As containers become more popular, the need for orchestration becomes more acute.
Container orchestration is basically an automated way to manage, schedule, security network, and monitor containers.
Small container environments can perhaps get away without orchestration. But beyond a particular size, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage containers effectively. Orchestration software is required.
Here are some of the top trends in container orchestration:
The Rise of Kubernetes
Kubernetes has largely filled the void when it comes to container orchestration. In essence, it is an open-source platform for container orchestration. Kubernetes introduces the automation, deployment, management and scaling capabilities that containerized applications demand.
The rather complex term Kubernetes derives from a Greek word for pilot or helmsman. It’s an appropriate name. Kubernetes guides and orchestrates containerized environments. While containers were useful on their own, Kubernetes has taken them to another level, one that may even surpass virtual machines (VMs) and become the de facto standard for building cloud infrastructure and application components.
Kubernetes has also opened the door to broader adoption of platform as a service (PaaS) offerings from cloud providers. PaaS enables developers to pick and choose development packages that simplify the app development process.
Kubernetes, then, is a smart way to automate Linux container operations. It simplifies the efficient management of clusters running Linux containers across public, private, or hybrid clouds. In addition, it supports the microservices that let developers develop applications composed of loosely coupled and independently deployable services that can be reused in later development efforts.
Hyperscalers Lead the Orchestration Revolution
Google was an early innovator of container orchestration. Along with other major cloud providers, it continues to push the envelope to provide even greater layers of orchestration.
According to Omdia Research, interest in container as a service capability is being driven by strong interest from the latest wave of cloud service adopters. Instead of them fiddling around with the creation of their own clouds, they prefer to have the cloud service provider engineer their cloud infrastructure. This saves them enormous amounts of time in having to build the underlying cloud infrastructure or in recruiting, training, and retaining in-house skills.
These providers, then, keep coming up with newer and better services that further automate the orchestration of software containers and OpenStack orchestrated clouds. Omdia gives the example of an enterprise being able to access a Docker registry with many software functions packaged as a container and orchestrated into a working application using Kubernetes.
Kubernetes and Storage
Kubernetes, too, is opening up new possibilities in storage. Its fundamental container orchestration capabilities are freeing up storage from traditionally rigid architectures.
“Kubernetes with persistent storage and edge computing is changing the way IT architects think about storage and virtualization,” said Morgan Littlewood, Senior Vice President of Product Management at iXsystems.
“Kubernetes and the Container Storage Interface (CSI) are becoming the way that storage is generally controlled for significant simplification and integration of applications and storage.”
Hybrid Cloud and Containers
Orchestration capabilities have made it easier for organizations to establish hybrid cloud architectures.
Eric Herzog, CMO of Infinidat, believes that the shift to the hybrid cloud and container technologies will proliferate at an accelerated pace.
“With many workloads moving to a hybrid cloud configuration, it will be imperative to have the infrastructure that supports core, edge, and cloud, as well as the virtualization layer and the container layer across a hybrid environment,” said Herzog.
“This will enhance the ability of enterprises to deliver the right end-user services with the right SLAs for their business.”
Serverless computing enables developers to build and run code without managing servers and without paying for cloud infrastructure that otherwise would sit idle if they managed it in-house. As a result, developers can focus on writing front-end application code and creating business logic. How does it work? Developers take advantage of containers managed by cloud service providers who handle provisioning, infrastructure, and scaling up and down on demand, as well as all routine infrastructure management and maintenance. This includes updates and patches, security, capacity planning, and system monitoring.
Red Hat, for example, provides serverless capabilities through Red Hat OpenShift Serverless, offered as part of an OpenShift subscription. It provides one-click installation on OpenShift via an Operator. Apart from the command line interface (CLI) experience, it provides the serverless develop and deploy experience through the DevConsole of OpenShift.
Naina Singh, principal product manager at Red Hat, said its serverless platform can be characterized as containers made easy.
“It offers a simplified developer experience to deploy applications/code on serverless containers abstracting infrastructure & focusing on what matters,” said Singh.
“Portable serverless can run anywhere OpenShift runs, on-premises or on any public cloud.”