Container Orchestration – Everything You Need to Know

With container orchestration, users can deploy, manage, scale, and network containers automatically. This is a significant time-saver for companies and hosts depending on the efficient deployment and management of Linux containers.

Container orchestration can be utilized wherever and whenever teams need to employ containers. One benefit of container orchestration is that it allows for the deployment of a single application throughout multiple environments, without it having to be reworked.

Furthermore, container microservices make orchestrating such key aspects as networking, storage, and security simpler.

Containers offer any apps based on microservices a fantastic deployment unit and self-contained environment for executions. This enables teams to run several independent elements of an app in microservices on one piece of hardware, while enjoying better control over the individual components and lifecycles.

Managing containers’ lifecycles with orchestration helps DevOps teams to integrate it with CI/CD workflows. That’s why containerized microservices are fundamental for cloud-native applications, along with APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).

Why teams work with container orchestration

Teams can take advantage of container orchestration for the automation and management of:

  • Allocating resources
  • Scheduling and configuring
  • Finding available containers
  • Provisioning & deployment
  • Routing traffic and balancing loads
  • Scaling/taking out containers according to variable workloads
  • Tracking health of containers
  • Maintaining security between interactions
  • Configuration of applications based on the respective containers chosen to run them

As you can see, container orchestration has the power to streamline processes and save considerable time.

The right tools for container orchestration

Container orchestration tools offer a framework with which to manage any containers as well as microservices design at scale. Various container orchestration tools are available for management of container lifecycles, such as Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, and Apache Mesos.

In a discussion of Apache Moss vs Docker Swarm vs Kubernetes, the latter may be more popular.

Kubernetes was originally created and built by Google engineers, as an open source project. Google donated Kubernetes to its Cloud Native Computing Foundation back in 2015. This tool enables teams to make application services across several containers, as well as scheduling containers throughout a cluster, scaling said containers, and managing their individual health conditions down the line.

This tool does away with a lot of manual tasks required to deploy and scale containerized applications. You also have the flexibility to cluster host groups, virtual or physical machines, and run Linux containers. Helpfully, Kubernetes presents users with a platform for efficient, simple cluster management.

Furthermore, this tool helps teams to implement and depend on container-based infrastructure within production spaces. These clusters may be placed across multiple clouds, whether private, public, or hybrid. That’s why Kubernetes is such a terrific platform to host cloud-native apps which demand fast scaling.

Kubernetes helps manage workload portability and balancing loads through movement of applications with no need to redesign them at all.

The key elements of Kubernetes

Kubernetes consists of:

Kubelet

The Kubelet service is based on nodes, and analyzes container manifests to ensure relevant containers start running.

Cluster

A number of nodes, including one or more master nodes and multiple worker nodes.

Master

This is the machine responsible for controlling Kubernetes nodes, and all task assignments come from here.

Pod

This is a group of multiple containers all deployed to an individual node. These containers share an IPC, IP address, and host name (along with additional resources).

How container orchestration functions

Any teams which leverage container orchestration tools (including Kubernetes) will describe an application’s configuration through JSON or YAML files. A configuration file informs the container management tool where container images are located. It also specifies the network establishment process, and where logs should be place.

In the implementation of a new container, the container management tool will schedule the deployment to a designated cluster in an automated process. It will also locate the right host, and take the specific requirements or limitations into account. After this, the orchestration tool handles managing the container lifecycle according to the specifications determined within the compose file.

Teams can utilize Kubernetes patterns for management of container-based applications or services, across configuration, lifecycle, and scaling. A Kubernetes developer depends on these repetitive patterns to build a complete system.

Container orchestration may be leveraged in a setting which requires utilization of containers, such as for on-site servers or private/public cloud processes.

Interested in Multicloud Management? Read This

Multicloud Management

You may be familiar with Multicloud management since many are saying Multicloud is the future of IT. But what you should know is that we’re already living in a Multicloud world. This IBM study clearly shows that 85% of organizations are already using this approach and benefiting from multicloud advantages. However, despite its popularity, as much as 60% of businesses don’t have the tools and procedures for multicloud management.

This can be a major issue for an organization, particularly in how it can unintentionally introduce risk and slow progress of moving high priority workloads. Here, we’re going to explore some of these major Multicloud problems and challenges of the approach. We’ll also look at Multicloud advantages and Multicloud solutions. These can help businesses navigate multiple cloud environments whilst meeting their ever-increasing demands.

What’s a Multicloud Management Platform?

Multicloud Management Platform

Cloud computing has evolved since Google CEO Eric Schmidt introduced the term in an industry conference. Today, most organizations use cloud computing to support some aspect of their business. Multicloud storage has become so popular that many now use two, three, or more cloud providers to meet their objectives. This led to the birth of Multicloud Management and Multicloud advantages.

Multicloud is a cloud computing approach made up of two or more cloud environments. As we touched on above, it developed because there are organizations currently using cloud services from more than one provider. There are many reasons why businesses choose to use a Multicloud management platform – and cloud services from several providers.

Comparing Multicloud vs Single Cloud

Firstly, the main difference between multicloud vs single cloud is that it lets you access the best SaaS applications. And across multiple cloud environments too – Such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. Secondly, multicloud minimizes their dependency on any single cloud provider, resulting in decreased risk and increased performance.

Even more, now it’s most businesses who are using a multicloud management platform approach. So, it’s becoming increasingly important for those who wish to remain competitive and agile in such a fast-evolving landscape.

The Multicloud Technology

The growth of multicloud so far has relied very much on containers and Kubernetes technology. One of the main multicloud problems has always been running different cloud solutions in different software environments. That’s why businesses need to be able to build applications that can move across environments without causing issues with integration. This is where Multicloud technology comes in.

