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What's the use-case for running databases in k8s, is this a widely accepted best practice?

I guess I look at it the opposite way - which is why wouldn't you run everything in k8s once you have the basic investment in it. Let's you spin up new environments, vertical scaling becomes trivial, disaster recovery/business continuity is automatic along with everything else in your k8s environment.

I don't think its a widely accepted best practice yet, mainly because its hard to do well, and by its self its hard to take advantage of the benefits of using k8s. The company I work for has been building out the tools require to run databases well in k8s ( fully automated, fully managed, survivable, and scale-able ) and we are seeing people come around to it. Once you have all the tools in place you can have a system that scales right along side your applications on heterogeneous hardware. Isn't dependent on any single server, can be deployed and managed exactly like your applications, and can be transported everywhere. If you want to take a look check out planetscale.com

If you are running Kubernetes, happen to be a fairly large organization and use microservices, you probably have many databases. Hundreds of them. Most of them are going to be small, using few resources of any kind.

In that context running postgres on K8S makes a lot of sense. You already have K8S and experience running it. Running postgres there makes it possible to share resources between databases and other applications. That improves utilization which means you can reduce costs significantly.

Another advantage is that unlike managed solutions such as RDS, you can use a more recent postgres version and postgres extensions that RDS doesn't support. Extensions such as PgQ or TimescaleDB or ...

Having said all of this. In a large organization, you have the benefit of economies of scale. Large fixed costs (such as developing the expertise required to run (postgres on) K8S reliably) can be amortized. It's possible for this to be a good idea, even a best practice for large organizations while at the same time a terrible idea for smaller ones. Most of the time, using a managed service like RDS is probably a better choice. In other words: You are not Google. You are not Facebook. You are probably not even Zalando. Figure out what's right for you.

Losing your data.

JK, sort of.

My first go to is something like RDS, but I’ve run Postgres in k8s for pretty much one use case: everything else is already in k8s _and_ I need a PG extension/functionality not present in RDS.

Conway's Law. The hardware team deals with the lower parts of the stack: hardware, OS, up to Kubernetes. The applications team(s) deal exclusively with Kubernetes payloads.

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