Prepare for Technology Containers in your Data Center
Are you considering deploying applications in Containers? According to a recent Gartner Inc. top 10 technology trends predictions, the use of containers, showed up as the #3 top trend in Data Centers.
The buzz around containers is being driven by cloud computing’s demand to simplify deployment, streamline time to production, and automatically deliver the resources an application needs. Containers only require software that’s needed to run a specific program and are lightweight compared to virtual machines which need an operating system. Containers can last weeks, days, or seconds.
The key benefits that containers offer developers are:
Increased portability of workloads, allowing deployment of applications through the development life cycle and across different server environments
Flexibility in deployment – bare metal versus VM-based and public cloud versus private cloud delivering infrastructure independence.
Microservices based architecture offers greater agility and lower costs, allowing applications to be built as needed and optimized for change and reuse in real-time.
What Do Containers Require From the Network?
As enterprises are considering rollout of containers in production, they are looking for a proven and reliable networking infrastructure. For production-ready container deployment, we believe the following five characteristics will be critical for your network to drive maximum benefit from container adoption.
If you want more details on the five characteristics, read our past blog post.
Containers in the Data Center
Enterprises and service providers have been trying to gain operational efficiency and speed in the data center for several years by moving to the cloud, building new apps, and deploying virtual workloads.
One use case for containers that we are seeing, is tied to Devops, and agile development and deployment of applications, where containers provide developers a way to hand off applications from coding to test, and perform quality assurance. Containers also allow developers to deploy a fully tested system in a different data center from where it was developed with a high degree of probability that it will run without needing configuration changes. With containers, developers can troubleshoot an application without disrupting other apps, and they can modify any component of an app in its container. If a new configuration doesn’t work, a container management system can roll back changes to a version that’s known to work. Containers provide application developers instant application portability.
What is worth noting is that this is not just limited to webscale companies – enterprises are increasing exploring containers in order to get the benefits of agility and application portability. While the security and operational/management aspects of containers are still evolving, enterprises are deploying containers within VMs. In this way, they can get the security/isolation benefits of VMs and leverage the VM operational/management models which are very mature; and at the same time, get the portability and agility offered by containers. This exploration, of course, expands to the domain of networking where they need scaleout, multi-tenant architectures to fully realize the benefits of deploying applications in containers.
The transformation in data center networking started with the concept of fabric. Brocade provides a choice of data center fabric architectures today; VCS and IP Fabrics. Both architecture options are available on the VDX data center switching platform, and deliver L2, L3, controller-based, and controller-less overlay options. Brocade fabrics dramatically reduce deployment times and risk of error through automation, including support for popular tools and APIs such as Python, Puppet, REST, and Netconf.
Brocade’s automation capabilities go beyond provisioning and maintaining the network in isolation, providing integrations across IT domain processes and workflows.
Brocade also offers software networking solutions including a virtual router and an application delivery controller (vADC) to ensure secure hybrid cloud connectivity.
Brocade Workflow Composer offers event based automation and remediation through workflows which can span across domains (such as container/VM management systems and networks, while providing integration with popular monitoring and operational tools)
Many vendors are jumping into containers from Red Hat to IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services. Docker is the most prevalent container technology today but we also see VMware ramping up their support.
We are interested to hear about how you are using containers. Leave a comment below and let us know.