Containers in the enterprise are slowly making waves
For many years CIOs have pushed the notion that I.T has a direct link to revenue generated by the business. After lots of conversations over the last few years I feel we have now crossed the chasm and it is mainstream understanding that the right investments in I.T will drive an increase in business performance.
Yet while the CIO’s voice is more likely to be heard by the heads of business. It simply is not feasible for most established businesses to start afresh with an entirely new, cloud-native software architecture. Many businesses are still held back by old and inflexible architectures, some of which are decades old, which no longer accurately reflect business operations and are wholly unsuitable for modern agile working practices and are definitely not driving revenue growth.
Moving from legacy I.T practices to modern agile architecture has been a slow and difficult process for some organisations however more businesses are looking into the world of containerisation. In a recent Gartner post Michael Warrilow, research vice-president at Gartner, said: “Understanding of ‘cloud-native’ varies, but it has significant potential benefits over traditional, monolithic application design, such as scalability, elasticity and agility. It is also strongly associated with the use of containers.”
However, many organisations have spent years switching from bare-metal servers to virtual machines (VMs). VMs have enabled I.T administrators to take advantage of new, more powerful hardware to run multiple virtual servers in a single server rack, and because the VM replaces a physical server, server applications do not normally require modification.
Gartner predicts that by 2022, more than 75% of global organisations will be running containerised applications in production, up from less than 30% today. Figures are reflected in an analyst report, which shows that container adoption is already widespread. Of the 1,250 IT leaders surveyed, just under 50% said they use containers in production to some degree.
Importance of Kubernetes
Cloud-native applications are based on micro-services, each of which needs monitoring and orchestrating. This is where Kubernetes fits in. The use of containers and Kubernetes is likely to continue growing, with 30% of I.T leaders expecting to significantly increase their container usage over the next 12 months and a further 42% expecting to slightly increase their container use. Kubernetes is overwhelmingly seen as important to cloud-native application strategies for its container orchestration two-thirds view it as “very” or “extremely” important, and 19% consider it “important”.
However don’t forget that 75% of all statistics are made up !
Managing containers & VMs
VMware’s Tanzu product enables you to manage containers and VMs using the same management console. Containers and VMs both offer a way to encapsulate compute, networking and storage to a workload. The question is “Do you retain workloads, replace them, rehost, replatform or refactor them?” just remember that It may not always make sense to rewrite something as a containerised application.
Backup blackspot solved
Containers used to exist in a backup blackspot. They are often managed by DevOps teams, and as temporary or cloud-based technologies, they might not be visible to IT teams’ backup and recovery specialists.
Conventional tools that back up virtual machines are not best suited to containers, which could run in a range of locations, locally and in the cloud. Virtual machine (VM) backup tools, for example, are still designed to back up disks and volumes.
Redstor Kubernetes backup solution
Simoda have a fantastic partnership with leading data management vendor Restor, unlike other services that are highly complex to manage, require error-prone scripting and are not multi-tenanted, Redstor’s backup for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) provides easy scalability and simple, ongoing management.
The Redstor solution is purpose-built for Microsoft cloud, providing a simple but powerful way to protect Kubernetes, Azure machines and M365 workloads. Redstor’s smart data management platform allows IT administrators of all levels – not just Kubernetes experts – to protect and recover all data, including that held within Kubernetes clusters on Azure, in minutes.
Traditional, machine-based backups were not designed for modern, container-based applications.
In summary you have 3 quick wins available
By breaking the containerisation process into manageable pieces sorted out by complexity, you can prioritise quick wins and create a longer-term strategy. Here are three steps I.T decision-makers should consider.
Rehosting: Look to apply the simplest containerisation technique possible to get quick wins early. Rehosting, otherwise known as the lift-and-shift method, is the easiest way to containerise your legacy application and move it to the cloud. Rehosting can dramatically increase return on investment in a short time. Not all applications can be rehosted, but the earlier you start, the longer you can enjoy the benefits while you spend time on the more difficult tasks.
Refactoring: Refactoring is certainly more time-consuming than rehosting, but by isolating individual pieces of legacy applications into containerised microservices, you can achieve the benefits of moving the most important aspects of the application without having to refactor the entire codebase. From a time and effort standpoint, it often makes sense to only move the most important components, rather than the entire application.
One practical example of this is by refactoring a legacy application’s storage mechanism, such as the logs or user files. This will allow you to run the application in the container without losing any data, but also without moving everything into the container.
Rebuilding: Sometimes you have to cut your losses and rebuild an application that has passed its shelf life. Although this is time-consuming, these are often the most expensive and least productive applications running on your system, and the work can pay off in the long run.
Thanks for reading
Keep an eye out for more info on containerisation over the next few months.
It is definitely something that our customers are looking at and that means we need to address the potential challenges they will face with solutions.