On the wide horizon of application development, containers are emerging as part of cloud computing. This underlines the significance of portability in this domain. Thanks to technology that enables abstracting applications into virtual containers for enabling their movement between different clouds.
Containers also offer unique advantage of architecture since one can access standard process of dividing applications into containers or distributed objects. This facilitates their placement on physical as well as virtual machines either in the cloud or elsewhere. One can now design fault tolerant systems, thanks to flexibility of workload management.
This is further supported by use of technology of orchestration, scheduling and clustering to enable developers create scalable and resilient applications inside containers.
A clearly defined container management layer allows multiple functionalities as mentioned above. These management layers form the basis of container applications.
Basic aspects of container technology
Container technology is nothing to fear about because these have been in use for a long time. These have helped componentization of entire systems by their abstraction from physical platform. This has been facilitating their movement between platforms as well as clouds.
In terms of popularity, Docker remains as the most sought after standard that facilitates automation of application deployment within containers. Docker has been leading container movement followed by CoreOS that has its own container standard to its credit known as Rocket.
Key attributes of containers
• Mitigation of complexity- Since containers are independent of application infrastructures you need not have to grapple with a complex interfaces for managing platform services.
• Enhanced portability- By replacement of manual scripting with automation, containers improve portability.
• Improve greater governance and security- Since governance and security are associated with platform and not application, there is a significant reduction of complexities since these parameters are positioned outside containers.
• Boost distributed capabilities of computing - Since it is possible to divide application into multiple domains within containers, there is an enhancement of distributed computing capabilities. This helps their execution on multiple cloud platforms and also enables choosing the most optimum platform based on economy and performance.
• Enable policy based optimization through automation layer- An automation layer enables identification of the most appropriate platform for execution and subsequent auto-migration to the platform. Simultaneously, it also deals with required changes in configuration.
Container market perspective
Thanks the proliferation of startups that are competing with legacy vendors, the container market is a exploding with a wide spectrum of choices for developers of packaged applications. Although, the market for containers is pretty modest with $762 million worth of the market, it is certainly poised for a big leap into future with a projected compound annual growth rate of forty percent to reach the volume of $2.6 billion within a matter of four years.
In terms of its commercial aspects, the market of containers is gaining a robust foothold. This can be attributed to the aggression exhibited by vendors to claim enterprise gaps in the domain of application container use including data services, orchestration, networking, management, and security. The growth of commercial container use is bound to accelerate further as the market expands with shifting of containerized applications into production area by crossing the stages of development, testing, and evaluations.
Major vendors are touching container associated revenues of around $20 million per annum. The principal players are Engine Yard, Docker, and Red Hat. There are more than 125 players in the marketplace of containers that have adopted containers as a strategy initiative, although it may not be associated with core of their businesses. The remarkable spread of vendors through a large spectrum of components is enough to conclude that the container market is due for consolidation.
Future prospects of containers
There is a general belief that new ways to build systems will continue to be same even in future. This may not always be the case except for container technology that promises to deliver useful and standard facilitator offering a roadmap to application architecture that supports service orientation as well as managed distribution.
One of the most striking advantages of containers is their seamless portability. This particular attribute seems to be used as the Unique Selling Proposition by providers of container technology. In fact there is a long to go before we are able to appreciate the true perspective and value of container technology.
If we extrapolate the existing growth trends of container adoption by developers, the day is not far when these will be ubiquitous in almost all IT shops across enterprises. Thanks to the versatility and feasibility of this technology we will be able to utilize and explore the benefits for a long time.
Significance of containers will continue to grow in future as the demand for testing and developing newer applications continue to multiply. These will also be supporting agility of the enterprises for several years to come.