As they isolate the software from the underlying environment, containers are an ideal solution to these Multicloud problems. They essentially allow developers to build applications that can be deployed when and wherever they please.

To manage and deploy these containerized applications, “container-orchestration systems” such as Kubernetes have emerged. Kubernetes, described as a platform for automating the deployment, scaling, and operations of application containers across clusters of hosts, is one of the most widely-used, open-source container platforms out there.

An organization can be following a multicloud approach without having any solutions in place to support effective multicloud management. Multicloud management is therefore the ability to manage multiple clouds from a single, central environment. Such management solutions may be called multicloud technology or multicloud management platforms. They are increasingly common today and stand out when comparing multicloud vs single cloud.

Multicloud vs Hybrid Cloud: What’s the Difference?

They sound similar but there are some discrepancies between Multicloud vs hybrid cloud. Multicloud is about using multiple cloud services from more than one provider. Meanwhile, with hybrid cloud, an organization uses a combination of private and public clouds and on-premises services from the same provider. Therefore, the providers are key when distinguishing Multicloud vs hybrid cloud.

Moreover, many businesses have moved away from public cloud models toward a hybrid model. Doing so means they can manage their workload across multiple cloud environments. Especially because of the development of hybrid cloud architecture. However, since many businesses are now following a hybrid cloud approach, they’re using a combination of different public cloud providers. Therefore, they’re also in need of a dedicated, multicloud management solution.

A hybrid cloud and multicloud management platform approach can and often do co-exist. But as they are different approaches, they each have their individual risks and challenges and so must have their own dedicated management solutions.

The Streaming Giant with Multicloud Storage

Netflix - The Streaming Giant with Multicloud Storage

As a quick case study of the multicloud storage approach in action, we can turn to streaming giant Netflix. A business based on delivering video via the cloud, Netflix has been open about its model. It’s also been open about how its main cloud provider has long been Amazon Web Services (AWS). More recently, however, the company has begun working with another provider: Google Cloud.

The move was reportedly executed to take advantage of the competing provider’s unique functions, from disaster recovery to artificial intelligence. Although switching providers may threaten its long-term relationship with AWS, the multicloud benefits far outweigh the risks. And in this case, it’s Multicloud storage that comes on top. The open-source tool it developed for Multicloud storage is called Spinnaker, and it’s even supported by AWS, Google, and Microsoft.

Before Spinnaker, Netflix was famous for putting all its eggs in the AWS basket. By multi-sourcing its data storage, the company has reduced its dependency on one provider. Thus, minimizing the risks of outages that occur without multicloud storage, and improving its flexibility for sustained growth.

What Are the Multicloud Advantages?

Multicloud management clearly has many benefits. For many organizations, hitting that 99.9% availability and significantly decreasing latency are enough to convince them. But it can also give you a range of integrations that only work on specific clouds.

For instance, if you have sensitive data you don’t want in the public cloud but need to build integrations for it. You can build workloads on the private side that can take advantage of the private sensitive data. This all-around makes for a more efficient workflow and greater user experience.

Potential Multicloud Problems

Multicloud management isn’t all good news. Alongside the many benefits of working in a complex multicloud environment, come several challenges. IBM outline these three challenges as Rapid Application Innovation, Data Overload, and DevOps and Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) best practices.

  • Rapid Application Innovation: As businesses work more with hybrid and multicloud architecture, the volume and complexity of objects and metrics increases. The result is monitoring and securing all your operations becomes an increasingly difficult task.
  • Data Overload:New technology in big data and artificial intelligence afford businesses many advantages. But with only traditional management methods at their disposal, they often lack the management capabilities to safely handle the data and implement an effective data strategy.
  • DevOps and SRE Best Practices: Employing DevOpsand Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) best practices is becoming increasingly expected in organizations. Moving to a DevOps model, however, is difficult because it is not just about technology, but also making cultural and operational shifts with teams — particularly in learning new ways of working and the introduction of new roles.

When trying to address these challenges, businesses are typically stuck between choosing a management solution that provides speed or control. But not both. An effective multicloud management solution, therefore, allows businesses to strike a balance and achieve both.

“A Unified Approach Across Multiple Clouds”

A lot of the challenges of the multicloud approach are mitigated by choosing the right multicloud solutions. According to the IBM developer Sai Vennam, there are three areas in particular that an effective multicloud management solution needs to address. Together, these three areas or “pillars” form the basis of what can be a “unified approach across multiple clouds”.

  1. Automation:

It’s necessary to have a consistent and yet flexible way to deploy and manage applications. Multicloud solutions enable this by simplifying and automating application management. Plus, improving flexibility with features like multicloud backup, disaster recovery, and the ability to move workloads. Not to mention reducing costs thanks to intelligent data analysis.

  1. Visibility:

With so many clusters running in so many environments, it can be difficult to know what’s running where. A multicloud management solution enables businesses to know instantly what business application components are running where, as well as to be able to monitor the health of resources across multiple clouds, both public and private.

  1. Governance:

Increased use of cloud-native components should not also mean increased management costs and risk to your business. Yet DevOps teams have the difficult task of employing governance and security policies across multiple clouds. With a single unified dashboard, compliance policies can be pushed across multiple clusters with a single command, reducing both time, cost, and risk.

Getting the Multicloud Advantages

Multicloud management can be overwhelming. Each cloud-based service inevitably comes with its own tools and multicloud advantages. And so, when you use services across multiple providers, managing them is going to be nothing less than a complex and costly task.

As well as covering the three pillars of automation, visibility, and governance, multicloud solutions must be simple and efficient overall. New multicloud platforms, with central control panels and rapid access and delivery to multiple clouds, prove ideal. The multicloud solutions that companies have been waiting for.