VMware is virtually synonymous with virtualization. However they cannot sit on their laurels since there are competitors bringing in new technology. Moreover cloud computing has given a new meaning to virtualization. In their attempt to provide better and more flexible virtualization tools, VMware has come out with their own version of containers and datacenter migration software.
Are Containers Better Than Virtual Machines?
It was Docker which came up with the concept of containers and soon it swept the virtual world away. Containers are stripped off virtual machines which are easy to configure and deploy because they don’t have the entire OS to be loaded. As a result you can pack many more applications into containers within a single server. Obviously big cloud players like Google and IBM are investing heavily into container technology. Does this mean the end of virtual machines? If you scratch under the containers you are likely to come up with some holes. One of them is security. Container vulnerability is a known issue which has to be addressed. But this not all. Containers are designed to run a single application which means it has restricted functionality. As you add functionality to containers they behave more like a virtual machine.
Therefore you have to be careful while choosing between a container and virtual machine. To solve this problem, VMware has modified vSphere software such that you benefit from both container and VM characteristics. The vSphere Integrated Container works as a container yet it can be managed like a VM.
Moving VM From One Datacenter To Another
One of the problems faced by data centers is moving virtual machines for one location to another. The vMotion technology assists in moving live VMs from one place in a data center to another, while the applications keep running. With the advent of cloud computing, a need arose to shift VMs from one datacenter to another. A major hurdle in achieving this objective was the network topology of VMs. This issue was resolved successfully by VMware using its network virtualization software (NSX). This software allows VMs to retain their network address even as it is relocated to a different physical network. Now it’s possible to connect private cloud with public clouds which is a significant breakthrough in VM technology.
Running Containers And VMs Together
VMware has once again demonstrated that they are capable of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds. By providing a combined solution for containers and VMs together, they have enabled datacenters and clouds to be more flexible in their offering. There certainly is a place for both. However, users have to be careful about their choices. Too many containers would defeat the very purpose of their existence and make their management complex. Using VMs exclusively would put a strain on datacenter resources and would lead to poor efficiency. We should expect that container technology would develop further and a stage would be reached when we would not be able to differentiate between the two. Till then we will have to watch them working side by side.