Tips for organisations getting started with cloud containers

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Cloud container technology can offer some great tools to help ship and package applications. However, organisations using containers are still a little confused about how to get the best performance from containers.

As the tech is still in its infancy, it will undoubtedly mature and improve over the coming years, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait around for it to become perfect.  Here are some tips to help those considering adopting containers in their cloud deployment right now. 

Consider switching to service-based for cloud apps

In order to optimise the benefits of moving large cloud apps to containers, it may be best to switch to a service-based architecture. Organisations may also benefit from aligning their code-level manifests to those of their cloud hosting architecture. This could mean that developers will be able to make alterations to the configuration of the infrastructure running the app. 

Yes, there are many options, but you don’t need to be overwhelmed

There are five main types of container management tools. They are all different and will appeal to different users in different ways. Although vendors will sometimes be over-keen to sell you a new system, remember you don’t always need to move – adopting new technology means your IT department will have a lot to learn and you’ll also have to decide between the various support levels the vendors are offering, which is also time-consuming and energy-sapping.

The choices between cloud container management tools aren’t actually that complicated.  Put briefly, there are ‘pure-play’ varieties require a greater level of experience and expertise from IT managers, but do offer a more flexible option.

Public cloud providers, however, are on the other end of the management tool spectrum and tend to offer services to organisations that have a much more general need for containers. These providers offer tools like Amazon Elastic Containers and Google Kubernetes Engine that can provide some oversight and maintenance, and they also integrate well with other services from the same providers. However, you must be careful not to get locked into long contracts with the vendors.

Remember you’ll still need other tools in place

It’s important for IT departments to realise that cloud containers are only an infrastructure solution. They have a limited purpose and businesses and other organisations should bear in mind that, in order to automate and manage workflows, for example, they will need other tools in place.

It is sometimes also tricky to integrate new technologies, such as containers, into systems that you already have in place in your organisation. This can be very stressful and frustrating. However, it might be worth considering a managed service, such as the ones offers by Azure and AWS, which can take care of much of the integration issues for you. 

As with any major IT decision, it pays to do some serious research before committing to a managed service, as some carry their own limitations and issues. 

To sum up, although container deployment is an attractive prospect that many IT managers will be keen to go ahead with, it’s important to consider the type of container management tool that will suit your organisation before going ahead. 

Consider your level of expertise and knowledge to help you decide. Don’t be overwhelmed by the choices being presented to you, just consider your requirements and remember that containers are just one part of the cloud deployment process.

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