Ever since Docker managed to automate the deployment of applications inside software containers by providing an additional layer of abstraction, Containers are suddenly the rage. And with good reason too.
Put simply, containerization is level of abstraction which separates applications from the hardware and operating system. This virtualization technique has actually been around for a while. But it is only after Docker made it popular by standardizing containers that this exciting technology has suddenly come to the forefront. So much so, that all major cloud vendors now have containerization as service in their portfolio.
The usage of Containers is common in micro service based architecture, which is becoming popular in cloud based applications. Containers allow developers and operators to further subdivide compute resources.
Image source: docker.com
Containerization of the cloud has several benefits.
One of the biggest advantages of Containerization is that it addresses the challenge of moving applications across cloud and on-premise. The cloud first made it easy to provision Virtual Machines (VMs), by enabling the creation of VMs in few minutes. But now, with container services on cloud, even application instances can be created in seconds. Containers are portable, since they separate applications from the environment on where it runs.
Simplified Application scaling:
Application scaling has become a lot easier with containers on cloud because it is possible to create any number of containers, which allows users to scale seamlessly. It also gives flexibility in assigning the right resources to containers. For example, applications that are compute intensive can have more CPU resources while applications with memory or storage requirement can have more memory resources. This gives a good balance of effective resource utilization. There are services like “Kubernetes” from Google which provide an orchestration layer on top of containers. It provides scale, self-healing and enables management of thousands of containers easily.
The cost of hosting applications on the cloud will reduce further with containerization technology. Containers allow users to run multiple applications on a single VM, which means that multiple tests and applications can run with a single VM cost. It also enables finer control on CPUcore and memory resources as per application request.
Containers have reduced lot of development related issues. Developers no longer need to worry about the target environment and the IT team doesn’t have to worry about moving applications from development to production. The IT team can simply package all trusted framework into a container and provide the same to development team. With this, the IT team can be sure of compliance and guarantee that the application will work in its production environment. This essentially eliminates all interoperability concerns, which means that an app that runs on a developer’s laptop will run on test and production environment without any issues.
By standardizing container templates, enterprises can get away from vendor lock-in. Container standardization makes it that much easier to move across internal clouds operated by multiple vendors or across testing and production environments.
By all indications, containerization of the cloud is a trend that is here to stay!