The Container is a lightweight, operating system-level virtualization technology that allows us to run applications and their dependencies in the process of resource isolation. All the necessary components required to run the application are packaged into a single image, which can be reused. When the image is running, it runs in an independent environment and does not share the memory, CPU, or disk of the host operating system with other applications. This ensures that the processes inside the container will not affect any processes outside the container.
Virtual machines usually include the entire operating system and applications. A hypervisor running with them is also needed to control the virtual machine.
Because they include the operating system, their size is a few gigabytes (1 gigabyte = 1GB). One disadvantage of using virtual machines is that they take several minutes to start the operating system and initialize the applications they host. On the other hand, containers are lightweight, mostly megabytes (1 megabyte = 1MB) in size. The performance of the container is better than that of the virtual machine, and it can be started immediately.
When the application computing environment changes, many problems will arise. It is possible that the developer pushes the code from the development environment to the test environment before continuing. For example, Developers write application code in Windows, but the upper environment (test, stage, or product) is based on Linux. In this case, some functions may stop working when the operating system changes. So, basically, when the supporting software environment is different, the probability of intermittent failure will be higher.
The survival and development of enterprises were uncertain throughout 2020. As a result of the ever-changing challenges, digital innovation capabilities are more important to enterprises than ever before.
During the pandemic, more enterprises have strengthened their beliefs and quickened their paces in cloud migration and digital transformation. They actively explore the implementation of cloud-native architecture transformation. During 2020 Double 11 Global Shopping Festival, Alibaba achieved a major breakthrough in cloud-native technologies for its core system. Based on the cloud-native architecture, enterprises can maximize cloud usage and focus on business developments. Developers can also improve development efficiency based on cloud-native technologies and products and focus more on business logic implementation. Cloud-native technologies represented by containers have become the easiest way to realize the value of the cloud.
According to Gartner, container services have become mature and entered the mainstream market. More diversified container implementation scenarios in enterprises have emerged, and many container vendors have begun mergers and acquisitions. In order to provide container services to more industries, Gartner suggests that vendors should enrich various enterprise-level application image markets. Vendors should also increase support for Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) and implement various cloud deployments and management. In this report, with the exception of traditional dimensions such as Kubernetes support, container images, Serverless containers, and service mesh, the cluster deployment and management are added for assessment.
Alibaba Cloud is one of the first cloud service vendors in China to provide container services. Alibaba Cloud provides ACK Pro and ACR EE for enterprise-level large-scale production to meet the requirements for reliability and security. Alibaba Cloud also provides services for Serverless containers, machine learning, edge computing, and distributed clouds, which have been applied to enterprises in the Internet, new retail, education, healthcare, and other industries.
This series of articles on cloud-native storage explains the concepts, features, requirements, principles, usage, and cases of cloud-native storage. It aims to explore the new opportunities and challenges of cloud-native storage technology. This article is the second in the series and explains the concepts of container storage. If you are not familiar with this concept, I suggest that you read the first article of this series, "Cloud-Native Storage: The Cornerstone of Cloud-Native Applications."
Alibaba Cloud Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK) integrates virtualization, storage, networking, and security capabilities. ACK allows you to deploy applications in high-performance and scalable containers and provides full lifecycle management of enterprise-class containerized applications.
Elastic Container Instance (ECI) is an agile and secure serverless container instance service. You can easily run containers without managing servers. Also, you only pay for the resources that have been consumed by the containers. ECI helps you focus on your business applications instead of managing infrastructure.
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