heavy management cost. Building this kind of infrastructure is no small feat; it usually requires significant investments in time, manpower, and financial resources. Luckily, there are completely managed solutions like Koyeb.

While Kubernetes is a powerful technology that enables teams to build resilient and scalable infrastructures, it is also highly complex and challenging to learn and properly implement.

We compare Kubernetes and Koyeb to help you identify the most efficient and cost-effective way to obtain a resilient, scalable, and high-performing architecture.

An application today needs to be constantly available, scale at a moment's notice, and provide end-users an enjoyable experience through low response times and fast loading times. Determining how you will dedicate resources to scale and manage your web applications and services is a decision that carries long-term and strategic importance.

Responsibilities

When adopting Kubernetes, you're completely responsible for deploying and operating the infrastructure. You have no guarantee on the availability of the hosted applications and services.

Kubernetes is a completely serverful solution where you need:

  • to decide which cloud service provider will host the nodes/servers composing your cluster
  • a specific skill set and background knowledge to leverage all of the capabilities Kubernetes has to offer
  • to invest a lot of time to set up your clusters properly, maintain them, and troubleshoot errors when they arise

In comparison, the Koyeb Serverless Platform:

  • is serverless, we completely manage the underlying infrastructure for you
  • uses known standards and doesn't require any Koyeb-specific knowledge or any DevOps skill set
  • immediately provides the capability to deploy constantly available applications without any upfront cost or maintenance cost

Building scalable and resilient architectures include numerous responsibilities. Here is a table we created to visualize the responsibility breakdown when using Kubernetes or deploying on Koyeb:

ResponsibilityKubernetes managedKoyeb managed
High-availability
Operating System Security
Version upgrades
Infrastructre Skills
Networking
CI/CD
Container Security
Deploying globally
Data residency and compliance

High-availability: Accomplishing high-availability on Kubernetes requires you to provision enough machines in addition to properly configuring and monitoring your desired pod and ReplicaSet topology. In comparison, high-availability is natively provided out-of-the-box with Koyeb, infrastructure autohealing is built-in and we transparently manage failures of physical servers.

Operating System Security: Kubernetes doesn't manage the OS (Operating System), you're responsible for selecting the OS and ensuring there is no security vulnerability on your nodes. This can be mitigated by using managed versions of Kubernetes, but you will still need to take care of rebooting your production servers. With Koyeb, you will never need to think about the OS of the nodes, this is 100% managed by Koyeb.

Version upgrades: With Kubernetes, you need to deal with upgrading the software used on your cluster. In other words, you need to manage whatever errors occur on your side between releases. Kubernetes has a rapid release cycle with each version phased out after 9 months, generating a lot of upgrade costs. Koyeb manages all the orchestration stack and software for you, so there is never a version upgrade for you to do.

Infrastructure Skills: You need a considerable system engineering and site reliability engineering background to achieve robust and reliable production environments with Kubernetes. There are no system engineering or DevOps skills necessary to deploy on Koyeb.

Networking: You need to deal with the complete networking setup, from network addressing to load-balancing and there is no simple solution to enjoy native inter-service communication. With Koyeb, everything is managed with a built-in service mesh and service discovery layer.

CI/CD: Blazing fast continuous deployment enabling continuous integration is built-in to the Koyeb platform. Koyeb builds and deploys your app after you git push. As for Kubernetes, CI/CD is not built-in to the technology, you'll need to use another software.

Container Security: As Kubernetes doesn't manage the build of your container, you need to select and secure the OS supporting your containers. If you use continuous deployment with git on Koyeb, we also take care of the container's OS security.

Deploying globally: To deploy globally, you'll need to deploy a Kubernetes cluster per region and use a global load-balancer. This is a complex and manual process. On the other side, Koyeb provides 10 core locations with global network and load-balancing out-of-the-box.

Data residency and compliance: You are responsible for managing these requirements when using Kubernetes. Koyeb can help you respect sovereignty requirements with the possibility to deploy in multiple regions and helps achieve compliance requirements with certifications.

Developer Experience

  • Deployment methods: Koyeb supports git-driven deployment using buildpacks and Dockerfiles as well as Docker deployments from the container registry of your choice. Kubernetes is only for containerized applications.
  • Runtimes: Koyeb natively supports building Node.js, Python, Go, Ruby, Rust, Java, Clojure, Scala, and PHP apps. Kubernetes doesn't provide continuous deployment.
  • CLI: The Koyeb CLI lets you programmatically interact with the Koyeb Serverless Platform directly from your terminal. Kubernetes also provides CLIs.
  • Cron jobs: Koyeb Cron jobs allow you to run scheduled tasks at customizable intervals. Kubernetes also lets you run cron jobs.
  • Secrets: Koyeb Secrets provide a simple solution to pass confidential information, such as passwords and tokens, to your application. Kubernetes provides a similar mechanism.
  • Learning curve: Koyeb is designed to be the fastest way to deploy applications globally. You don't need to learn about orchestration or Kubernetes specific notions to use Koyeb, it's much easier than learning and using Kubernetes.

