Container impact on the cloud. What’s next?

500px Photo ID: 107474175 - Stack of Cargo Containers at the docks

Containers have become one of many viable solutions to running software with high reliability when migrated from one cloud environment to another. This can be from a physical machine to a virtual machine in a private or public cloud, or from a staging environment into production.

Companies like Google, IBM, VMware and Microsoft are all investing in container offerings and are becoming more popular each day.  This is largely due to the fact that containers let you pack more computing workloads onto a single server, resulting in less hardware purchase, lower facilities cost for your datacenter and reduction in experts required to manage that equipment. Meanwhile, Linux containers give each application its own isolated environment in which to run whereas multiple containers leverage the host servers’ operating system. Since you don’t have to boot up an operating system, you can create containers in seconds versus minutes like virtual machines.

So what should I expect to see for the foreseeable future?  

Will containers eventually replace server virtualization?

The most reasonable answer nowadays is “No”, as virtual machines still offer better security than containers do. However, it’s not a “one-or-the-other” approach either, but management tools are evolving to orchestrate large numbers of containers in production environments.  At the same time, many of these offerings are not as mature and scalable for enterprise-wide implementations as traditional datacenter solutions are for managing workloads.  Such platforms include VMware vCenter or Microsoft System Center which are founded in managing virtualized infrastructure.

Containers can be run in lightweight virtual machines to increase isolation and increase security, while simplifying infrastructure management for compute, networking and storage.  Therefore, over time, it is likely that virtualization and containers will be more widely adopted as complementary technologies. 

We’re excited to see where this goes and to be part of the ongoing evolution.

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