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You learned how to launch a pod representing your containers from its YAML file in Chapter 2. One question might arise in your container-filled mind: what if I need three pods that are exactly the same (each runs an Apache container) to make sure the web service appears more robust? Do I change the name in the YAML file then repeat the same commands to create the required pods? Or maybe with a shell script? Kubernetes already has the objects to address this demand with RC - ReplicationController, or RS – ReplicaSet.

A ReplicationController (rc) ensures that a specified number of pod replicas are running at any one time. In other words, a replication controller makes sure that a pod or a homogeneous set of pods is always up and available.

Creating an rc

Let’s create an rc with an example. First create a YAML file for an rc object named webserver:

Remember that kind indicates the object type that this YAML file defines, here it is an rc instead of a pod. In metadata it is showing the rc’s name as webserver. The spec is the detail specification of this rc object, and replicas: 3 indicates the same pod will be cloned to make sure the total number of pods created by the rc is always three. Finally, the template provides information about the containers that will run in the pod, the same as what you saw in a pod YAML file. Now use this YAML file to create the rc object:

If you are quick enough, you may capture the intermediate status when the new pods are being created:

Eventually you will see three pods launched:

Rc works with the pod directly. The workflows are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: rc Workflows
rc Workflows

With the replicas parameter specified in the rc object YAML file, the Kubernetes replication controller, running as part of kube-controller-manager process in the master node, will keep monitoring the number of running pods spawned by the rc and automatically launch new ones should any of them run into failure. The key thing to learn is that individual pods may die any time, but the pool as a whole is always up and running, making a robust service. You will understand this better when you learn Kubernetes service.

Test Rc

You can test an rc’s impact by deleting one of the pods. To delete a resource with kubectl, use the kubectl delete sub-command:

As you can see, when one pod is being terminated, a new pod is immediately spawned. Eventually the old pod will go away and the new pod will be up and running. The total number of running pods will remain unchanged.

You can also scale up or down replicas with rc. For example, to scale up from number of 3 to 5:

There are other benefits with rc. Actually, since this abstraction is so popular and heavily used, two very similar objects, rs -ReplicaSet and Deploy – Deployment, have been developed with more powerful features. Generally speaking, you can call them next generation rc. For now, let’s stop exploring more rc features and move our focus to these two new objects.

Before moving to the next object, you can delete the rc: