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Blog October 21, 2020

Understanding Containers on Azure

Over the last decade, deploying and managing web applications has become easier and more accessible thanks to things like containers. According to Azure, containers can help save costs by lifting and shifting your existing applications to containers and build microservices applications to deliver value to users faster. Use end-to-end developer and continuous integration continuous deployment (CI/CD) tools to develop, update, and deploy containerized applications.

What is a container?

Whether analogized against physical cargo shipping containers or renting office space, a container is simply a standard package of software that bundles together an application’s code with any related configuration files and dependencies necessary to run the application. This enables developers and IT providers to deploy applications across a variety of environments.

While not every application should be containerized, there is an evaluation process to determine the best environment for an application to live in called app modernization. One result of application modernization could be to move from a more monolithic architecture, which is an application that resides in a single form typically on a single server, to a more micro-services architecture, where an application can exist as multiple, smaller applications which serve the whole. The benefit of this can be a greater level of control and scalability over each component of the application while also reducing cost and complexity.

Why containerize something?

Improvements in the cloud are mostly focused on meeting two goals:

  1. Reduce costs
  2. Improve business growth by improving agility

These goals are achieved by simplifying processes and reducing friction when you release and ship applications. Your application is Cloud-Optimized if you can, in an agile manner, develop your app autonomously from other on-premises apps, and then release, deploy, auto-scale, monitor, and troubleshoot your app in the cloud.

The key here is agility. You can’t ship with agility unless you reduce to an absolute minimum any deployment-to-production issues and dev/test environment issues. Containers (specifically, Docker, as a de facto standard) and managed services were designed specifically for this purpose. With a Cloud-Optimized application, you can rapidly and repeatedly deliver reliable applications to your customers. You gain essential agility and reliability by deferring much of the operational complexity of your app to the platform.

If you can’t get your applications to market quickly, by the time you ship your app, the market you were targeting will have evolved. You might be too late, no matter how well the application was architected or engineered. You might be failing or not reaching your full potential because you can’t sync app delivery with the needs of the market.

The need for continuous business innovation pushes development and operations teams to the limit. The only way to achieve the agility you need in continuous business innovation is by modernizing your applications with technologies like containers and specific cloud-optimized application principles. When an organization builds and manages applications that are Cloud-Optimized, it can put solutions in the hands of customers sooner and bring new ideas to the market when they are relevant.

Cloud Optimized Applications

The following list describes the main tenets or practices for cloud-optimized applications. Note that organizations can adopt all or only some of these principles, in a progressive or incremental approach:

  • Containers. Containers give you the ability to include application dependencies with the application itself. Containerization significantly reduces the number of issues you might encounter when you deploy to production environments or test in staging environments. Ultimately, containers improve the agility of application delivery.
  • Resilient and scalable cloud. The cloud provides a platform that is managed, elastic, scalable, and resilient. These characteristics are fundamental to gain cost improvements and ship highly available and reliable applications in continuous delivery. Managed services like managed databases, managed cache as a service (CaaS), and managed storage are fundamental pieces in alleviating the maintenance costs of your application.
  • Monitoring. You can’t have a reliable application without having a good way to detect and diagnose exceptions and application performance issues. You need to get actionable insights through application performance management and instant analytics.
  • DevOps culture and continuous delivery. Adopting DevOps practices requires a cultural change in which teams no longer work in independent silos. CI/CD pipelines are possible only when there is an increased collaboration between development and IT operations teams, supported by containers and CI/CD tools.

Why use Connectria?

Connectria takes you through the entire journey. We have certified DevOps engineers in both Azure and AWS who specialize in Docker and Kubernetes. We have a dedicated strategy team, dedicated professional services, and a dedicated handoff to managed services. In order to provide the maximum value to a customer, we become one with the customer. We know the end to end journey with strategy, professional services, managed services, and more. We care for our customers because your success is our success.

Contact Connectria for more information. In the end, we cater to you. As an Azure Gold certified partner, we’ll quickly migrate your applications, data, and architecture to Azure. We’ll help your organization create a cloud strategy to address security and compliance, disaster recovery, and data retention goals.

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