The container hype promised to revolutionize software development but the excitement vanished. Developers learned that containers require a surprising amount of groundwork and skill. What happened? Can the great promises of containers actually be realized?
Before 2014, nobody talked about containers. Then along came Docker who introduced container technology, and container hype took over the world. I too was enchanted by the promises of containers.
Container technology was expected to accelerate software development substantially, save resources and make any software cloud-native. They were supposed to allow the easy movement of software building blocks from one cloud to another.
After the hype, however, things became quiet. So, did containers become mainstream? Far from it!
Things went the way they often do. As the hype cooled down, containers continued being the domain of super-geeks, and mainstream software development still doesn’t utilize container technology. Was the hype just talk? Not at all, that would be a false interpretation.
The mainstream has not joined in, because implementation of containers requires a lot of time, effort and skill. Even for a software developer organization, it quickly becomes burdensome to run a new layer of abstraction.
Prerequisites of an easy container platform
Recently, there has been a new hype: Google’s Kubernetes container platform built on top of docker. However, just like with docker there is a massive need for manual work and cumbersome maintenance.
Managing a massive number of containers puts a burden on developers, who should be able to focus on the software itself, not its running environment. This is rather paradoxical, considering that the most important thing about containers was and is the efficient utilization of cloud as the running environment.
However, containers are here to stay. It’s only a question of taking full advantage of them. But how?
To solve these problems, Kontena was founded a little over three years ago, and I was one of the founders. Our goal was to create a container platform that facilitates work. Such a platform has to fulfill many requirements, but they can be summed up in three points:
1. Ease of deployment and management
The process of creating and maintaining an application’s containers without any automation on your own is not a sustainable solution. It will end in chaos. A container platform has to be designed for ease of use, and it must relieve developers of the pains of deployment and management.
2. Automation and orchestration
A container platform must automatize the container environment efficiently and orchestrate the management and running of containers. Developers must be able to deploy containers to run anywhere they want in a simple way. The platform should remain in the background, and act like a symphony orchestra: the user only needs to put the score in the conductor’s hand, and the instruments will play like they’re supposed to.
3. Higher level of abstraction
Containers will become mainstream only once container platforms attain a higher level of abstraction. Actually, the ease of use is a result of more advanced abstraction. In practice, this also means that the platform is entirely agnostic to the underlying infrastructure. In this way, the platform allows containers to be run seamlessly anywhere, both in your own data center or on the cloud of your choice.
Service on behalf of the user
Kontena fulfils all these prerequisites. It is the easiest solution on the market for implementing, running, monitoring and operating containers on the cloud. Open source under Apache 2.0 license, it is free for any purpose: personal or commercial.
With Kontena, users don’t have to worry about maintenance, as Kontena monitors the platform and its computation, network, and storage resources on their behalf. Users may also add health checks that can identify and replace containers behaving inappropriately. This ensures a smooth experience for the applications’ end users.
Utilizing container technology must be as easy as buying cloud processing power or storage. Only then will all these great opportunities finally become reality and the pace of software development will accelerate, ensuring services will no longer fall behind the development of business needs.
About Kontena Inc.
Kontena Inc. is specialized in creating the most developer friendly solution for running containers. Kontena's products are built on open source technology developed and maintained by Kontena. Founded in 2015, Kontena is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, and also has a branch office in New York. More information: www.kontena.io.
Photo by Guillaume Bolduc on Unsplash.