PaaS Messaging Needs to Include Containers to Address Top-of-Mind IT Ops Issues

C. Dunlap
C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Container vendors’ messaging drives home code portability advantages.
  • PaaS vendors need to address IT ops deployment concerns through CaaS.

Container-as-a-service (CaaS) is a type of cloud service that addresses operational issues around infrastructure portability and management, making the emerging deployment technology a critical part of PaaS providers’ messaging.

Since PaaS earned a prominent spot in the cloud stack among IaaS and SaaS during the last two years, leading offerings – including IBM Bluemix, Microsoft Azure, and Red Hat OpenShift – have evolved beyond basic app hosting. Platform services are beginning to emphasize a container model as a way to ensure continuous integration and address IT operational concerns. Those concerns include being able to deploy and orchestrate containers (with policy) in order to modernize and port legacy and new apps onto any cloud infrastructure.

Now, container engine and container management players are making bold claims around being able to provide the best balance between developers and IT, prompting IT ops personnel building a cloud-centric data center to consider whether an IaaS with containerization tools is all they need. Vendors such as Docker and container management players such as Apcera are trying to shift the conversation from PaaS to CaaS, using the argument that containers provide a more portable framework which can run workloads on-premises and in the cloud, supporting any operating system (Windows or Linux) and resulting in more flexibility and agility for operations. Advanced orchestration and policy management is a huge appeal to IT professionals tasked with managing and securing apps.

Of course, having true portability assumes everyone is adhering to the same industry standards, making those efforts more important than ever. A number of container-related initiatives are currently underway, including Kubernetes, Apache Mesos, Docker’s OCI initiative, and CF’s Diego, and even more initiatives will be revealed this fall during vendor conferences.

PaaS providers including Cloud Foundry maintain the argument that container projects are most likely to succeed when there is a platform involved to enable automation and abstract the complexities associated with app deployment. So, going forward, if IT operations has anything to say in the discussion, PaaS vendors will need to ensure they support these standards. Otherwise, traditional app platforms providers risk losing market share to data center leaders which view containers as a way to extend their foundational OpenStack technologies and leverage mega customer bases. For example, HPE is now bundling the Docker engine with HPE servers.

We’ll be closely following how platform and container services will complement each other, including a Market Assessment Report in Q4 on the state of the container market. And, I expect a number of prominent container-related events to come out of the fall conference schedule among top vendors, including VMware, Salesforce, Oracle, and SAP.

What do you think?

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