Containers: The Evolution of Microservice Architecture

Over the past few months, there have been transformations in the use of software solutions. More particularly, this paradigm shift has seen microservice architecture replacing virtual machines with containers to improve software delivery. 

In this, as in other facets of microservice, industry players are applying Moore's Law by adopting new technologies and the density of transistors. Some companies have also taken up public cloud and virtual machines. The same has also applied to the inculcation of containers among service providers and software developers.

The business world forms an excellent source of study because profit-making enterprises are the slowest to adapt to technological changes. This fact provides them with a consistency that serves as the ideal barometer of change. That said, it is apparent that companies seem to be veering towards tolerance where this particular Microservice trend is concerned. 

So, what are the key ingredients of this paradigm shift? Consider the following examples to understand what is happening in the microservice architecture industry: 

1. Virtual Machines

Virtual machines, as a concept and a service, have been around for decades. However, it wasn't until the late 1990s that the technology caught up. More particularly, it was only after VMware released the VMware Workstation in 1998 that the concept became popular.

How did VMware do it? The company simply made it easier for developers to run more than one software tool on a desktop. After that, the company added a couple of handy, actionable, and easy to use tools before penetrating the market. 

2. Cloud Computing

Although most people assume that cloud computing is a new concept, it has also been around for some time. Amazon popularized cloud computing with EC2, which made microservice architecture accessible to many. The company also revealed the possibilities of this technology by allowing individuals to use code in writing infrastructure. 

After that, several enterprises tried to ape the Amazon cloud computing model, plunging this technology into the marketplace. 

3. Container Concept

Like the above two, the container concept isn't altogether new. For instance, the core functionality in Linux has always existed since 2008 after Google announced what they were doing with LXC – the technology used with containers – and Linux Kernel.

In 2013 Docker came up with an easier solution that allowed developers to run containers. After that, the adoption of this technology spread like wildfire. Today, Docker has been following up on these enterprise tools by focusing on production. The company even released the Docker Datacenter (DDC) and the Universal Container Platform (UCP) to compound its market dominance. 

Using Microservice Architecture to Bridge the Adoption Gap

The secret to the success of any microservice architecture tool, solution, or program lies in its ease of use. Companies looking to release new technologies are more likely to improve access by targeting developers. 

With any transition comes some level of collateral damage. This damage mostly serves as the training wheels that were used to evolve to containers from the bare metal foundation. Of course, it is all part and parcel of the natural process innovation undergoes to develop. 

Most hypervisor technologies (think KVM, Zen, and VMware) are likely to lose their market share. In the same way, such Elaborate Configuration Management Tools (like Chef and Puppet) that were created to solve software configuration issues are no longer necessary. After all, developers have stopped writing broken software. 

On the other hand, EC2 knockoffs in the private cloud – including CloudStack, Eucalyptus, vCloud, and OpenStack, are now going out of style. Even though they were useful for running private clouds, they will no longer be needed. 

The Case for Containers

So, what's the reason behind the mass adoption of containers? Contrary to popular opinion, this trend isn't entirely technological. For starters, iteration is difficult the first time around but becomes easier to deal with on the second try. The speed, improvement, and ease of the second iteration make things less scary. 

Some time back, the move from the classic bare metal paradigm to a virtual one was a great trial. It required the convincing of high ranking C-level executives and debating with operations teams. The fact that the concept was foreign meant that criticism and skepticism became widespread. 

Today, there's fresh blood in the decision-making structure. The new guard is tech-savvy and more accepting of new solutions and technologies.

Over and above everything, the evolution of the microservice architecture came about because enterprises are now more accepting of change. Further, there has been an improvement in the tools of trade, particularly as developers become better at creating actionable, cloud-friendly software.