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Virtualization and Beyond: Brace yourself—containers are coming

Virtualization and Beyond

Welcome to Virtualization and Beyond

Containers are coming 

Brace yourself - containers are coming

Written by Steven Hunt, Sr. Product Manager and Strategist, SolarWinds

Containers. Honestly, they're already here and, not surprisingly, in production in many places. I previously wrote about containers and their impact on virtualization after attending VMworld 2015. Now, after attending VMworld 2016, I can safely say container adoption is in full swing. I almost expected someone to pull a Steve Ballmer, except instead shouting "containers!" over and over again instead of "developers!"

With that said, the question you may be asking yourself is, "How are containers being leveraged in production environments?"

It's a great question. After all, just like when virtualization first entered the fray, containers have had a dev and test environment tag placed on them.

Real world use case example

One thing I was delighted to see at VMworld this year was use case presentations on the production implementation of containers. On showcase were very large customers that have dove head first into the container Kool-Aid, and they have been successful! Many provided a high level breakdown on how they are using containers in their existing virtualized environments, and how they are delivering business critical applications effectively.

One customer, in particular, highlighted the successful implementation of a private cloud environment for the self-service consumption of containers on virtual machines. This particular use case was for the development of their business critical web applications (roughly 90 percent of their revenue generation). They also highlighted their "destroy and deploy" methodology, which essentially allows them to develop their application containers and when ready for production, they "destroy" the old production containers and promote the new ones to production. This is obviously an oversimplification, but the concept in practice is not overly complicated.

Containers and virtualization

The real question at VMworld, and around the industry, was and is how people will leverage both containers and virtualization together. Of course, last year there were the early debates of containers versus virtualization, but many have quickly realized it's not a competition at all. In fact, it's a cooperation between the two technologies that will allow IT operations to move to the next level of delivering value to business.

While it was unveiled at VMworld 2015, Photon OS and vSphere Integrated Containers were not validated in the wild until this year. The use case example I mentioned above also highlighted how as part of their phased approach, vSphere Integrated Containers will play an integral role in the rapid and ongoing delivery of containers for their business critical applications.

Photon OS and vSphere Integrated Containers are different solutions for running containers, but they do have one thing in common: they are both technologies that allow organizations to deploy containers in their existing VMware virtualized environment. And, in turn, they allow companies to leverage existing knowledge and skillsets to achieve their goal of container adoption.

What to do now?

If you're like so many of the people I spoke with at VMworld and have decided that containers are the way to go, or maybe you have even already began your container adoption journey, you need to keep a few things in mind:

1.      Figure out your long term goal ASAP.

2.      Determine how you are going to develop, deploy and maintain your containerized applications.

3.      Make sure you have all of the right tools and solutions in place to handle the lifecycle of your newly evolved applications.

In essence, remember that the platform for deploying and running containers is just one part of the overall puzzle. In addition to it, marking off the items on this list will help you ensure container success.

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Read more articles from the Virtualization and Beyond Series.

About the Author

Steven has been involved in the IT industry for more than 10 years, focusing on server-based computing, desktop virtualization, end user computing and server virtualization solutions for SMB to enterprise environments. Currently, he is responsible for product strategy for server and application monitoring and virtualization management at SolarWinds.

Published Thursday, September 22, 2016 7:01 AM by David Marshall
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