Attention on container technology is everywhere. It is not a new technology, but with the rise of Docker, an open platform for developers and sys admins to build, ship, and run distributed applications in “containers”, we are seeing a tremendous focus on it.
Containers offer a huge advantage to service providers because they are a way to encapsulate services that share the same physical/virtual host, but do it in isolation from one another. Containers also create an abstraction layer for disk, network and compute which removes all previous knowledge of where the container was hosted. Finally, depending on the technology underneath, containers offer a minimal overhead in performance and resource utilization.
We see two main container technologies in the market:
- Parallels: Is one of the biggest players on the market. They have been using this technology over 10 years and a lot of the cloud services deployed by them use this technology.
- Docker: Currently everyone is talking about them because the company is focusing container technology on the content agnosticism and the agility of them. The project is still maturing and has made great strides.
However, that is all changing. There is a lot of hype around container technology (as InfoWorld put it, it is the flavor of the month in the cloud). You have CTO Werner Vogels at Amazon.com’s re:Invent conference announcement of Amazon EC2 Container Service, which he said would squeeze the complexity out of scheduling and maintaining Docker containers. You also have Google’s Kubernetes, created to manage Docker containers, and has been the poster child for Docker and other containers. But what is with all the hype?
Containers are coming into their own as the densest and most elastic virtualization technology for supporting cloud environments – good for cloud providers. Our friends at Parallels asked why containers are important now in a whitepaper asking “What is all the Container Hype?” For service providers and hosters, the primary benefit is density. Containers can help package and deploy web applications at scale, and using container features in web applications and platforms can solve hard problems like multi-tenancy, so in that sense they’ve proven themselves to be a vital technology for addressing today’s cloud delivery problems.
From Flexiant we have always been keen to offer innovative solutions and for that reason we have developed our first open source initiative called Krane. Krane is an open-source platform that enables developers and sys admins to manage Docker instances across multiple clouds. Krane is built on the Docker code base, so supports the existing Docker command-line in a multi-cloud environment. This allows Docker users to use their existing workflows to launch apps transparently in multiple clouds, saving time and further reducing the friction of moving workloads between development, QA and production.
If you are interested to see what Flexiant is doing with container technology – see our relationship with Parallels and also what we are doing with Krane.