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Red Hat 2021 Predictions: Looking ahead - container, microservices and serverless perspectives

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Looking ahead - container, microservices and serverless perspectives

By Eric D. Schabell, Red Hat

Organizations are continuing to embrace cloud-native development in hybrid cloud environments, and in doing so, are also looking ahead and asking, what's next for containers, microservices and serverless? While these three technologies may seem like they are worn out buzzwords, the truth is, there is more work to be done with all, especially when it comes to operating in the hybrid cloud. Check out our thoughts on what 2021 will bring in terms of containers, microservices and serverless in the hybrid cloud environment.

Hybrid cloud, cloud-native environments and containers

First, let's define what the hybrid cloud is. Red Hat defines it as "an IT architecture that incorporates some degree of workload portability, orchestration, and management across 2 or more environments." These environments can include at least one private and one public cloud, two or more private or two or more public clouds, or a bare-metal or virtual environment connected to at least one cloud, public or private.

Cloud-native refers to building apps and services specifically designed for a cloud environment. Therefore, when you have a hybrid cloud approach, you also have a cloud-native approach. It's that simple!

When you use multiple clouds, it usually means there is going to be more interest in having an agnostic experience for delivering container-based workloads. This means that containers need to be able to run in any environment, programming language, operating system, etc. Moving forward, we anticipate more interest in  container platforms that adhere to standards like Open Container Initiative (OCI), whose main goal is to provide workload portability across many cloud providers through Runtime Specification and Image Specification standards. We anticipate these standards to become more widespread, as more organizations recognize the value of container portability, giving yourself flexibility when choosing a cloud provider, and the benefits of being able to connect to multiple environments.

Integrating microservices and containers with serverless and managed services

Like containers, microservices are widely used in cloud-native integration solutions. However, some common pitfalls of microservices include organizational readiness to delivery on cloud-native microservices, struggling with how to manage microservices across their lifecycle, and realizing that some monolithic traditional applications can become agile enough to remain functional in existing architectures. In solving these pitfalls, organizations have become ready to move forward with some of the newer trends in this space. Therefore, we anticipate more organizations who currently have a microservices strategy in place to embrace serverless offerings and make more use of external managed services. With serverless, resources are not "always on," instead, they are spun up and used only when the specific need arises, yielding cost and resource savings. Especially with recent updates to offerings like OpenShift Serverless, we anticipate that the barrier to entry for serverless will continue to decrease, so developers who may not be as familiar with it are able to more easily and quickly get started.

Additionally, we expect more organizations to make use of external managed services. This means once apps are built and scaled, an external vendor, manges everything else. In other words, with a managed services approach, the day-to-day of managing container deployments is moved to a third party. This can help organizations to simplify their container deployment, while reducing operational overhead and complexities. Managed services can make container deployment more accessible, because it streamlines the management process and allows developers to focus on spinning up and deploying apps. With more organizations embracing both containers and serverless, we foresee more and more teams embracing a managed services approach for maximum productivity and peace of mind.

We anticipate that these hot technologies - containers, microservices and serverless - will continue to evolve over the next year and beyond, as more organizations embrace them and as developers better understand the benefits provided by them. Here's to looking forward and embracing cloud-native development as you continue to grow your hybrid cloud architecture.


About the Author

Eric Schabell 

Eric is Red Hat's global technology evangelist and portfolio architect director. He's renowned in the development community as a speaker, lecturer, author and baseball expert. In his current role he's central to defining, managing and bringing to market integrated cloud solutions showcasing the full power of Red Hat's comprehensive portfolio of established and emergent technologies. It allows him to share his deep expertise of Red Hat's open source technologies and cloud computing.

Published Thursday, November 26, 2020 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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