Containerization is a hot topic that has drawn much attention among developers looking to build portable application components for multi-cloud infrastructure environments. So, it’s no surprise that a subscription-based cloud model has emerged: Containers as a Service (CaaS).
What is Containers as a Service (CaaS)?
Containers as a service (CaaS) is a category of cloud services where the service provider offers customers the ability to manage and deploy containerized applications and clusters. CaaS is sometimes viewed as a special sub-type of the Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud service delivery model, but where the main commodity is containers rather than physical hardware and virtual machines.
Containers essentially function as an alternative to the traditional virtualization approach, where instead of virtualizing the hardware stack using virtual machines, containers virtualize at the level of the operating system. As a result, containers run far more efficiently than virtual machines. They use fewer resources and a fraction of the memory as compared to virtual machines that need to boot an entire OS each time they are initialized.
Containers have been around since the late 1980s, but no organization has done more to develop and perfect the practice of container management than Google. Driven by the need to drive down software development costs and time-to-value, engineers at Google created an addition to the Linux kernel known as cgroups which was used to build containers that would power all of Google’s applications. These containers act as isolated execution environments for individual applications using a simplified operating system.
How does CaaS work?
Containers as a Service provides capabilities that automate the deployment and hosting of containers across multiple cloud environments. CaaS does not rely on one code stack or language, which is why you can implement CaaS in multicloud and hybrid cloud environments.
The automation provided by CaaS can significantly increase the efficiency of your pipeline. Since many tasks are automated, development and IT staff gain more time, and productivity increases. Additionally, automation can speed up processes and ensure the ecosystem remains consistently up-to-date.
The Benefits of Containers as a Service
We’ll now summarize the main benefits of this approach in a nice and readable way. So, what are the main benefits of CaaS?
- Speed. The adoption of CaaS leads to a lightweight, quicker deployments since it abstracts the details of the underlying infrastructure.
- Standardization. Through the use of CaaS, you can run your containers on several different cloud offerings.
- Portability. The standardization you get leads to portability, freeing you from vendor lock-in.
- Reduced costs. The portability and standardization you get from using containers efficiently help your organization reduce costs, especially those related to resource usage.
- Increased Speed To Market. All of the benefits of CaaS lead to a more streamlined development process that culminates in a short time to market.
Why is Containers as a Service important?
CaaS is a category of cloud services where the service provider offers customers the ability to manage the deployed containerized application and clusters. CaaS is important due to the rising popularity of container technology, microservices-based architecture, and cloud computing. The use of containers has become a staple of DevOps methodology due to the efficiency and scalability offered by container services.
The ability to automate certain IT functions through orchestration paired with the improved portability of containers helps reduce the development lifecycle and the time between deployments without increasing risk. Containerized applications can be deployed through either on-premises data centers or the cloud and can migrate easily between hybrid and multi-cloud environments or to different cloud providers.
As with other cloud computing services, CaaS makes it possible for users to pay for the specific resources that would be beneficial to their project or organization, such as load balancing or scheduling capabilities and allows organizations to reap the benefits of container management without having to invest in the required infrastructure to support it.
Disadvantages of Container as a Service (CaaS)
- Depending on the provider, there are limits to the technology available.
- Extracting business data from the cloud is dangerous.
- Containers are considered safer than their counterparts like Microsoft Machines but have some risks.
- Although they are agnostic platforms, containers share the same kernel as the operating system.
- This puts the containers at risk of being targeted if they are targeted.
- The risks increase exponentially as containers are deployed in the Cloud via CaaS.
- Containers are visible areas and do not run directly on bare metal.
- There is something missing with the extra layer between the bare metal and the application containers and their characters.
- Combine this with the network loss of the container associated with the hosting plan; the result is a significant loss of performance.
- Therefore, businesses must face some losses in the functionality of the containers even after high-quality hardware is available.
- Therefore, it is sometimes preferred to use programs with a bare metal to test the full potential of the application.
Things to consider when choosing a CaaS provider
Enterprises looking to deploy a container service for their business can either choose to buy a platform and manage the containers on it themselves, or they can choose a provider-managed container solution – such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, or Microsoft Azure. Thanks to the flexible nature of containers, neither of these options means a user is locked in.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make a decision about CaaS:
- Are you newer to containers or already an established container-based enterprise? A managed container platform option might be best for those new to containers as it lets you try things out and see what you’re comfortable handling on your own.
- Should you choose a public cloud or on-site deployment?
- Is your IT department trained and equipped to manage a container platform?
- How big is your budget and what kind of growth do you foresee?
CaaS is a powerful modern hosting paradigm that requires familiarity with containers to utilize. CaaS can be extremely beneficial to highly agile software development teams. It can be a great idea in establishing continuous deployment on a project. You need not look far for a good CaaS, since most modern cloud hosting providers offer CaaS solutions at competitive prices.