Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the hardware and software that powers the cloud. IT organizations adopt IaaS solutions to save money and get on-demand resources for their computing, storage, desktop, and networking needs. IaaS is also scalable and frees IT from having to make significant system upgrades on their own.
The world of IaaS is always evolving. One emerging trend is the rise of cloud containers, which promise the ability to run applications for data centers regardless of operating system. Led by companies like Docker, cloud container technology is changing how organizations use cloud. In today’s blog post, we’ll look at what cloud containers are, why businesses should pay attention, and the future of the technology.
What is container technology?
Container technology originated in 1979 with the introduction of process isolation into UNIX. Since then, companies like Google and Oracle expanded on the technology through open source projects or internal development, respectively. Dockers is the latest to develop the technology, partnering up with companies like Microsoft.
The recent popularity of containers comes as more companies adopt virtualization for their computing needs. Virtualization has long been a solution for many companies because virtual machines are easy to control and need less hardware. But as companies began running more cloud applications on their virtual machines, problems arose. Resource-heavy applications like domain controllers, mail servers, and load balancers would make virtual machines slower and more expensive to maintain.
To fight back against resource-heavy virtualization environments, companies started looking at containers. Containers differ from virtualization because they introduce greater operational efficiencies. They are scalable, portable, and can run more than one application in a virtual environment while booting up fast.
How does containerization affect business?
Containerization affects IT organizations and their end users since attention shifts from operating systems to applications. For organizations who pursue multi-cloud strategies, containers are portable and cost effective for transformation. Organizations that run many applications at once will also see efficiency and scalability gains.
Development operations teams also see benefits with container solutions. Containers ease the development cycle when moving applications from testing to staging settings. Teams can leverage a container environment to maintain application configurations and dependencies, while preventing technologies from breaking.
Where is container technology headed?
Container technology has a bright future. Industry analysts say that PaaS technologies might be disrupted since containers are a platform on their own. As a result, the cloud stack (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) may see consolidation with the merging of software and infrastructure.
On the other side of the conversation, there is a debate over the use of virtualization and containers. While some believe containers will replace virtual machines, it’s still too early to tell. Virtualization is still weak on running resource-heavy applications, while containers lack security controls. Others believe the two are complementary and serve each other’s needs since containers run within virtualized operating systems.
Finally, container technology is still scaling. Companies like Microsoft, HP, and IBM are on board, building their own technologies and partnering up with startups like Docker. Once they create the right solutions, channel partners can begin at looking at ways to serve their customers.