Containers may already be best for hybrid apps, says Gartner • The Register

According to Arun Chandrasekaran, a senior vice president and analyst at Gartner, containers may already be the best choice when building and running applications running in hybrid environments.

Deliver a lecture entitled “Compute Evolution: Virtual Machines, Containers, Serverless, Which One to Use When?” At the Asia-Pacific edition of the company’s IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference, Chandrasekaran predicted a rapid introduction of containers and serverless features.

He said containers will be used by 90 percent of global organizations by 2026, up from 40 percent today. Serverless will go from 25 percent adoption to 50 percent in the same period. Both will be mainly used for cloud native apps, while serverless will be used almost exclusively for new apps as migration is extremely difficult.

Adoption will not be easy. Chandrasekaran said container licensing is frustratingly inconsistent — both for third-party software and container management platforms. Those platforms remain immature, he said, requiring the use of third-party tools. Containers remain a poor option for stateful apps. Serverless naturally offers a lot of insight into its inner workings, which makes ops teams nervous. Skilled people to drive in both environments are hard to find right now.

But if you need to scale quickly and need a fancy elasticity that easily drops to zero consumption, serverless can’t be beat.

And if you’re building for a hybrid environment, containers provide an alternative to VMs that’s hard to ignore.

“If hybrid architectures are a major goal, building an app that will span both on-prem and the public cloud, or a service that will span edge and multiple clouds, containers can be more effective,” Chandrasekaran said, referring to the strong points in application packaging and APIs. † The availability of Kubernetes for many and diverse platforms was another factor, he said.

On-prem and hybrid Kubernetes options aren’t hard to come by: Google is improving its cloud and Anthos platform for the job, while VMware’s Tanzu and Red Hat’s OpenShift also happily work in many environments. But they’re all fairly new as edge options, with VM-centric vendors providing hybrid cloud tools for nearly a decade, which makes Chandrasekaran’s advice a bit surprising.

As his suggestion has been that serverless can fit into an organization is that infrastructure ops teams put it to work for their own workloads — such as data migration or creating new logins — that don’t require applications to run full-time.

Chandrasekaran also advised that infrastructure teams strive to provide excellent delivery of all the abstractions mentioned above, rather than clashing with developers over what is most appropriate. Ops teams can also add value by providing observation and monitoring tools — which Chandrasekaran says are more complex, needed, and valued in containerized and serverless environments.

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