In the last few years, containers have gained considerable attention in the way they have enabled technology. This was chiefly achieved due to their scalability and improving the performance of distributed applications. Apart from enabling operational agility in developing applications, there is now a slew of container-based services available on all leading cloud platforms. Essentially, containerisation allows development teams to move fast, deploy software efficiently and operate on a rapid scale.
In reality, cloud providers have become a one-stop platform for selling consumer hardware such as servers, storage systems and packaged applications for workloads like AI (complete with custom chips). With the battle over cloud getting heated up and businesses trying to avoid the scenario of cloud lock-ins, cloud vendors are increasingly turning to open-source container technologies like Docker, Kubernetes and providing managed containers which help businesses get up and running with containers.
With businesses trying to facilitate multi-cloud architectures at the network level, container technologies, Kubernetes or Docker enable a degree of cloud portability and multi-cloud at the infrastructure and DevOps level. Also, the practice of running applications in containers instead of virtual machines is gaining momentum. Another key view-point is that running cloud-native technologies such as Docker containers and Kubernetes to data science is also chipping away the importance of traditional big data platforms like Spark and Hadoop.
Here Are Some Popular Container Software Tools:
Kubernetes: Kubernetes is one of the most popular, mature and high-demand tool used for container orchestration. It is a Linux container management tool from Google. It has soared in popularity thanks to its key features like reducing the time for services and allowing portability of tech stack between cloud and on-premise. Today, mega cloud providers, majorly Google, Microsoft and even IBM are the ones that are making the most profit from packaging and selling container-orchestration services. Even large software vendors which are not cloud-native companies like Oracle and Cisco are building out extensive Kubernetes product lines and businesses. Kubernetes is supported by Google’s Cloud Engine, Microsoft Azure, and AWS.
Docker: This another widely popular, open-source container platform. It is supported on Google Cloud Platform and has struggled with its business model. However, the flexibility offered by Docker containers allows developers and engineers to just focus on building customer-centric applications and business models on the go. All in all, Docker improves operations, helps build scalable architectures for customer-facing applications and utilise hardware resources effectively.
Mesosphere: Mesosphere DC/OS automates rollout and production operations for containers and data services on any infrastructure. In simpler terms, Mesosphere sells a product, for which there is also an open sourced version available, called DC/OS that’s built on a foundation of Apache Mesos and another open source project called Marathon. DC/OS can launch and manage Docker containers and non-containerised applications and can run entire distributed systems on top of data systems such as Spark and Kafka. DC/OS could run Kubernetes clusters as well.
Red Hat OpenShift: Open Shift from Red Hat offers two open source software — Docker and Kubernetes with an easy to use user interface. Overall, Openshift has been positioned as a successful software stack for businesses in the need of certified software and want to move to containerisation. OpenShift also supports a lot of programming languages and integrate different parts of DevOps processes, from engineers to developers and security teams. In terms of scalability, OpenShift is one of the best since it allows effective utilisation of hardware resources and enables developers to scale by giving more performance to the application features.
Why Enterprises Are Moving Towards Containers
According to RedHat tech evangelist Gordon Haff, the shift towards containerisation is led by a need for modern infrastructure platform that can reduce the level of skills required and help organisations focus on their own application delivery needs rather than relying on the underlying platform. Over a period of time, containers have evolved from being an alternative to hardware virtualisation to becoming a platform that allows iterative software development and deployment. Containers enable developers to package their applications and dependencies into one manifest, allowing for easy replication of your application across developers on your team and machines in the cluster.
In fact, a number of customers are looking for ways to shift legacy applications into containers to benefit from container orchestration and management technologies like Kubernetes. However, not all applications can be easily containerised, due to missing components like proofing support or the graphics subsystem which is not included in Windows Server Core.