One of the topics a lot of people seem to be talking about these days is containers. You know, those things that essentially encapsulate all of an application’s files and its dependencies. Some in the industry see containers as the next big trend in cloud computing; some see it as a revolution. It’s even been referred to as Cloud 2.0.
According to a recent survey of IT professionals conducted by Penton Research, of those respondents currently leveraging the cloud, a full 57 percent are either planning to use or thinking of using containerization for their applications in the next 2 years. For those respondents who are currently considering migration to the cloud, the number planning to use or thinking of using containerization for their applications drops just a hair to 52 percent.
IT Innovators’ own guest writer, Orin Thomas, wrote an excellent article on containers late last year that explains the high level of interest in the topic. In What You Need to Know About Containers and the Benefits of a Hybrid Cloud, he pointed out a number of their key benefits; namely, that they are non-persistent, extremely small and portable, can be rapidly deployed, have provenance, and are easy to move. When an application needs to be updated, it’s as simple as dropping in a newer version of the container. And these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg.
That’s not to say that containers don’t have their disadvantages; they do. For example, container consistency can be hard to maintain when they come from multiple sources. Resource tracking and separation may also be problematic. And, while containers provide a fast and effective way to package up application files and their dependencies, how do you really know they can be trusted and are truly secure?
Despite these concerns, containerization is taking off, in part thanks to the efforts of companies like Docker. A great article on What you need to know about Containers…The Disruptive Cloud 2.0, highlights some of those efforts. One of the points the article makes is that Docker is great for the hybrid cloud. A key reason why is that it facilitates cloud bursting. This popular capability essentially allows the hybrid cloud to give enterprises the ability to use public cloud resources when capacity demands spike. But there’s more.
According to David Linthicum, a cloud analyst with Cloud Technology Partners, “Containers provide orchestration and clustering services.” Container clusters are not only much easier to manage, but they “work well with hybrid cloud computing platforms that use different types of clouds for different purposes.” Linthicum also points out that “the hybrid cloud maximizes the value of containers, making it easier to move workloads between private and public clouds. Containers encapsulate application workloads and can easily move between different cloud platforms, which provides portability.”
These are all interesting points, especially with so many enterprises moving to the hybrid cloud. Even if you aren’t considering using containers, if you’re like most of your peers – you are likely already using or planning a transition to the hybrid cloud. And, if you want to make the most of that solution, containers should be on your radar.
If want more information on containers, there’s a host of resources you can check out. A good place to start would be the websites of the companies offering container solutions, such as Docker, Rocket and Odin. There’s also a great conference on containers called Container World. Unfortunately you just missed this year’s event, but you can still get a look at all the content coming from the recent show by visiting its’ website at www.containerevent.com. In the meantime, if you have any expertise with Containers and the hybrid cloud and you’d like to share that information with your peers, drop me a line at [email protected]. And don’t forget to check back here each week for more information on the hybrid cloud and other important IT-related topics.
This blog is sponsored by Microsoft.
Cheryl J. Ajluni is a freelance writer and editor based in California. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Wireless Systems Design and served as the EDA/Advanced Technology editor for Electronic Design for over 10 years. She is also a published book author and patented engineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online publications. Contact her at [email protected] with your comments or story ideas.