Cloud computing and Linux containers (ala Docker and LXC) are two hot trends in the modern software delivery paradigm. They are both backed by strong and active global open communities, have rich tools, and new start up companies and projects are building their solutions with them.
But enterprises, while acknowledging the new paradigms, are still struggling with implementing them. One of the biggest concerns of enterprises is the vast infrastructure, which spans multiple systems, technologies, vendors, data centers, and even (private/public) clouds. Enterprises therefore require support for hybrid IT, with adequate automation to manage it. Gartner research shows that 75% of clients will have some type of hybrid strategy in place by the end of the year.
Puppet, the popular DevOps tool used for automating complex deployment environments, identified the need for provisioning and managing such mesh of cloud, containers and even bare-metal. This week on its latest Puppet Enterprise release it added support for AWS, Docker and bare metal.
IBM on its InterConnect 2015 conference this week announced an update to the container service beta on Bluemix, to provide capabilities such as push and pull containers from on-premises to off-premises service to support private & public clouds uniformly, and hosted private registry for container images for enterprise security and privacy.
The OpenStack community has been making efforts in the past few releases on integrating containers, initially as if they were virtual machine instances and later with full support so you can deploy containers through Heat orchestration just like you deploy applications and services. The Docker driver for Nova (OpenStack Compute), which has been developed out of tree so far, is expected to return to mainline in the upcoming ‘Kilo’ release next month.
Public cloud vendors staying behind either. Google adopted the technology internally, saying that “everything at Google runs in a container”, as well as developing Kubernetes open source project for orchestrating pods of Docker containers, and actively pushing it also into OpenStack via its recently announced partnership with Mirantis.
Amazon on its last re:invent conference announced its EC2 Container Service which lets you start, stop, query and manage container-enabled applications via API and using the rich AWS set of services.
VMware, which rules the traditional enterprise virtualization domain, made moves to adopt both open cloud and containers. First, it started getting actively involved in the communities and contributing code. Also, in the cloud front VMware launched an OpenStack-compatible version of its private cloud. On the containers front VMware partnered with Docker, Google and Pivotal to offer enterprises simplified path for containers over hybrid cloud model.
There are others exploring this field, such as RedHat, Cisco and even Microsoft, offering container integration in all levels from hardware through operating systems, hypervisors, cloud management systems, to orchestration and monitoring tools. We shall be seeing a growing number of such offerings of converged solutions for hybrid IT, more targeted at the complex environments of enterprises, and with enterprise-grade tooling and maturity levels.