6 Critical Questions about Azure Containers on every CIO's Mind
Shipping containers have transformed the export & import industry by standardizing and making the shipping payload opaque; likewise, Azure Containers are transforming the way applications are developed, deployed, and managed in multiple environments. They offer a consistent way to ship any application and enable portability between platforms as well as between clouds. Most CIOs who are Microsoft Azure lovers have many questions in mind when planning to begin their container journey. Here are answers to some important questions that you may have.
1. Why Azure Containers?
Running Containers in Azure environment brings numerous benefits like easy deployment, orchestration etc, and is not limited to virtual machines alone. The sheer speed with which Microsoft Azure is embracing Containers is evident with the launch of its new service, called Azure Container Instances. Apart from this, it offers a plethora of services such as Azure Container Service, Container Registry, Web App for Containers, and Service Fabric; that can help you to easily deploy and run containerized web apps.
2. What Containers does Azure support?
Although Docker containers are mostly run on Linux based environments, they can now also run on Windows. Microsoft has adopted container capabilities allowing Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 to run Windows containers. The Docker container for Windows can be managed from any Docker client or from Microsoft’s PowerShell as well.
3. Are Azure Containers secure?
Microsoft has put in a great effort in the last couple of years, to offer first-class capabilities to monitor, manage and secure your containers in Azure. It provides Azure Container Registry, a Docker private registry, to efficiently manage your container images with known open-source Docker command line interface tools. It offers full-stack security features such as run-time protection, vulnerability scanning, and compliance with Twislock or Aqua. Enterprises can also integrate Azure Active directory to enable single sign-on capabilities in the application. With tools like Log Analytics and Application Insights, Azure development experts can gain a 360-degree visibility of container environment such as memory, storage, centralized CPU, performance information and network.
4. Where can I leverage Azure Containers?
If you are shifting from a Monolithic architecture to Microservices architecture or trying to migrate from ASP.net MVC to ASP.net core, then Containers based environment is the best fit. With Azure Container Service, you can manage containers without any special expertise. It uses Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and DC/OS orchestrators; allowing you to run and scale apps with ease without much cluster-management overhead.
5. Is Azure Container similar to VMs running on Azure?
Virtual machines and containers, both are based on virtualization technology but have different design goals that help to deploy multiple, inaccessible services on a single platform. In case of a VM, the package includes an entire operating system as well as the application that can be passed around. A physical server running three virtual machines would contain a hypervisor and three separate operating systems running on top of it.
In contrast, containers abstract applications from OS and a server running multiple containerized applications, can share the operating system among the other containers. While each container has its base for writing, the shared parts of the operating system are read only. Also, containers are much more lightweight and use fewer resources than virtual machines.
6. What are the major benefits of running Containers in Azure?
- Powerful Visual Studio Tools for Docker to quickly develop, deploy & debug containerized application. You can easily develop .NET Core applications for Linux or .NET applications for Windows. With Visual Studio Team Services, our Azure developers can easily integrate containers into the current DevOps workflows and iterate or debug multi-container based applications quickly.
- Easily sharable: Push your Docker images easily to an authenticated Azure registry; which can be shared as pre-built container images in future as well.
- Deployment flexibility: Orchestrate and scale up & down your containers using Azure compute services like App Service, Azure Container Service (AKS), and Service Fabric.
- Provision of Third-party tools & platforms: You can easily deploy containerized applications in Azure using third party tools such as OpenShift, Docker Enterprise Edition, and Pivotal Cloud Foundry.
- Hybrid platform support: You can deploy your containerized application in your own datacentre, Azure stack or Azure and achieve unified approach to build application that can run on-premises or in the cloud.