Top 7 containerization trends for 2021

By Jeevan Babu November 10, 2020 12 min read

Top 7 containerization trends you need to watch out for 2021

Are you looking to boost productivity in your product development process and launch your product in the market quickly? 

Welcome to the world of Containers! 

Containers offer a seamless development process due to its capacity to provide portability between multiple platforms and clouds, efficiency, and delivering higher utilization of resources. The development and deployment process becomes a matter of minutes due to their effortless working with microservice-based architecture. 

The combination of containers with microservice enables a product to spin rapidly and get to the market quickly. DevOps is always about better software delivery and container orchestration has contributed to this goal. Overall, containerization helps in staying ahead of the curve and serves the ever-changing demands and standards of the market.

As the market has no looking back in terms of technical advances, containerization opens a door of various opportunities to help your customers with multiple benefits like efficiency, portability, speed, scalability, improved security, and agility. 

Organizations are striving to tap on to the benefits of containerization to stay ahead of the competition and achieve higher scalability.  The wastage of infrastructure, software, and other unused resources cost you billions of dollars. To reduce this wastage of resources, containerization is adopted. Each container holds specific applications and only the related binaries or libraries. Moreover, containers increase the scalability by allowing more number of containers in the environment without the need for servers. 

According to stats by Gartner, it is predicted that 70% of the organizations will be running more than three containerized applications in production by 2023.

Apart from organizations, Containers have been favored by developers as they facilitate frictionless movement to microservice architecture. With containers, developers scale the applications easily with stability and robustness. Undoubtedly, containers have facilitated the developers with loads of benefits to manage the development process easily. 

The top drivers of innovation and digital transformation are Containers, Kubernetes, and microservices. Companies are continuously striving to embrace these technologies for the development and deployment of their applications.

Let’s uncover the top containerization trends for 2021.

1. Kubernetes

An open-source, portable, and extensive platform, Kubernetes or k8 is used to manage containerized workloads and services, that facilitate automation for application deployment, scaling, and management. 

Role of Kubernetes:

Kubernetes provides you with:

Self-healing: Kubernetes plays an important role in managing containers. If a container running an application fails, Kubernetes will either restart, kill, or replace the failed container as per the requirement to prevent downtime.

Load balancing: During high traffic, Kubernetes facilitates load balancing and proper distribution of network traffic, keeping the deployment stable. 

Storage orchestration: Kubernetes facilitates automatic rollouts and rollbacks by allowing you to automatically mount the storage system of your choice.

Assigning states: Kubernetes can be helpful to describe the desired state of your deployed containers. It can help in changing the original state to the desired state at a controlled rate. 

Automatic bin packing: To run containerized tasks, Kubernetes can be provided with a cluster of nodes. You frame your container requirements about the CPU and RAM required for each container.  To make the best use of your resources, Kubernetes perfectly fits the containers onto your nodes.

Sensitive information and configuration management: With Kubernetes, managing sensitive information is easy. Kubernetes allows us to store and manage passwords, OAuth tokens, and SSH keys.  You don’t need to rebuild container images and expose the info for deploying and updating the sensitive information and application configuration.

2. AIOps or Artificial Intelligence Operations

Do you want to enhance IT operations? 

AIOps,  an application of artificial intelligence (AI), uses big data, analytics, and machine learning capabilities to improvise the IT operations and ease the challenges of modern day IT infrastructure.

2020 was all about the digital transformation towards a cloud-based infrastructure. Applications built on the cloud generate heaps of data and this keeps growing. Traditional IT management solutions are failing to keep up with the scaling data. They are failing to sort and correlate data in interdependent environments. They lack in providing real-time data insights and predictions that are needed for the IT team to quickly respond to issues and stand out to the expectations through their services. 

Here comes AIOps for rescue!

In 2021, organizations are looking ahead of an architecture that will be capable of handling huge data streams with steady uptime and efficiency. Therefore, it will be ideal to frame the focus around container-centric architecture. You can opt for cloud consulting services from a leading cloud consulting company. 

AIOps provides in-depth visibility across all environments into performance data and dependencies. It helps in analyzing the data that can be used for event extractions that cause slow-downs or outages. Once the data is identified, it automatically alerts the IT team about the problems, the root causes of the problems, and the possible solutions. AIOps can be utilized with Kubernetes to recognize the root cause of the issue. 