Features

  • Autoscaling: Autoscaling is a key feature that is always available with the Koyeb serverless platform. If you want your clusters to scale automatically in Kubernetes, you will need to configure and manage that yourself.
  • Autohealing: Since Kubernetes is self-hosted, you are responsible for managing your clusters, troubleshooting, and dealing with nodes failures. In contrast, the Koyeb serverless platform automatically handles all underlying server failures.
  • CDN: Kubernetes does not come with a CDN out-of-the-box. On the other hand, Koyeb has a built-in CDN that spans 55 edge locations, meaning faster responses for your end users and optimized bandwidth use on your side.
  • Multi-region deployments: Deploying in 10 regions with Kubernetes means deploying and maintaining 10 clusters whereas workloads on Koyeb can run across 10 core locations in two clicks.
  • Automatic HTTPS (SSL): With Kubernetes, you have to manually set up HTTPS/SSL connections while it is an automatic and built-in feature of the Koyeb serverless platform.
  • Private network, service mesh and service discovery: The Koyeb serverless platform provides each application a private network that consists of a built-in service mesh and discovery. The service discovery mechanism allows the internal services of your application to locate and communicate with one another while the service mesh encrypts all inter-service communications. With Kubernetes, you need to manually configure this type of networking.
  • Computing power: The computing power available with Kubernetes varies across cloud service providers. Koyeb runs directly on BareMetal servers and relies on Firecracker microVMs to run your applications securely and efficiently.

Performance

The Koyeb Serverless Engine runs directly on top of high-end bare metal servers and uses the latest generations of Intel and AMD high-end CPUs. All workloads on Koyeb are transparently deployed in MicroVMs thanks to the lightweight virtualization provided by Firecracker. Discover the benefits of Firecracker and how the technology works.

Koyeb's cutting-edge serverless technology is fueled by its powerhouse stack. When we first started building the Koyeb platform, we chose to use Kubernetes. After a few months, we decided it was not meeting our needs, so we switched to a custom stack based on Nomad, Kuma, and Firecracker. Learn more about these technologies and the reasons why we switched with The Koyeb Serverless Engine: from Kubernetes to Nomad, Firecracker, and Kuma.

In comparison, the performance of Kubernetes is highly variable depending on your setup. For starters, are you managing your Kubernetes clusters or are you using a cloud service provider to manage them? If you choose to self-host your Kubernetes clusters, you are responsible for the performance of your clusters.

If you opt for managed Kubernetes, you have to consider how performances vary between different providers. Managed Kubernetes providers use different underlying architectures, offer different features and possibilities, and come with their unique limitations. In terms of cluster nodes, Azure's AKS clusters run in Azure Virtual Machines while Google's GKE uses Compute Engine VM instances to run workloads, and Amazon's EKS can run either on AWS Fargate or Amazon EC2.

Customer Support

  • Koyeb offers 99.9% uptime SLA and email support at $79/ month whereas Kubernetes does not come with an SLA or dedicated support team. Kubernetes is an open-source technology, so there is no SLA or professional support available by default.
  • Koyeb customers can access the Koyeb community Slack to exchange with other users and the Koyeb team. Kubernetes is an open-source technology with no dedicated team to answer questions, but has an expansive open-source community with forums where people can ask and answer Kubernetes-related questions.
  • Koyeb lets you suggest, vote, and track new features status via its public feedback and roadmap platform. Kubernetes does not offer a public roadmap nor a feature request platform.

Price

Koyeb's pricing model is a linear pay-as-you-grow model based on your resource-use whereas the cost of Kubernetes is highly variable. Honestly, discerning the true cost of Kubernetes is quite challenging as there are so many factors that affect the actual price you can pay for using Kubernetes. That being said, our estimates below represent our best and fairest efforts.

Our price comparison is only going to look at the costs for professional use cases because we believe using Kubernetes is overkill for side projects. There is a debate surrounding if Kubernetes is still a worthwhile choice for businesses. While some believe it is worth being flexible, others find it takes up too much precious time and energy for most companies.

