It’s impossible to ignore container technology. From blog posts to magazine articles to YouTube videos, we’re awash in information about containers and how they are changing the face of application delivery. Just as virtualization altered the landscape of traditional computing, containerization is poised to make an equal impact.
For those new to containers, the elevator pitch is a technology that allows you to develop, test and deploy applications unchanged across environments. That means the same package that runs on your developer’s laptop will run on your production environments without alteration. This eliminates the “it runs on my machine” discussion that inevitably happens when an application fails in production.
Microsoft is betting on containers in a big way. At this year’s Microsoft Ignite event, almost every speaker had something to say about containers. And with the acquisition of organizations like Deis and the migration of top-tier talent from the open source community to Microsoft, one thing has become clear: Microsoft is applying its considerable resources to making Azure a key destination for housing and managing containers.
There are several options for hosting containers in Microsoft Azure. They range from standing up a traditional IaaS environment for running Docker to a full-fledged orchestration environment, the Azure Container Service. In between, you have the Azure Service Fabric, Azure Web Apps, Azure Container Instances and even offerings such as OpenShift deployed into Azure. In short, you have a lot of choices, and none of them are mutually exclusive.
Naturally, there are other places to host containers. There are myriad choices for hosting providers where you can run Docker or other container technologies on virtual machines. But none have the breadth of offering and the integration with other features like Microsoft Azure. As an example, Azure’s Operational Management Suite has a pre-built container monitoring solution that provides an integrated view into your containers as well as the rest of your Azure capabilities. And that’s just the starting point.
In future articles, I’ll dive into each of the container enablement capabilities in Microsoft Azure and show how to use each one. I’ll compare and contrast the technologies and provide real-world scenarios for selecting the right approach. Along the way, I’ll show how you can use containers to move from a lift-and-shift cloud migration to a full-fledged cloud-enabled application environment.