I expect 2016 to be a confusing year for everyone in IT. For 2015, I predicted that new uses for containers are going to upset cloud’s apple cart; however, the replacement paradigm is not clear yet. Consequently, I’m doing a prognostication mix and match: five predictions and seven items on a “container technology watch list.”
TL;DR: In 2016, Hybrid IT arrives on Containers’ wings.
Considering my expectations below, I think it’s time to accept that all IT is heterogeneous and stop trying to box everything into a mono-cloud. Accepting hybrid as current state unblocks many IT decisions that are waiting for things to settle down.
Here’s the memo: “Stop waiting. It’s not going to converge.”
- Container Adoption Seen As Two Stages: We will finally accept that Containers have strength for both infrastructure (first stage adoption) and application life-cycle (second stage adoption) transformation. Stage one offers value so we will start talking about legacy migration into containers without shaming teams that are not also rewriting apps as immutable microservice unicorns.
- OpenStack continues to bump and grow. Adoption is up and open alternatives are disappearing. For dedicated/private IaaS, OpenStack will continue to gain in 2016 for basic VM management. Both competitive and internal pressures continue to threaten the project but I believe they will not emerge in 2016. Here’s my complete OpenStack 2016 post?
- Amazon, GCE and Azure make everything else questionable. These services are so deep and rich that I’d question anyone who is not using them. At least one of them simply have to be part of everyone’s IT strategy for financial, talent and technical reasons.
- Cloud API becomes irrelevant. Cloud API is so 2011! There are now so many reasonable clients to abstract various Infrastructures that Cloud APIs are less relevant. Capability, interoperability and consistency remain critical factors, but the APIs themselves are not interesting.
- Metal aaS gets interesting. I’m a big believer in the power of operating metal via an API and the RackN team delivers it for private infrastructure using Digital Rebar. Now there are several companies (Packet.net, Ubiquity Hosting and others) that offer hosted metal.
2016 Container Tech Watch List
I’m planning posts about all these key container ecosystems for 2016. I think they are all significant contributors to the emerging application life-cycle paradigm.
- Service Containers (& VMs): There’s an emerging pattern of infrastructure managed containers that provide critical host services like networking, logging, and monitoring. I believe this pattern will provide significant value and generate it’s own ecosystem.
- Networking & Storage Services: Gaps in networking and storage for containers need to get solved in a consistent way. Expect a lot of thrash and innovation here.
- Container Orchestration Services: This is the current battleground for container mind share. Kubernetes, Mesos and Docker Swarm get headlines but there are other interesting alternatives.
- Containers on Metal: Removing the virtualization layer reduces complexity, overhead and cost. Container workloads are good choices to re-purpose older servers that have too little CPU or RAM to serve as VM hosts. Who can say no to free infrastructure?! While an obvious win to many, we’ll need to make progress on standardized scale and upgrade operations first.
- Immutable Infrastructure: Even as this term wins the “most confusing” concept in cloud award, it is an important one for container designers to understand. The unfortunate naming paradox is that immutable infrastructure drives disciplines that allow fast turnover, better security and more dynamic management.
- Microservices: The latest generation of service oriented architecture (SOA) benefits from a new class of distribute service registration platforms (etcd and consul) that bring new life into SOA.
- Paywall Registries: The important of container registries is easy to overlook because they seem to be version 2.0 of package caches; however, container layering makes these services much more dynamic and central than many realize. (more? Bernard Golden and I already posted about this)
What two items did not make the 2016 cut? 1) Special purpose container-focused operating systems like CoreOS or RancherOS. While interesting, I don’t think these deployment technologies have architectural level influence. 2) Container Security via VMs. I’m seeing patterns where containers may actually be more secure than VMs. This is FUD created by people with a vested interest in virtualization.
Did I miss something? I’d love to know what you think I got right or wrong!