Canonical insists containers are 'step change' for virtualisation era

Are developers making the most of containers, or are they [just] treating them like virtual machines?

Could the dawn of cloud-native software application development herald a new era when programmers focus on doing more with containers by virtue of their own work with cloud computing environments, tools and platforms?

This is a contributed post written by Marco Ceppi is his role on the Ubuntu product & strategy team at Canonical.

Ceppi writes as follows…

While it is indisputable that containers are one of the hottest tickets in open source technology, (with 451 Research projecting more than 250% growth in the market from 2016 to 2020), the question still remains – are developers making the most of them?

It’s easy to see why it’s such an enticing option.

Container technology can combine speed and density with the security of traditional virtual machines and requires far smaller footprint operating systems in order to run.

Containers offer a new form of virtualisation, providing almost equivalent levels of resource isolation as a traditional hypervisor.

Additionally, containers present lower overheads both in terms of lower memory footprint and higher efficiency. This means that higher density can be achieved – simply put, you can get more for the same hardware.

The age of LXD

The telco industry has been at the cutting edge of adopting LXD machine container technology. Part of the catalyst for this trend has been the NFV (network function virtualisation) revolution – the concept of telcos shifting what were traditionally welded-shut proprietary hardware appliances into virtual machines.

NOTE: LXD is a next generation system container manager — it offers a user experience similar to virtual machines but using Linux containers instead.

In this sense, it is unarguable that developers are treating containers like virtual machines, even though containers used in their traditional sense offer both higher performance to the end user, as well as operational efficiency for the cloud administrator.

Unfortunately, many CIOs are still unsure if containers are the best option of technology for them, due to wider market misconceptions. For example, some believe that by using one particular type of container, they are going to tie themselves into a specific vendor.

Another common misconception that might present an obstacle to enterprise or developer adoption is security. There are, however, controls in place that enable us to say, with confidence, that an LXD machine container is more than secure enough to satisfy the CIO that is, understandably, more security-conscious than ever.

Step-change

Container technology has brought about a step-change in virtualisation technology.

Organisations implementing containers see considerable opportunities to improve agility, efficiency, speed and manageability within their IT environments. Containers promise to improve data centre efficiency and performance without having to make additional investments in hardware or infrastructure.

For Linux-on-Linux workloads, containers can offer a faster, more efficient and cost-effective way to create an infrastructure. Companies using these technologies can take advantage of brand-new code, written using modern advances in technology and development discipline.

We see a lot of developers and small to medium organisations adopting container technology as they emerge from scratch, but established enterprises of all sizes and in all industries also need to channel this spirit of disruption to keep up with the more agile and scalable new kids on the block.

You can follow Marco Ceppi on Twitter here.

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