The Cloud Adoption Journey: Modern Containers
By Kazim Somji, CTO
June 23, 2021
My last article highlighted some of my ideas about how different organizations start out on a cloud adoption journey or continue to develop their environment further. That article focused on hybrid and multi-cloud solutions and here, I’d like to look at an alternative adoption journey – modern cloud containers.
Containers make it possible to move your applications reliably from one environment to another. This could be a developer’s test environment, or a production environment. In particular, containers can make it simpler to build a solution that uses both a private cloud (on-premises infrastructure) and public cloud.
The cloud container consists of everything your application needs – it supports a complete runtime environment. You need the application, but also the libraries it uses, other configuration files and any other dependencies. Creating a container allows you to abstract the difficulties you might find when different environments are not the same.
Virtualization has been around for a long time, but there is an important difference with containers. With virtual machines the entire operating system is also packaged up with each application. A server running different containerized applications will only run a single operating system – each container shares the operation system kernel with the others. Therefore, a container might be a few megabytes in size, but virtual machines will be several gigabytes each. This can be an important distinction when planning how many servers you need for your applications as many more containers can be managed by a single server.
Containers can be a useful strategy for the integration of legacy systems with your new architecture and applications. They abstract away all dependencies, except for the operating system.
Transformation to a strategy that uses modern containers requires a complete review of your digital real estate before starting. You will need to gather data on your digital inventory, focusing on the apps in use and all their dependencies. This is also a good opportunity to rationalize your IT. You need to know where all your digital assets exist, so why not take this opportunity to simplify the design?
Group data and applications by the different workloads and you can then plan how each workload may be hosted, or how you need to reconsider the architecture of your digital real estate.
In the past, I have written about the steps organizations will take on their cloud transformation strategy. Containerization is not an entirely separate strategy for cloud adoption, it just adds these extra tasks so workloads can be packed into containers, but whichever broad adoption strategy is deployed you may wish to use containers to help bring your digital real estate together.
Containerization can at times help you reduce costs by rearchitecting your existing applications to containers, then building microservice applications to deliver value faster. You can continue to develop and update containerized applications and you can manage many containers at scale.
If you are planning a cloud transformation strategy but are concerned about your existing digital real estate and apps then containers are a smart way to accelerate your move to the cloud and can also improve security and make development easier.
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