Let’s talk about virtualization and the use of virtual machines in the cloud. Generally, all enterprises today use the cloud (public/private), with their compute layer represented by instances running virtual machines with scalability and load-balancing capabilities.
So far, so good right?
Well, there are some challenges with virtualization approaches, namely:
- Environment consistency – Deployment of applications/packages to VMs
- OS dependency – Deployed apps are able to run on compatible OS only
- Isolation level – Unable to provide instant Sandbox above OS level
- Compute consumption granularity – Unable to deploy multiple replicated apps and load balance on application layer only within the single machine (not OS layer)
- Patching of images in production-grade environments – blue-green and canary deployments are not flexible on a cluster level and are hard to manage across multiple regions
So how can we solve these virtualization issues?
Containerization is the natural evolution of virtualization. Whereas virtualization has been vital in distributing multiple operating systems on a single server, containerization is much more granular and flexible. It focuses on breaking down the operating system into chunks that can be used more efficiently. In addition, containers provide a way to package applications in a portable, software-defined environment.
The market for application containerization, which helps enterprises modernize legacy applications and create new, scalable cloud-native applications, is both significant and accelerating. 451 Research says the application container market will grow to $3 billion by 2022. According to Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst Arun Chandrasekaran, “by 2022, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, which is a significant increase from fewer than 30% today.”
As we see, the use of containerization is widespread across industries and is set for rapid acceleration. Most enterprises are already developing cloud-native applications based on containerization or are in the process of decomposing their existing monoliths into containers to gain benefits provided by containerization architecture. But which benefits are the most valuable and significant?
Here is the list of the top nine benefits that help in driving containerization adoption:
- Reduced cost of infrastructure operations – There are usually many containers running on a single VM
- Solution scalability on the microservice/function level – No need to scale instances/VMs
- Better security – Full application isolation makes it possible to set each application’s major process in separate containers
- Instant replication of microservices via replicas and deployment sets
- Flexible routing between services that are natively supported by containerization platforms
- Deploy anywhere – Including hybrid environments
- Full portability between clouds and on-premises locations
- OS independent – They don’t need an OS to run; only the container engine is deployed on a host OS
- Fast deployment with hydration of new containers and termination of old containers with the same environments
- Lightweight – Without an OS, containers are lightweight and less demanding on server resource usage than images
- Faster “ready to compute” – Containers are ready to start and stop within seconds in comparison to VMs.
Through this blog you have gained some insights into the many reasons why enterprises are switching to container-based stacks. You have also learned about all the major driving factors for their existing and new transformations, leading towards serverless architecture and solutions build on microservices.