On the other hand, Koyeb is a cost-effective choice for all deployments, from small projects to large enterprise applications since it uses a linear pricing model according to actual resource usage.

The cost of Kubernetes

While it is an open-source technology, Kubernetes has a considerable amount of hidden costs. When choosing to use Kubernetes you have one of two paths:

  1. Self-hosted Kubernetes
  2. Managed Kubernetes

Self-hosted Kubernetes

If you choose to self-manage your Kubernetes clusters, your total cost of ownership (TCO) includes:

ExpenseAnnual CostSource
Nodes to host the control plane of your clusters$0.096 x 24 x 365 x 3 = $2523We went with D3s v3 Azure VMs machines, they have 2 vCPU and 8 GB RAM. We multiply by 3 for redundancy purposes.
Salary for each member on your DevOps team$105,000 x 4 = $420,000Average DevOps salary in the US according to GlassDoor.

Multiply by 4 for a team of four DevOps engineers.
Sanity of DevOps team when issues arisePriceless😇

Annual total base cost (without app nodes): $2523 + $420,000 + Priceless

Managed Kubernetes

Then there is the managed Kubernetes route. The 3 biggest managed Kubernetes providers are GCP, AWS, and Azure. At first glance, their prices appear identical.

Managed Kubernetes ProviderCost to run one cluster
AWS EKS$0.10 x 24 x 365 = $876
Azure AKS$0.10 x 24 x 365 = $876
GCP GKE$0.10 x 24 x 365 = $876

For all these offerings, there are no automatic version updates or autorecovery and you still need to pay for the computing resources like CPU, memory, and ephemeral storage that your pods consume.

You also need to account for the maintenance responsibilities not covered. You'll need at least one dedicated DevOps person to monitor this managed solution and handle the responsibilities not covered by these offerings.

Annual total cost: $876 + $105,000 - which is a very conservative estimate.

While this option buys you a lot more time and energy to focus on developing and improving your applications, you will still be stuck with some of the Kubernetes responsibilities depending on the cloud service provider you use.

Nodes cost

The true cost of nodes also varies across cloud service providers and depends on the amount of computing resources you need as well as where your servers are running. We went with D3s v3 Azure VMs machines, which have 2 vCPUs and 8 GB RAM. We multiply by 3 for redundancy purposes.

ExpenseAnnual Cost
Nodes to host your applications$0.096 x 24 x 365 x 3 = $2523

With that, you should have 5.4GB of RAM per node, so ~16GB of usable RAM and 6vCPU.

For business use with 16 services

When you deploy on Koyeb, your only responsibility is developing and innovating with your code. There is no DevOps or infrastructure management, Koyeb takes care of it.

ProviderAnnual CostRessources
Self-Managed Kubernetes on Azure$425,04616GB of RAM and 6vCPU
Managed Kubernetes on Azure$107,52316GB of RAM and 6vCPU
Koyeb$205416 services with 1GB of RAM and 1vCPU, so 16GB and 16 vCPU

This cost varies across cloud service providers and depends on the amount of computing resources you need and where your servers are running, but we believe this is the lowest amount you will pay for a Kubernetes cluster in production.

We're not even accounting for CDN services, global load-balancing, networking features and everything else which is highlighted in our responsibilities section.

Small projects

Koyeb's linear pricing model charges for the resources your services consume depending on the number of hours you use your service and there is no upfront setup cost:

  • Free-Tier: Deploy 2 nano services and enjoy all the powerful built-in features of the serverless platform like autoscaling, autohealing, automatic HTTPs, your own private network with service discovery and service mesh, the global edge network, and more.
  • Startup Plan: For those looking for more computing resources, email support and SLA.
  • Enterprise Tier: For those requiring dedicated resources, premium support, and higher configurations of CPU or RAM.

Conclusion

The Koyeb Serverless Platform provides your apps and services the infrastructure features it needs to be distributed and global from the get-go. All of the features mentioned in this comparison come built-in to the Koyeb platform, without any management or code modification from you.

All in all, to successfully use Kubernetes and leverage its powerful capabilities, you will need to have a profound understanding of the technology, its unique concepts and functionalities, as well as the time to handle its implementation and maintenance.

We built Koyeb to be the fastest way to deploy applications globally. Since you can count on Koyeb for your underlying infrastructure — like autoscaling, high-availability, auto-healing, and so much more — you can develop and innovate faster, meaning your new features and applications enjoy a faster time-to-market and your users enjoy a faster time-to-value.

Join us on Slack to let us know if you think something is missing in this comparison or if you think there is an error in our side of the story.