Containerization is winning the Container Vs VM war

January 23, 2018

Research says…

A recent research from 451 research suggests that containers are not only beneficial for developers and operators but for the finance team as well.  451 researchers “believe containers are better placed to achieve lower TCO (total cost of ownership) than traditional hardware virtualization. They have found that double-digit resource savings are achievable even with relatively simple implementations.”

Researchers have come to this conclusion based on various parameters like:

  1. Efficiencies – In hardware virtualization, each VM has its own operating system. Containers, on the other hand, are an operating system-level virtualization. They virtualize the operating system so multiple containers share the OS.
  2. Consolidation – Operating system virtualization is better for consolidation than hardware virtualization, because there is less duplication and therefore less resource consumption.
  3. Scalability – When compared to VMs, containers help increase the scalability from 10 to 100 times, which reduces cost.

Success stories that validate the research…

Many companies adopt containerization along with DevOps automation for faster product development. Expedia is transforming travel experience using containers, PayPal is able to optimize data center infrastructure and enhance productivity with containers; GM can build and run anytime due to portability of containers. Other top companies that have scaled to containers include Metlife, Uber and Twitter.

So, is it all rosy?

Even today, some applications like virtual desktops and enterprise applications like SharePoint run well in virtual machines. Using containers outside of VMs requires the ability to provision and manage servers which could involve some additional cost.

The era of physical machines did not completely end, and we have VMs working along with physical machines. In a similar manner, we may see containers working alongside VMs. But one cannot overlook efficiency, scalability, performance and cost effectiveness benefits of containers that is leading to the disruption of VMs.

After choosing to containerize, how do you choose the right tool…

It is important to check on production stability before selecting a tool i.e., how much effort will go into maintenance.

The next influencing point is to choose a tool suitable to the environment. For example, do you need a tool that will work with both on-premises and cloud deployments?

Containerization is an emerging technology and therefore, for any new tool you will need to check on support available. If you are deploying containers at an enterprise-scale, open source which comes unsupported, is not the apt choice.

Let’s make a choice…

If you are looking to modernize your architecture or transform your infrastructure, do evaluate containerization as a fit for your organization. And then to choose the right tool that will help you ‘containerize’, analyse the tool cost, existing ecosystem and infrastructure to help make the right decision.

With multiple product companies dispensing with huge architectures and leveraging micro services, containers will become a must-have in the future. Don’t get left behind.