Are Docker Containers Essential To PaaS? - InformationWeek

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Cloud // Software as a Service
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10/1/2014
11:50 AM
Charles Babcock
Charles Babcock
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Are Docker Containers Essential To PaaS?

Platform-as-a-service is changing along with the rise of next-generation applications, but is Docker crucial? Interop panelists debate.

Interop 2014 PaaS panel in New York.(Source: Cloud Applications workshop chair Bernard Golden on Twitter)
Interop 2014 PaaS panel in New York.
(Source: Cloud Applications workshop chair Bernard Golden on Twitter)

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john_mathon
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john_mathon,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/3/2014 | 10:46:35 AM
Re: You Get What You Pay For
I agree that PaaS should make the deployment choice up to you to use containers or deploy on bare metal.    The point of PaaS to me is to reduce the headaches associated with deploying and managing complex applications.   As much as possible it should understand the performance requirements, the QOS SLAs, the architecture of the application to help engineer the best fit for the hardware and software.   Ultimately I see PaaS as being able to make recommendations about what services to use to deploy, what containers and what the deployment architecture of the application should be in terms of the fault tolerance, load balancing design of the application.   We are a long way from that.  

I don't think any of this is related to the lack of adoption of PaaS short term.  I think that has to do with the stumbling of key players, the complexity of the technology and enterprises realizing that adoption of PaaS has implications they hadn't at first understood.   PaaS requires changes in the organization to support it.  There are personnel issues, training issues and also compatability with existing applications.

However, saying all that I believe that PaaS is a critical part of a digitization, agility, modernization strategy of any modern organization.  PaaS simply has too many benefits for most organizations in terms of costs of operation and time to delivery.  PaaS can mean cutting time to market in half and cutting costs to a fraction of what they would be without it.  The intermediate point to PaaS is devops which is "build your own" PaaS and is not sustainable.  

Some organizations such as mine (WSO2) know that PaaS is a big but important step and that customers need help in understanding and deploying the technology.   We are committed to PaaS long term because it is an critical part of the disruptive Platform 3.0 that is sweeping over IT.  I have a blog called CloudRamblings that I discuss the Virtuous Circle and Platform 3.0 and why it is critical enterprises understand how the industry is changing and why you need to get on board or face disruption.
AbeG
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AbeG,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/3/2014 | 8:58:41 AM
Reservations about modular services
"Next-generation applications are more likely to be composed by teams working on a PaaS system than by talented developers working alone or in pairs, the panel agreed. They are composite applications built up from independent, modular services."


This is pretty much how CMS systems like wordpress, drupal, and joomla work.  It's great when it works, but it can really feel like pure chaos trying to keep things running when one small change in a module can break your whole setup.
jpmorgenthal-tw
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jpmorgenthal-tw,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2014 | 4:05:27 PM
You Get What You Pay For
Or in this case, your responses are going to be most advantageous and positive to the group of panelists, who in this case are all vendors. Of course no PaaS vendors are going to represent that the PaaS industry is struggling at the moment. And while it may be bad form, my recent blog entry "PaaS Stumbles" here jpmorgenthal (dot) com/2014/09/11/paas-stumbles/ represents a real accounting of what is going on and the importance and role of containers.

The reality is containers are not needed for PaaS and in fact are a distraction from the real value add. PaaS should be an abstraction that hides the need for engineers to ever need to touch a container. In fact, the best PaaS platform would decide based on Service Levels if it's best to deploy in a container, on a VM, or bare-metal if that is available. 

Containers represent a middle ground that allows engineers to continue to keep their fingers in the sausage instead of just buying completed sausages. 
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