DevOps is all about finding opportunities to streamline your development and operations processes through automation, collaboration, and continuous improvement. One key way you can accomplish all three is by implementing cloud native containers. Using cloud native containers for DevOps applications can increase both the speed and quality of your deployments. Let’s discuss what cloud native containers are, how they work, and how they can benefit your business.
What are Containers?
A container uses system-based virtualization to run an application. Containers differ from virtual machines in that VMs package code with an operating system. By comparison, containers operate as a Linux process inside of the kernel, allowing them to securely run an application in isolation without any extraneous code, only the dependencies.
What are Cloud Native Containers?
Cloud native and containers go hand-in-hand. While a container doesn’t have to be run in the cloud, cloud native containers are built specifically for the cloud from the ground up.
Microservices for Cloud Native Containers
Cloud native containers run on the microservice application model, as opposed to traditional monolithic application architecture.
Monolithic applications are built as one large unit. Any changes to individual pieces of the code affect the entire application, which means any patches, updates, or new feature roll-outs might require building and deploying an entirely new version of the software.
Microservice applications are designed to be as modular as possible. The application is built as a collection of smaller services, each of which runs on its own process and can be independently deployed, modified, and scaled. Modern methods, like the Twelve-Factor Application, focus on building portable, scalable software.
The microservice application architecture of cloud native containers creates a flexible, scalable, and distributed environment that streamlines your Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).
Orchestration for Cloud Native Containers
Container orchestration automates many of the tasks involved in managing a cloud native container environment. A microservices application may contain hundreds or thousands of containers. This creates too much complexity for your engineers to handle manually. Cloud native container orchestration helps streamline the operations side of your DevOps infrastructure by automating tasks such as provisioning, deployment, scaling, networking, and load balancing. This in turn speeds up the development side of things because your development teams get their resources provisioned faster and easier.
CI/CD Automation for Cloud Native Containers
You can further streamline your SDLC by implementing cloud native CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery) tools for your containers. CI/CD tools automatically integrate, build, test, and deploy new code on a continuous basis. This allows you to shorten feedback loops between developers, testers, and end-users, which speeds up the release cycle and improves your software’s overall quality.
CI/CD tools for cloud native containers – such as Jenkins X and GitLab CI/CD – integrate with container orchestration solutions to automatically integrate, test, and deliver your microservices and applications.
The Benefits of Using Cloud Native Containers
Using cloud native containers for your DevOps architecture provides numerous benefits, including:
Agility: The use of containers and microservices facilitates a more agile development process by splitting applications into many smaller modules that can be created and deployed relatively quickly. That means developers can easily pivot when requirements change.
Speed: Cloud native containers support a high level of automation, especially when you orchestrate them with a platform like Kubernetes. That means faster provisioning, development, testing, and releases.
Resiliency: Cloud native container microservices are run in isolation, which means each one can run independently. This increases your resiliency in case of an issue – one container failing won’t bring all the others down.
Security: Since cloud native containers are ephemeral and run independently of one another, you can easily limit a hacker’s lateral movement by isolating or even destroying containers as needed during an attack.
Portability: Cloud native containers are standardized, which means you can easily port them between different hosts and providers. This helps you avoid vendor lock-in so you can take advantage of better deals or features if your current provider is falling short.
Scalability: Each container runs independently from the others, which means they can be independently scaled up or down as well. Plus, containers are ephemeral by design, so your orchestration solution can constantly add or delete resources to meet demands.
Cloud native containers support DevOps by introducing more opportunities for automation, reducing outages, eliminating vendor lock-in, and streamlining both development and operations.
Using Cloud Native Containers to Run Applications Takes Deployment to the Next Level
Using cloud native containers with microservices, orchestration, and CI/CD automation will help you create a more efficient and collaborative DevOps environment within your organization. However, to achieve these goals, you need the right tools and support.