It's never containers vs VMs: they'e complementary technologies for stress-free digital transformation

Main visual : It's never containers vs VMs: they'e complementary technologies for stress-free digital transformation

During lockdown, in many countries the streets were almost empty for weeks. When restrictions began to relax, some vintage car drivers took advantage of the moment for a group road tour. I suspect they wanted to enjoy the day cruising comfortably without the usual traffic because vintage cars weren’t made for today’s roads and high-volume traffic. And driving a modern automobile equipped with air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, parking assistance is stressful enough these days.

Will all this change with the arrival of the self-driving car? And will we be able to get from A to B without hassle thanks to completely new mobility concepts?

The data center is on a very comfortable journey

In the real and digital world, it’s new and sustainable concepts that are driving development.

SAE International has published a classification system for vehicle automation levels which resembles the development stages in the modern data center. SAE International is a non-profit technology and science organization dedicated to the advancement of mobility technology. It’s outlined the path to automated driving according to six levels, from manual driving (level 0) to fully-automated driving (level 5), which includes the self-driving car.

In principle, a dedicated server with an operating system (OS) and an application that’s managed manually is analogous to a vintage car. This method has worked well for many years, but is now far too inflexible and costly due to today's dynamic business requirements. Now, innovative concepts and solutions can help keep IT operations running efficiently, despite rapidly growing data volumes and increasingly complex application landscapes.

Like a cruise control system, virtual machines (VMs) have changed IT operations dramatically since the early 2000s. The driving force here was and is VMware. Thanks to virtualization at the hardware level, it’s now taken for granted that several applications run on one physical server. This enables comprehensive application consolidation, optimized use of increasingly powerful servers, faster provisioning, higher availability, faster recovery, and a significant reduction in operating costs. In addition, IT departments can respond to business requirements with more agility and flexibility.

Innovations help application development and IT operations overcome limitations

While VMs virtualize at the hardware level, containers virtualize on the OS level. This technology has become popular thanks to Docker's open source container platform. Containers address the development area. They provide a practical encapsulation through which the image of a software and its dependencies can be moved from one server to another, without making time-consuming adjustments. This enables collaborative application development and ensures freedom from platform restrictions. IT operations also benefit because resources in hybrid IT landscapes can be used more efficiently.

Containers function much like VMs do, but they’re much more specific and granular. They isolate a single application and the dependencies it needs to run, both from the underlying OS and from other containers. All containerized applications share a single OS, either Linux or Windows, but are still separate from each other and from the overall system.

Instances of containerized applications use much less memory than VMs. They can be started and stopped within milliseconds, and can be packed much more tightly on host hardware. This results in high and efficient levels of resource utilization which leads to lower IT costs.

Microservices have been developed to parallel container technology. They’re an approach for the development of applications with independent application components that are loosely coupled. To implement microservices, they’re captured in containers.

Kubernetes has also become a hype topic. This is a Container Orchestration Engine (COE) that enables the efficient handling of many microservices. Other examples of COEs are Apache Mesos and Docker Swarm.

COEs address a key problem, namely that containerized applications consisting of hundreds or thousands of microservices can’t be manually deployed, scaled, and managed on different servers. COEs take care of these tasks and ensure containers become executable applications. To do this, they orchestrate the containers, take over scheduling, monitor SLAs, coordinate updates, and control provisioning container clusters on servers.

Run IT operations with a high degree of automation

Over the next few years, an ecosystem will establish itself around VMs, containers, microservices, and COEs. This will enable application development and IT operations specialists to master the challenges of digital transformation hand-in-hand. In doing so, traditional and cloud-native applications must be brought together on a platform that allows for uniform management.

Fujitsu Integrated System PRIMEFLEX supports greater flexibility in application development and IT operations with pre-defined, pre-integrated, and pre-tested combinations of servers, storage, network connectivity, and software. It aims to reduce complexity and risk, shorten time-to-value, and reduce costs when building and operating data center infrastructures. In other words, PRIMEFLEX has everything you need to run IT operations with a high degree of automation.

Fujitsu and VMware have collaborated to build a complete production-proven portfolio to meet the challenges of virtualization and cloud projects based on PRIMERGY servers and ETERNUS storage. PRIMEFLEX for VMware vSphere is the ready-to-run converged infrastructure solution in this portfolio, which at the same time opens a seamless path to the private and hybrid cloud. With integrated, centralized management and comprehensive automation, it provides significant time savings in infrastructure operations and enables substantially lower TCO.

If you want to travel the path to the future without stress, be sure to choose Fujitsu Integrated System PRIMEFLEX as the powerful engine for your digital transformation.

Learn more