A very basic introduction to deploying a Java application using Kubernetes

Sat, Nov 5, 2016

I have been playing around with Kubernetes and Docker lately. To borrow the description of Kubernetes from their website,

“Kubernetes is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.”

One of the first things I did was to try and see what it would take to go from an application to deploying it. I started with a simple Java application and had to set up the development environment. These are my notes from this process. This assumes that you have docker installed on your development environment.

Install minikube

Minikube is a tool that makes it easy to run Kubernetes for local development. To run minikube, you need to have a virtualizer installed - in my case I already had VirtualBox installed. Instructions for installing minikube is available here. In my case, this is what I did:

> curl -Lo minikube https://storage.googleapis.com/minikube/releases/v0.12.2/minikube-darwin-amd64
> chmod +x minikube
> sudo mv minikube /usr/local/bin/

Install kubectl

Kubectl is a command line application that executes commands against Kubernets clusters. Instructions for installing kubectl are available here.

> curl -Lo kubectl http://storage.googleapis.com/kubernetes-release/release/v1.3.0/bin/darwin/amd64/kubectl
> chmod +x kubectl
> sudo mv kubectl /usr/local/bin/

Set up a Docker repository

Kubernetes pulls container images from publicly available registries. But because we are building an application that we will not be publishing to public docker registries, we need to create a local registry. There is a great write up on how to set up a local docker registry at Newstack.

Start minikube with the registry

Now that we have a local docker registry, we can go ahead and tell minikube to consume images from this registry. However, if you have started a minikube cluster previously, the registry override will not be available to it unless it is deleted.

> docker-machine ip registry
> minikube stop
> minikube delete
> minikube start --vm-driver="virtualbox" --insecure-registry=

Create a container image for the application

The application in this case is a simple Spring Boot application that has exactly one controller.

public class HelloController {
  public Map hello() {
    return singletonMap("message", "hello");

In order to create a docker container from this application, we will use the Maven Docker Plugin. We will need to set a prefix for our docker image. This can be done with this maven property:


This plugin expects a Dockerfile to be present in the src/main/docker directory. Our Dockerfile will look like this:

FROM frolvlad/alpine-oraclejdk8:slim
ADD hello-world-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar app.jar
RUN sh -c 'touch /app.jar'
ENTRYPOINT ["java","-jar","/app.jar"]

With this in place, we can generate a docker image. We need to ensure that we are looking at the dev docker host.

> eval $(docker-machine env dev)
> mvn package docker:build

Tag and push the image to local registry

The generated image sadiqueio/hello-world need to be published to the local registry we created.

> docker tag sadiqueio/hello-world
> docker push

Define and create a service

We will define a Kubernetes service object for this application hello-world-service.yaml:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: hello-world
    app: hello-world
    tier: backend
  type: NodePort
    # the port that this service should serve on
  - port: 8080
    app: hello-world
    tier: backend

The service can be created using:

> kubectl create -f hello-world-service.yaml
You have exposed your service on an external port on all nodes in your
cluster.  If you want to expose this service to the external internet, you may
need to set up firewall rules for the service port(s) (tcp:30194) to serve traffic.

See http://releases.k8s.io/release-1.3/docs/user-guide/services-firewalls.md for more details.
service "hello-world" created

Make a note of the port assigned to this service. We will use this port later to access our application.

Define and create a deployment

The next step is to define and create a deployment for our application. This is where we specify the image we previously created and published to the registry.

apiVersion: extensions/v1beta1
kind: Deployment
  name: hello-world
  replicas: 1
        app: hello-world
        tier: backend
      - name: hello-world
            cpu: 100m
            memory: 100Mi
        - name: GET_HOSTS_FROM
          value: dns
        - containerPort: 8080
> kubectl create -f hello-world-deployment.yaml
deployment "hello-world" created

Ensure that the deployment is successful

> kubectl get services
hello-world   <none>        8080/TCP   4m
> kubectl get deployments
hello-world   1         1         1            1           4m

Access the service

We already know the port assigned to our service. Because we specified type: NodePort, the IP address we need to use is that of the Kubernetes cluster. This IP address can be found using the minikube command.

> minikube ip

Now that we have both pieces of information, we can test that our application is up.

> curl  -s | jq .
  "message": "hello"

That is it. We have deployed our hello world application using Kubernetes.