Tech Radar: Containerization for Cloud Portability

This is the second in our series of Technology Radar posts, where we look at technologies that have caught our interest for one reason or another…

“Tech Radar: Containerization for Cloud Portability”

One challenge with cloud platforms is that a particular operating system (OS) build is going to be different across each platform. A build we create for Amazon Web Services is not going to work on Google Compute Engine, Digital Ocean, Rackspace Cloud, Microsoft Azure, your OpenStack or VMWare-based private cloud, or a developer’s workstation. All of these services do not use the same virtualization technology, so the application must be rebuilt and configured for each platform. However, it is possible to host a Docker container on each of these platforms. If we “containerize” our application, we have the ability to deploy the same containerized application to a Docker Engine on any of these platforms, from an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to a bare metal install without virtualization overhead.

Containerization has a variety of benefits, but its use to solve the challenge of cloud portability can do a lot to prevent vendor lock-in and support hybrid cloud solutions. The cross-cloud availability of Docker makes it very powerful. Other container solutions like, Rocket are approaching the breadth of availability questions as well.

This approach to cloud portability is vastly better than those that have been explored by folks like NIST in their “US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap“, which has focused on the ability to move data from cloud to cloud. In reality, there is nothing special about moving data from cloud to cloud, as compared to any other data movement operation between platforms.

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