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Review top container deployment and management tips from 2019

Check out our top advice for container technology throughout 2019 -- and use it to shape your 2020 plans.

Container deployment and management was a top priority for many enterprise IT teams in 2019, with interest not only in orchestration platforms, but in other tools to implement and operate container technology.

But a sound container strategy requires more than just tools. Organizations need a firm grasp on container technology concepts; an understanding of how different container orchestration platforms compare; and knowledge of how emerging technologies, such as a service mesh, might play a role in container deployments.

Revisit these container best practices from SearchITOperations in 2019 to refine your deployment and management strategy as you head into the New Year.

1. Use the Nginx load balancer to control Docker containers

As popular as the Docker container platform is, it's not without its faults -- mainly its lack of high availability. If a Docker host fails, enterprises will see a loss in service, which can snowball into larger issues. The Nginx load balancer, a lightweight, open source server that runs in front of Docker and distributes workloads among nodes, can help prevent these failures.

Follow this Nginx load balancer tutorial from virtualization expert Stuart Burns to create a container environment with high availability.

2. Brush up on your Kubernetes knowledge

Kubernetes has become the de facto container management platform. But as popular as it is, are you familiar with its main elements? Kubernetes updates occur frequently, making basic knowledge of the technology key for success. Take this quiz on Kubernetes' architecture and core components to test your knowledge.

3. Compare managed container services

Two of the leading managed container platforms, VMware Enterprise Pivotal Container Service and Red Hat OpenShift, face-off in this comparison article from IT consultant Tom Nolle. Learn how both platforms address container management for hybrid clouds, approach their tool ecosystems and more. Explore other key benefits and drawbacks of these two managed container services.

4. Master these Docker commands

Those who want to start using Docker should start with the fundamentals. In this cheat sheet, Burns breaks down eight common Docker commands IT administrators should know to complete essential tasks, such as retrieving container images and managing user access.

5. Prepare for Kubernetes in production

To achieve the benefits of Kubernetes, IT teams first have to overcome the challenge of deploying it in production. TechTarget executive editor Meredith Courtemanche explores the security, monitoring and compliance demands that accompany Kubernetes in production. To overcome some of these challenges, enterprises can build out a container tool ecosystem or adopt a managed Kubernetes service.

6. Dig into Kubernetes pods, nodes and clusters

At its basic level, a Kubernetes deployment consists of pods, nodes and clusters. Nolle explores the role of these core Kubernetes components, and discusses how to map pods to nodes, and optimize cluster size, to meet application and resiliency requirements.

7. Pick the right type of container

Not all containers were created equal. IT consultant Alastair Cooke explores the differences between an application container, such as Docker, and a system container, like LXC -- and how they shape up against VMs. The small nuances can have a big effect on container deployment.

8. Thoughtfully build out container infrastructure

To effectively deploy containers in production, enterprises should follow these steps laid out by IT consultant Kurt Marko. IT teams need to account for many factors -- such as application characteristics, whether the deployment will be on premises, in the cloud or both, and how containers will interact with legacy tools -- before they build out a container infrastructure.

9. Manage a budget for container infrastructure and management

Open source does not mean free. Enterprises still incur costs from a container deployment -- for example, they might use a commercially supported container platform, or spend money on a third-party container management tool. Marko looks at ways to ensure container costs remain within a set budget so enterprises can spend their money wisely.

10. Determine if service mesh is right for you

Service mesh technology is part of the latest tech wave to hit IT operations' shores. It provides an abstraction layer that enables communication between microservices in a container environment, as well as routing, authentication and health-check capabilities. But this wave doesn't always bring smooth sailing for organizations. Marko weighs the pros and cons of service mesh technology for container deployments.

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