Why containers will play a key role in application deployments on the cloud

The cloud has become one of the biggest forces in digital transformation initiatives. This is reflected in the end-user spending on public cloud services in India. A report by Gartner predicts that this spending is forecast to total $7.3 billion in 2022, an increase of 29.6% from 2021. However, as enterprises start looking at transitioning their applications from on-premises to cloud-based environments, they recognize that post-migration, not all applications can work as desired. Additionally, there are challenges related to application interdependencies and linkages. While rewriting an application is an option, it is not always advisable due to constraints related to time and financial investments. This is where containers can be used to great advantage.

Why containers are being preferred

Containers help in removing the dependencies on the underlying platform. This makes applications portable and also helps in migrating or transitioning the application quickly to cloud platforms. For the cloud, containers are the preferred option as they provide a standardized way to package applications. The biggest benefit for enterprises is the ability to write an application once and deploy it anywhere. This is well suited for cloud platforms as enterprises can take an application from anywhere without the effort of rebuilding it or refactoring it for a new environment. The abstraction capabilities of containers ensure that the application works the same way irrespective of where it is deployed. For organizations which quickly want to deploy their applications on cloud platforms, containers are the best choice. As containers are self-contained platforms and have their own code, runtime and libraries, they are perfect for enterprises that want their applications to be easily lifted and shifted to cloud platforms.

Let us understand how containers can deliver huge benefits with the help of an example. A leading technology product firm from India, recognized that to maintain its competitive edge, it had to enhance its application design methodologies by significantly improving how efficiently and quickly applications could be built, tested and deployed – but without increasing its infrastructure overheads in doing so. The product firm wanted to embrace a cloud-native approach to build, test and deploy their applications while simultaneously lowering infrastructure overheads. It also wanted the capability to enable developers spread across different domains to build applications that could be rapidly deployed, patched and scaled in order to accelerate development, test and production cycles. The company opted for a container-as-a-service platform to help it achieve these objectives. Using the platform, the company has been able to deploy agile, cloud-native micro services while simultaneously reducing its cost and operational overheads by over 30%. Today, the company’s container clusters are distributed across on-demand cloud platforms, allowing the company the freedom to choose from multiple always-on, instantly available cloud platform option search time they want to deploy (or redeploy) a container cluster. This hybrid cloud model means that not only can containers be deployed across multiple on-demand cloud platforms – both public and private – but the company can instantly migrate and redeploy applications within these cloud platforms seamlessly. This is a huge advantage as it allows the company to choose from multiple cloud execution venues based on specific project requirements while meeting business objectives.

A containerized future

In summary, containers are best suited for today’s dynamic business landscape where the pace of digital activities often overwhelms most enterprises. As the above example shows, containers can give enterprises the flexibility and ease of use to deploy applications quickly, so that developers can spend time creating innovative products and services for their customers and not on operational tasks. The future is bright for containers as they address several critical considerations of enterprises (portability, agility and faster delivery). Research firm, Gartner, has hence, rightly predicted that by 2022, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production. The research firm also expects that upto 15% of enterprise applications will run in a container environment by 2024, up from less than 5% in 2020.

The world increasingly prefers cloud-based models, and it is only a matter of time, before all applications are written specifically for cloud platforms. This has also been predicted by Gartner, which estimates that by 2025, 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms, up from 30% in 2021. With cloud being imperative and a must-have technology, containers will be central to all major digital transformation initiatives. 

The article has been written by Karan Kirpalani, Cloud Head, NTT Ltd. in India

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