Buyer's Handbook:

Choose the right container deployment and management system

Let IT requirements shape container buying decisions

The future of application development and deployment is in containers -- but the paths for an enterprise to get there have evolved and proliferated.

Containers offer a way to isolate and package an application's code, along with its dependencies, libraries, configuration files and other components required to run software. This enables greater application portability, as well as more efficient resource usage and operations, compared to hosting on VMs.

Containers are only a piece of the puzzle -- they need orchestration to govern their deployment, availability and more. As enterprises map out a strategy for containerized applications, they now face dozens of options in the market. Generally, they all combine container software with some kind of orchestration, and the market has coalesced around a single technology option: Kubernetes.

Beyond that, an enterprise's path forks depending on its needs: a basic container hosting platform, a basic container system that includes orchestration capabilities, public cloud container toolkits and services, or complex layers of resource abstraction and orchestration.

An effective container management strategy likely involves multiple tools from a container ecosystem. Most enterprises today run a hybrid mix of applications in a data center with some cloud deployments. If they further seek to componentize applications with microservices, containers enable consistency and compatibility for smoother integration. Container orchestration is notoriously complex, so an enterprise IT teams' knowledge and adaptability is a factor as well.

This buyer's guide breaks down how container technology works and then helps readers determine the right container deployment strategy based on their current and future IT needs. It also sorts through the increasingly complex container deployment and management ecosystem and provides in-depth explanations of the leading container platforms and vendors.