Containers are a crucial entity in a cloud-based architecture. They promote portability, scalability, and are easy to deploy. Google alone deploys 2 billion containers in a week for its global services like Gmail and YouTube. Many small and big enterprises are seen deploying containers in their cloud infrastructure in order to solve a business problem at hand. It is known to have given a higher Return On Investment(ROI) to its customers and reduce their operating costs drastically.
Cloud-native development is known to facilitate and utilize the cloud services to their maximum potential. It enables effective designing, building and running of applications on the cloud. Cloud-native devises a protocol which ensures continuous integration in container engines as well as orchestrators. Applications like CoreDNS, Prometheus, Kubernetes, and fluentD are some popular and well-funded instances of cloud-native development.
The Docker Approach
The most preferred approach to containers in the cloud industry where companies use it to deploy their services is the Docker program. Docker is an open-source software engagement platform which packs applications inside “containers” promoting their development, deployment, and shipment. Various container approaches were widespread in the market until Docker came and standardized its modern take on containers for the cloud and made it popular among the business masses. Its adoption is low cost, easy, and enables access to a wide range of services.
Let's discuss its three main takeaways in brief.
It provides you with the choice of starting with any operating system as your environment to build and upscale your applications. It can offer any OS across any platform, whether your business needs an on-prem approach or has to run across multiple clouds for seamless integration.
Docker provides the ability to process applications across any type of architecture. It can align with the existing operations involved in the company’s enlightenment and welfare. It encourages the easy adoption of new technology when a business needs to upgrade its current infrastructure.
Docker provides a prime security protocol at every level of the application delivery process without any extra cost. This ensures that applications are secured from external threats and attacks which can hamper performance and affect the overall delivery of the process in the cloud.
Now that we have seen the containers and their features, let's analyze the probabilities or chances of running these containers in a cloud-native development environment.
Why do we need to deploy containers in a cloud-native environment?
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation(CNCF) was established to counter the services and programs offered by cloud-native applications. Cloud native is an approach that was developed to run applications that utilize the benefits of the cloud computing delivery model. It is all about how applications are designed, deployed, and operated in a business-focused environment. Let’s discuss some of the factors why businesses would rely on cloud-native computing and what containers do in this scenario.
Containers use a standard collection format which wraps an application and all its features in a single package and remains consistent across all operating platforms. Docker uses this technique to stitch the applications that it launches with the help of containers. This was observed by enterprises and companies in the cloud computing industry. They adopted this method to develop new tools for building, scanning and handling containerized applications.
Vast and Reliable than Virtual Machine
A Virtual Computer or virtual machine (VM) is an interpretation of a standard computer system. It can run many operating systems in one hardware without being dependent on multiple systems. But when companies need to select between virtual computer and containers, the choice will vary from task to task and company to company. VMs are generally heavyweight and more resource-hogging compared to containers. Containers have been fed with all the business requirements which make it ready to perform and deliver. Containers support OS-level virtualization while VMs run on hardware-level. Containers can operate in less memory space as opposed to virtual machines which require more memory to run multiple operating systems. Overall, in some places, virtual machines are needed to run and take care of the operations while containers are preferred by most companies to deploy their applications on the cloud.
A container maintains a container engine which provides a standard interface for controlling the containers. It gives authority to third-party services to start and stop containerized applications and assign or change the resources that are allotted to these services. The control centers, which are the common interface for any application running in an operating system make it easy and imperative for the dynamic environment.
Do we really need containers every time we deploy a cloud-native environment?
Time to address the elephant in the room. Docker and Kubernates have made a name for themselves in the cloud-native market. Whether it's deploying applications in the cloud or dealing with cloud-native services, these containers have helped in managing them. But what if these containers are just limited in functionality and cannot fulfill all the business demands in hand? Are they overrated? Let's find out!
Containers need a stable platform to run and manage other services. But its support is only limited to Linux OS as it was evolved from a Linux environment. A stable release for Windows is still under the development and hopes to see the light of the day soon.
Containers are lightweight and reliable, also they are vulnerable to external intimidations. Containers use an approach in which the Linux container apps relate to their host machine. This creates critical vulnerabilities in the system. Additionally, the rise in demand of a growing ecosystem of container template provides hackers with opportunities for spreading malware across systems.
At times, companies are unaware of this technology and tend to believe that deploying containers in the cloud is a walk in the park. Specially trained professionals are required in order to assemble, build and deploy applications using containers for business-related propositions.
One Container at a Time
A single virtual machine environment has the capability of running multiple applications at once. On the contrary, a single container can run only a single application at a time. This indirectly leads to the conclusion that multiple containers will lead to a greater volume of individual units that are needed to be monitored and controlled.
There are tons of reasons why the hype around containers in the industry is riveting and engaging. They are engaged in an environment where automated deployment plays a crucial role which in turn make them a good packaged tool. They have their Application Programming Interfaces(APIs) which enable them to interact with the applications in an effective way. They have their unique tactics to deal with applications which are often preferable over other options in this engaging environment.
So are containers really needed in a cloud-native development scenario? It all boils down to the type of business requirements and specifications that the companies have laid down. Virtual machines were previously deployed by companies to tackle their business needs. They did not want to look beyond their existing technology unless required. Some enterprises prefer containers over VM, especially if they are looking to run a large number of instances of the same operating system at once. This might save valuable time, money and resources for them.
Enterprises can look to deploy both simultaneously at once. The versatility of virtual machines combined with the flexibility of containers can provide companies looking to run complex applications a platform with greater functionality and scalability.Containers and the cloud go hand in hand in the cloud-native world. So does having the right partner by your side to ensure a smooth deployment. Contact Architech today and have our cloud specialists work with you to develop your applications.