Enterprise container platforms, Part I: Why IT leaders are embracing the microservices revolution
What are containers and how can they save your business time and money?
I used to think of container platform services as an evolution of existing virtualization products; just a new way to provide access to infrastructure resources. But the more time I spend with these technologies, the more I see them as catalysts, quickly revolutionizing the way we consume and deliver IT services. Now I believe that microservices and containers will have a profound impact on anyone responsible for IT infrastructure and its interaction with business lines.
What are microservices?
Microservices represent a paradigm shift in the world of application building. In contrast to the traditional, monolithic approach to developing apps, microservices come from the idea that some applications are easier to build and maintain when they are broken down into smaller pieces that are separately developed and maintained. The guiding principle of these separate, smaller applications? Share nothing. Microservices are stateless, self-contained, reusable and independent of one another.
What is a container?
Microservices are packaged in containers, which provide the interface between the microservices’ logic and the necessary IT processing layer. A container defines required IT resources like CPUs, RAM and storage, as well as links to required software libraries and external connections.
Anatomy of a container platform:
- Container orchestrator: This is the container management tool, responsible for automatically scheduling the work of individual containers for applications based on microservices.
- Container engine: This is the container’s run-time platform. It provides APIs access to the underlying IT infrastructure and container-to-container communication. The container engine translates hardware commands into consistent APIs provided to the containers, which allows you to migrate workloads to cloud without changing the business application.
- Processing systems: This layer computes and stores the data developed within the microservices.
What can containers do for your business?
I’m seeing microservices and container technology used more and more often for new applications going into production. How do these technologies map to time and cost savings for your business?
- Time savings: Increase speed to market from months to weeks and reduce the time it takes to access IT resources from days to minutes.
- Cost savings: Reduce IT consumption costs by 30 to 40 percent, and reduce application total cost of ownership by 30 to 50 percent (Gartner, Answering the 10 Biggest Questions About Containers, Microservices and Docker).
Increasing speed and reducing costs is an ongoing responsibility for any IT leader, so it isn’t hard to see why microservices and containers are quickly becoming an integral part of IT strategy. Stay tuned for the next blog in this series, where I will discuss the required investment, capabilities and best practices for adopting an enterprise container platform in your business.