Benefits of AIOps

  • Collection of the ever-increasing data.
  • Aggregating the collected data.
  • Intelligent clustering of data to identify events and patterns that may cause issues.
  • Identifying the root causes of these issues.
  • Immediate alerts about the causes and enables rapid response from the IT team for remediation.
  • Reduction in slowdowns and outages efficiently and intelligently.

3. Managing IoT proliferation at the network edge using containers 

IoT involves use of multiple smart devices like embedded devices, smartphones, sensors, and many more. The data shared from these objects are huge and are without any geographical constraint. Managing and processing such a huge volume of data is daunting as there are challenges with respect to data storage and analytics due to device constraints. The cloud-based infrastructure may manage this huge volume of data but leads to long response time and higher bandwidth consumption. 

To support data processing and service availability to the users at the network edge, containers can be used.  The main focus is to achieve enhanced speed during accessing the data and consuming bandwidth, all while transferring the processing power to the edge of the network. 

Therefore, it becomes crucial to consider infrastructure technology for the edges as the workload runs on them. 

Containers are ideal for running on the edge devices because of its lightweight feature. It is light and agile due to OS-level virtualization, a shared OS with all the applications. One of the main reasons that machine learning models leverage containers is its permission for the legacy services to interact with modern cloud services like AI/ML for rapid computation. 

You get the flexibility to manage any workload, from any corner along the edge ecosystem and manage in containers for achieving lower latency, enhanced scalability, and reduced network costs by deploying them closer to your end users.

4. Service Mesh Security for Containers

To provide seamless service-to-service communication and manage the network traffic, service mesh acts as an abstract layer. Thanks to the transparency of service mesh to microservices, it attaches itself to all the services without modifying the code. You will experience a fast, reliable, and secure service-to-service communication among containerized application infrastructure.

A service mesh can easily be integrated with REST, HTTP, HTTP/2, and other protocols. There is a consistency with service mesh across production environments such as IaaS, PaaS, and CaaS in addition to development and staging.

mTLS is applied automatically by the service mesh to authenticate and secure the communication between two microservices without affecting the code and configuration. 

Operators can implement dynamic network policies with the help of service mesh for controlling the traffic within the deployment. This results in advanced configurations such as blue/green deployments and canary releases. 

A service mesh is useful if you want to gain deep insights. As it intercepts every inbound and outbound call of a microservice, it attains unmatched visibility into the network traffic further providing valuable input for the monitoring layer.

Noted features of service mesh are:

  • Service discovery
  • Load balancing
  • Failure recovery
  • Observability
  • Traceability
  • Authentication
  • Authorization

Service mesh uses a proxy instance for every occurence of service. The container cluster has these proxies placed next to them, thus managing and monitoring inter-service communications. 

Benefit of using service mesh

  • Open-source technology
  • Identifies communication errors easily
  • Simplifies communication
  • Seamless security management between services
  • Faster development
  • Quick testing
  • Quicker deployment 

5. Persistence with stateful apps

To increase the agility and stability of the applications, enterprises are adopting containers and Kubernetes. With the aim to deploy applications on Kubernetes, enterprises are trying to leverage the advent of persistent storage on K8 that will support stateful applications. 

The adoption of containers was to accelerate microservice application development. Developers had the advantage of pushing frequent code modifications with 0 delays in application compiling and building by using containers. Kubernetes brought an added benefit of allowing the developers to ship their applications to multiple environments without worrying about the compatibility and infrastructure. 

With Kubernetes, the benefits that cross-functional teams can leverage are:

Resilient: Containerization allows restarting of applications on a different node to resolve the issues.

Immutable: Containerized applications simplify patching, updating, and rollback processes due to its immutable nature.

Portability: Containerized applications can be shipped to different environments without worrying about the underlying infrastructure and platform. It provides a common set of APIs across cloud and on-premise environments.

Automation: Scales effectively with reproducible results and supports Blue-green deployments seamlessly through built-in self-healing and API-driven interfaces. 

These benefits were mostly underlined with early Kubernetes projects that occupied mostly stateless microservices. Stateful applications didn’t stay behind. With innovative tools and solutions to support stateful applications in Kubernetes, enterprises are desiring to containerize their stateful applications. 

