Application containers have shaken the cloud computing world providing a totally new concept of applications packaging based on the old container virtualization technology. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments almost identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and a graceful solution for decomposition of monolithic legacy applications. They simplify hybrid cloud implementations and bring workloads mobility to the next level. Many cloud platforms have integrated them into the core cloud services during the last year.
In this article we’d like to describe the reasons why containers are advantageous for businesses, who and why should implement it to benefit, and what are the key points for the companies.
Hosting Service Providers - Increase ROI
One of the most obvious use cases is related to hosting service providers. Many of them actually realized the benefits of containers many years ago and are using this technology to increase ROI.
Containers virtualization allows hosting service providers to get much better density and put many more applications on the same hardware, compared to virtual machines, without performance degradation for end customers. Because containers are much slimmer compared to VMs and more elastic, unused resources can be shared across other applications.
Properly configured containers can work on top of bare metal hardware without compromising security. It gives the best return on investment and delivers on the original promise of containers, related to high density and utilization.
Also the hibernation of inactive containers provides the ability to handle a large number of trial users, without having to spend much on hardware. Optimal use of resources is achieved by suspending non-active containers and returning released resources back to the cluster. If applications are demanded again, the platform returns them to a running state in just a few seconds.
In addition, smart cloud hosters can take advantage of the fair granular pricing provided to the end users as the competitive advantage. As a result customers pay for what they use only - not for the limits.
ISVs – Simplify Installation
Many ISVs are selling licenses for their software. They provide the users with ability to download and install application in order to try it out and understand how powerful the solution is. However, this workflow has some challenges. Customers are required to go through many unnecessary steps such as downloading the software, finding the right hosting provider, uploading and installing the software and finally the most exhaustive step, configuration. All these issues are becoming a barrier to entry for the potential customers.
With containers, ISVs can provide a revolutionary approach for their customers and improve the sales funnel and satisfaction of end users. Customers can click on the widget and select their cloud hosting platform and a multi-container preconfigured environment to be created within minutes. Such installation widgets can be placed at the sites, in marketplaces or just sent via mailing campaign.
This solution is an ideal cooperation for ISVs and cloud providers, as some of the least can offer the required free resources for trial users because of the hibernation of inactive apps.
SaaS – Reduce TCO
For companies that use a SaaS model, containers can provide the ability to save money on infrastructure. They can put many more users on the same hardware. This helps to get a larger margin or at least the ability to reduce pricing for end customers and to make the product more competitive.
Containers provide the ability to implement a multi-tenancy approach, which is an excellent bonus for many SaaS providers. With application level container isolation multiple environments can be run in a single server, providing all the benefits of multi-tenancy without any risk.
To allow scalability VMs are almost always over-provisioned significantly impacting the ROI. Containers’ auto-scaling features mean that over-provisioning can be minimized or even eliminated since application dynamically scales up and down, out and in using only the resources it needs.
Systems Integrators and Consulting Companies - Professional Services for Enterprises
Containers is an old technology in general, but it’s a new trend in the enterprise market. It helps enterprises to improve development and operation (DevOps) processes drastically. It helps them to utilize their existing infrastructure in the best possible way and to spend less money when they scales their business.
However, containers’ orchestration is not a trivial task. It’s hard to build from scratch, and it’s not easy to configure and integrate into an existing open source solution. So, enterprises need some help there. Systems integrators and consulting companies can provide their expertise to enterprises and help them to maximize the benefits of using containers.
Businesses want to be sure that their application is highly available and secured, and the resources are consumed efficiently. They don’t need to bother about how it is gained, they just need the result. And this is what the systems integrators and consulting companies can easily offer enterprises by containerizing their apps on top of highly performing platform.
Containers is a great tool in the skillful hands. And the current IT market provides rather wide choice of solutions for containers orchestration. So this is a high time to give it a try. Feel free to share your opinion about the modern world of containerization and your best practices in this field.