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Experts discuss the future of container technology

All eyes on Container 2.0: “We must clarify what needs to be part of the first container standard”

Hartmut Schlosser
© Shutterstock / SMSka

Containers revolutionize the way modern software is being developed and operated. In this expert checklist, our focus lies on what is at the heart of this revolution and how the next step of “containerization” might look like.

Present and future of containers

Our discussion is based on the vision Mesosphere CEO Florian Leibert described in his blog post “Welcome to the era of Container 2.0“.

At its simplest, Container 2.0 is the ability to run (and orchestrate) both stateless and stateful services on the same set of resources.

However, while this stateless-plus-stateful definition is accurate, easy to grasp and very powerful—especially for anyone who has built applications that connect to big data systems such as Kafka or Cassandra—even it is not comprehensive.

Realistically, delivering Container 2.0 means delivering a platform that can run application logic along with the gamut of backend services on shared infrastructure, combining all workloads onto a single platform that improves efficiency and simplifies complex operations. The collection of capabilities that modern applications require includes monitoring, continuous deployment, relational databases, web servers, virtual networking and more.
– Florian Leibert

We asked Peter Roßbach, freelance system architect, coach of numerous web applications and speaker at the upcoming JAX DevOps 2017, to share his opinion with regard to this position and offer us insight into his vision of the container 2.0 world.

“We must clarify what needs to be part of the first container standard”

JAXenter: Hello Peter! Do you approve of Florian Leibert’s vision of the container 2.0 world?

Peter Roßbach: To put this vision into practice, there is no new standard of container technologies necessary but an agreement on a first standard — which will be difficult enough. The whole article is a direct confirmation of what’s the situation in today’s container technology. It seems to be a problem for Mesos that the isolation and orchestration of software do not follow their path. Mesos is an incredibly good solution for demanding scenarios. However, one is overlooking that a lot of tasks can be solved more easily. Obviously, it is not being accepted what value lies within the creation of a simple standard for shippable software and its orchestration of also small solutions.

JAXenter: From your perspective, what will the container 2.0 world consist of?

Peter Roßbach: Currently we must clarify what needs to be part of the first container standard. There are diverse components which currently resist the first specification. The OCI specifications are getting there but the commercial interests barely align. One part of the market would like to pause and to push the exploitation of the results for now, other powerful companies don’t want to slow down the innovation.

Creating standards for technological platforms are challenging and would usually take several years. We are just at the beginning of container technology but never before was there so much pressure on the boiler to provide a solution as quickly. The usage of the clouds, the acceleration of the software delivery cycle, and the improvement of quality requirements are demanding a standardization, but they don’t speed it up!

JAXenter: How do we get to the next level of container technologies? What are we missing here?

Peter Roßbach: First, we need a specification of the container formats for distribution and execution, as it is discussed by the OCI community. However, a lot of questions have to be answered before this can be put into practice. Yet there are new experiences almost on a daily basis and we get to know new use cases. I’m quite sure that it is currently too early for standardization and it would give the market false hopes.

JAXenter: In your view, which of the current container tools and initiatives is the most exciting? Why?

Peter Roßbach: The Docker and the Kubernetes ecosystems are outstanding since they don’t cease to simplify the tasks of the creation and the execution of sophisticated systems. This year, the Docker community is extending the scope of container technologies on Windows and IoT/ARM based machines. The newest developments for the orchestration of Docker is offering a radical simplification, whole swarms of services are going to be shapeable for developers. The Kubernetes community is creating better and better declarative descriptions and APIs for controlling a complex microservice platform.

Quote-Zone

Every developer/operator should look into container technologies because …

… containers are the basis of most IT systems of the near future.

Every manager/IT responsible should look into container technologies because…

… they can create faster and more reliable goodwill on the basis of the container ecosystem.

Without containers, we would still be…

…not very advanced in our development of discovering new technologies.

Within current container technologies,  what I’m missing the most is…

… the proper handling of state based components, storage, configurations, and the provisioning of whole groups of machines.

Containers are useful for the implementation of DevOps because…

… they donated us a common and simple standard for the distributed execution of almost any software.

asap

Author
Hartmut Schlosser
Hartmut Schlosser is an editor for JAXenter and a specialist in Java Enterprise-Technologies, Eclipse & ALM, Android and Business Technology. Before working at S&S Media he studied Computer Science, Music, Anthropology and French Philology.

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