Containers-as-a-service providers take some pressure off IT

Last updated:December 2017

Editor's note

Containers are the future of DevOps shops. They're highly portable, light on resources and, with some careful configuration, scale elastically from just a few to a few thousand.

But the knowledge and time necessary to master application container deployment and management can be prohibitive for many organizations. Enter containers as a service (CaaS) providers -- many of which are well-known public cloud vendors -- that take care of all the back-end complications. For a price, organizations can benefit from containers without suffering the overhead.

IT teams that put containers in cloud environments share resources with every other organization that uses that CaaS platform, which raises security and isolation concerns of multi-tenancy. Users argue that the payoff is significantly higher than the risk.

The three best-known containers-as-a-service providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft, but the CaaS market is bigger than those giants; products from Rancher, OpenStack and IBM, among others, support their fair share of container adopters.

1Microsoft Azure doesn't leave container users feeling blue

Microsoft Azure is one of the big three containers-as-a-service providers and is key for many users who want to containerize application workloads. But Azure isn't just for Windows users: One in three VMs hosted on Microsoft Azure runs Linux. Docker partnered with Microsoft in 2016 to develop Windows-native containers. Azure Container Service (AKS) helped Microsoft grow into a top containers-as-a-service provider among a wider customer base than strictly Windows shops.

2Containerization services? Try Googling that

Google's contributions to the containerization space have helped propel the technology toward general adoption beyond the bleeding edge, and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), formerly Google Container Engine, has made strides.

3Go all in on AWS

Amazon Web Services is one of the most well-known cloud services. Users had better be happy to rely on the platform, because its container services are designed to prevent them from spending money elsewhere. With enough market pressure, however, Amazon is backing down from its territorial tools and building in compatibility with other software.

4Expand the CaaS lunch table

AWS, Azure and GKE are the containers-as-a-service provider options that get the most attention, but they aren't the only ones. Organizations that aren't sure the leaders fit their needs have a few other options to assess.

5Moves by Docker, Kubernetes

Docker and Kubernetes are rapidly evolving container players, and that evolution has put them closer together than ever before. It has also spurred an ecosystem around the technologies.