Earlier, only stateless applications were supported by Kubernetes. Enterprises are shifting and deploying stateful applications like big data, machine learning, and database apps to container platforms like Kubernetes for consistent management and cloud portability along with stateless apps.

Key innovations like PersistentVolumes(PV) and PersistentVolumeClaim(PVC) APIs for storage and request for storage respectively, Container Storage Interface(CSI) to allow storage from multiple vendors consistently and support seamless production deployment, StorageClass object to describe the classes of the storage with multiple options to the developers for assigning the suitable storage type to the application in the request, and StatefulSets to reattach the volume to Pod that restarts at a different node thus maintaining the state within the cluster. 

6. SecOps

SecOps aims to enhance business agility while reducing risks through consolidation of automation and IT security and operation tools. SecOps is all about improving communication and collaboration between the security and IT operation teams.

How SecOps works?

Are you aware from where  your developers got the third-party libraries or images? Are you sure, those images are authentic and verified? Are the images and libraries free from all vulnerabilities? 

Containers help your developers in building, sharing, and deploying applications and most of the developers crave for optimized speed and convenience. Security and authenticity is missed in the process. And this often causes a risk.

The best way is to control the source of the image and what is in the image. One of the best security practices is to establish a predefined policy and guideline to control the source of images and libraries that are fed into the containers. You can do this by:

1. Providing a list of trusted source

2. Establishing a point of control throughout the development and deployment workflows, i.e., allow the use of images and libraries from a trusted source only and with proper authentication.

Another way is to eradicate vulnerabilities before container deployment.

As container image is built using a base image and other layers and rarely from scratch, there are chances that the base image has obsolete code, thus posing a threat to the application.

One way is to use code-level vulnerability analysis tools to eliminate vulnerabilities before the code gets into the image. This is possible only if you have upstream control and with containers you don’t have completely upstream control. 

Vulnerability scanning isn’t enough. You need to control the deployment process, enforce vulnerability-policies, otherwise, the vulnerable container will end up on your production host.

You can also use hardening practices on container images, daemons, and host environment with proper CIS hardening guidelines and reduce your runtime risk.

Your responsibility is to ensure a secure development and deployment process across multiple clouds and data centers with SecOps.

SecOps environment benefits

  • Less number of configuration errors
  • Proactively managing known vulnerabilities
  • Automatic validation and enforcement of security policies and compliances with appropriate standards
  • Automation of key security procedures
  • Modification of any code is tied to the deployment rules

7. DevOps

DevOps aims to improve collaboration between operations and development teams while focusing on rapid IT delivery services. To make DevOps easy and convenient across multiple environments, containers jump in.  Containers bundle and run your applications across multiple environments in bug-free and efficient ways.  

When an application is moved from one computing environment to another, there are some possible issues. These problems aren’t limited to only application deployment but vary from security to policies and storage type to network connectivity. Therefore, containers are your savior in such situations! Containers can give a feel of the previous environment, thus, giving a seamless running of application in all environments.

Benefits of using Containers in DevOps

The following are the benefits of using containers to provide seamless testing and deployment of the application into multiple environments:

1. Flexibility: The programs that use containers to run are quickly deployed in various operating systems and hardware platforms.

2. Consistent operations: There are many software dependencies provided by the container depending on the application requirement. Irrespective of the application deployment, these dependencies are consistent. 

3. Production: Whether deployment, patching, or scaling of applications, containers perform all the operations quickly.

4. Less overhead: Due to the absence of images from the operating system, containers require fewer resources as compared to the machine environments or virtual machine.

In a nutshell

Containerization is a significant trend and responsible for transforming the software development and deployment. The adoption of containers is likely to escalate in the upcoming years due to its unmatched benefits and potentials. Containers contribute towards the optimal functioning of the application with business relevance and practicality of the digital era. 
Are you still looking for an opportunity to containerize your applications? This is the right time if your business wants to boost productivity quickly with low investment. These 7 top containerization trends will help you to stay ahead of the curve by enhancing your development and deployment processes. You can talk to a cloud consulting company for your containerization  requirements and leverage the benefits of containers. 

Author Bio

Jeevan Babu is a technology enthusiast and strong believer in agile product development. He is a Senior Project Manager at Fortunesoft IT Innovations a leading custom software development company. A Computer Engineer by education and a technology adherent by passion. His interest in computers & the internet has made him a self-proclaimed geek.

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