If you’re a virtualization admin there’s a good chance that the word “container” has floated by in the last few months. This is because enterprises of all sizes are now looking to leverage the power of containerization. But what is containerization and how can you leverage containers while also making use of your investment in virtualization?
Yesterday, we hosted a webinar on Containerization for the Virtualization Admin and over 1,100 practitioners signed up. Watch the recorded webinar below.
But here’s what we discussed, in a nutshell.
Containerization leverages the kernel within the host operating system to run multiple root file systems. These root file systems are called containers.
Containers take an application, and everything that it needs to run (i.e binaries) and wraps in within a single standardized unit aka a “container.” This standard format allows the containerized apps to run in any environment, regardless of infrastructure. It’s important to realize that containers are not VMs. Containers are more lightweight and portable than VMs. Containers leverage shared resources v.s having an entire guest operating system with it (VM). There’s also no hypervisor necessary with containerization. See the architectures of containerization (left) compared to VMs (right).
The Power of Containers and VMs Together
Containers can run on a bare-metal server, within a VM or in a public cloud service provider. The Docker Engine is the secret sauce here. The engine is the Docker installed software on a host, and creates and runs the the containers. The images below show the architecture of containerization on a baremetal server (left) and when combined with virtualization (on right).
By leveraging containerization and virtualization together, enterprise teams can go from running one application per VM, to running multiple applications per VM. Admins can place each service into a container and then run multiple containers per VM.
Voilá! This allows admins to optimize their environment by consolidating the number of VMs they have (now each VM is more powerful) and reduce costs (maintenance, hypervisor licensing, storage, etc.) all while running their applications, with faster performance speeds (remember containers are more lightweight).
Swisscom, the largest telecom provider in Switzerland is a prime example of this. The company went from running 400 apps in 400 VMs to running the same 400 apps in only 20 VMs by introducing containerization! This allowed them to save money on storage, maintenance and hypervisor licensing costs.
Containerization also allows teams to migrate workloads from one environment to another more easily.
Below is an example of a workload running in VMware vSphere migrating over to Azure.
During the webinar, Technical Evangelist Mike Coleman showed a demo of how to take an application from idea, to production by leveraging our Docker Datacenter solution and virtualization. Also, watch the Q&A section at the end of the webinar. Attendees asked lots of great questions during the webinar and we provided answers for several of them.
Now, the question isn’t what the difference between containers and VMs, but “how can you get started leveraging containers in your environment?”
Read more about containers for virtualization admins in this series of blog posts by Technical Evangelist Mike Coleman:
More resources to get you started:
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