Can Your Data Center Support Containers?
When most people think of containers, they think of large steel shipping crates. These crates all conform to standardized dimensions, so that no matter where they are in the world, they can be picked up by cranes and fit onto ships in a predictable way. If you had to devise unique shipping methods for each different type of product, international shipping would be chaotic and virtually impossible to sustain. Instead of having specialized ships and transport methods for different types of cargo, most things we ship in the world simply go into the same containers, which can fit on any cargo ship.
Software containers get their name from the shipping industry, and they work under the same principle. Have you ever had a program run perfectly on one machine, but then have problems when it is moved to another? This often happens when software is migrated from a developer’s machine to the test server, or from an on-premise server to the cloud. Differences between environments, such as the operating system (OS), secure sockets layer (SSL) libraries, or storage, security and network topologies can cause compatibility issues that result in performance problems.
Containers eliminate these issues by packaging and isolating applications so they can run independently of other processes. Software containers contain not only the software, but also any dependencies the software relies on, such as libraries, binaries and configuration files. Everything is migrated as a unit, thus avoiding any potential incompatibilities between the solution you want to run and the machine you run it on. It’s just like the crane on the loading dock transporting steel containers onto the ship. No matter what might be inside it, the crane can lift it and it will fit onto one cargo ship as well as another.
Benefits of containers
Containers isolate the software contained within them, ensuring that each one behaves identically no matter which machine it is deployed in. This means you can consistently and confidently deploy the same container to any environment. Applications can be deployed in small snippets without requiring repetitive testing and manual code rollouts. Developers will know that their software will run properly no matter where it is deployed. You can also create a container registry, or use a public container registry like Docker Hub, to store your containers in a central location. This further enables rapid deployments by easily configuring your registry on your hosts.
Organizations are increasingly leveraging containers for their high degree of configuration flexibility and agility, empowering them to rapidly adapt to market trends and customer demands. Major public cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are all embracing container technology. Datamation’s 2019 State of the Cloud survey revealed that 31% of respondents said they are using containers as a part of their cloud deployments, while 28% said they are actively considering it.
However, in order to leverage containers in your development processes, you have to be sure you can handle new demands that will be placed on your data center.
Not all data centers can handle containers
Containerized computing requires a lot of bandwidth and processing power, and often puts considerable strain on data centers and IT systems. The flexibility and scalability containers provide can be a double-edged sword, as they also lead to spikes in network, power, and cooling demands. Therefore, not all data centers are equipped to handle containers. In order to support highly agile container configurations, businesses need state-of-the-art facilities that guarantee the highest levels of bandwidth and the lowest latency possible.
Netrality’s interconnected colocation data centers provide the flexibility and scalability to enable the high-density configurations that containers require. Direct connections to an ecosystem of cloud and network providers ensures your organization can handle usage spikes, and guaranteed redundancies eliminate worries about downtime. To learn more about empowering your organization with containerized computing by partnering with a local colocation facility, contact us.