World enterprises are struggling these days with a big question: how to move forward to the next generation 3rd platform applications.
In some of the organization the transition starts from a business need, and in others, the development teams are pushing for the change.
While most of the development departments within today’s organizations are already starting to adopt the new 3rd platform development tools, the IT departments find themselves in a strange situation.
The developers are starting to take infrastructure decision and are sketching a new IT horizon.
The apps determine how the infrastructure will look like and actually taking the “We don’t care” approach asking for big “White Boxes” to carry their application loads while saying: “We will take care of everything.”
This Facebook, Google and Amazon approach is right when it comes to large organizations that develop mass scale applications but mostly does not fit the typical enterprise that has limited development and IT teams.
One of the most common approaches for today’s 3rd platform apps is using software containers to build a microservice application.
While software containers are an excellent way to package and ship applications without the need of a complex infrastructure to rely on, most of the container’s management systems are focusing on placement, shared API, and process management and still depend on a general purpose O/S to run the containers loads.
This general purpose O/S usually known as the “Container Host” is the place where all containers run as separated processes.
Some companies had created a stripped down O/S that has only the basic functionality of running containers, among this solutions are VMware’s Photon O/S, Tectonic Core OS, Project Atomic (sponsored by Redhat), Ubuntu core and Microsoft’s Nano Server.
So when going back to the traditional enterprise dilemma, there are the two ways of deploying containers in an organization.
“Top Down” approach: The most common used today and developer-centric, basically it gives a container API to the developers and sprawl container hosts on physical or virtual servers leaving the developers to maintain the Container Host O/S.
“Bottom Up” approach: A new approach that distributes the responsibility and sponsorship between the developers and the IT departments empowering the developers with architecting the app and the IT with building a dedicated Container infrastructure platform aligned with company policy and share it’s API back to the developers.
There is no right or wrong here!
The top-down approach fits mostly large corporates that need to build a mass scale app to serve billions of users (Facebook, google, amazon) and usually create their own container host flavor and tools to deploy and maintain it.
The bottom-up approach fits organization that needs to adopt containers as a part of a wider team strategy and still needs to maintain company IT policy.
This company usually rely on a standard solution that have a known architecture and full support from the supplier-vendor.
Taking into consideration the virtualization revolution that created a new “Data Center Operating System” to minimize the dependency in the general purpose O/S, we can use the same architecture to help enterprise organization in the transition from the 2nd to the 3rd platform.
The first step will be to run containers side by side along with the 2nd generation applications.
Most organization will develop their mobile and internet apps using containers while continue to run the primary and backend applications on 2nd platform solutions.
Doing so it’s crucial for this organization to have a platform that can host 2nd platform apps (monolithic) side by side with 3rd platform apps (microservices)
VMware’s vSphere Integrated Containers will fill the gap in allowing these two technologies work together on the current most adopted Data Center Operating System known as vSphere:
While containers technology and microservices architecture adoption increase in the organization the need to develop a native but trusted platform to run containers arise.
With this to take into consideration, the new bottom app approach architecture will be the most suitable for the enterprise to adopt.
VMware’s Photon Platform is the first enterprise-ready solution based on an industry proof micro-visor and controller utilizing all the experience and knowledge VMware gathered for the last 15 years running enterprise production loads at scale.
Short for micro-hypervisor.
A micro-visor works with the VT (Virtualization Technology) features built into Intel, AMD and other CPUs to create hardware-isolated micro virtual machines (micro-vas) for each task performed by a user that utilizes data originating from an unknown source.
The micro-VMs created by the micro-visor provide a secure environment, isolating user tasks from other tasks, applications, and other systems on the network. Tasks, in this case, entail the computation that takes place within an application as well as within the system kernel, so the micro-visor ensures security at both the application and operating system kernel levels.
Utilizing VMware’s CMP (Cloud Management Platform) NSX and vSAN technologies will assure a production ready containers infrastructure platform that can be managed by the IT systems with proven and known tools while giving the developers the best API access to industry standard containers development systems.
To better understand how this solution help Organization IT to evolve, watch my Cloud Native Apps Demystified Presentation.
Aviv Waiss is a Principal Systems Engineer at VMware.
Cloud Management Platform and Cloud Native Apps Specialist.
Member of the CTO Ambassador Program