10 minutes to understand what is container cloud?

Date: Oct 25, 2022

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Abstract: Container technology is an indispensable link in the development of the cloud industry in recent years. The popularity of Docker and k8s is likely to promote the improvement and popularization of the cloud computing PAAS layer. So what is the technical form of container cloud? Is it a concept or a practical application? In this article, the author will take you to understand the relevant knowledge and help sort out the relevant development trend.

Container technology is an indispensable link in the development of the cloud industry in recent years. The popularity of Docker and k8s is likely to promote the improvement and popularization of the cloud computing PAAS layer. So what is the technical form of container cloud? Is it a concept or a practical application? In this article, the author will take you to understand the relevant knowledge and help sort out the relevant development trend.

First, the current development status of cloud computing

To understand the current development status of cloud computing, there are actually many articles on the Internet that can be explained in great detail. The author lists three newer and more complete articles on the Internet, you can take a look. After reading, I think you will have a very clear understanding of the current development history and trend of cloud computing:

From the perspective of development process, domestic and foreign countries are a little different. The concept of cloud computing originated in the United States in 2000, and then my country began to introduce it in 2007. Foreign cloud computing is basically led by enterprises to promote and popularize (capitalism). After the introduction of the concept in my country, it is basically the government and policy that drive the impact. The government report last year (2018) also put forward the development of intelligent manufacturing as the main direction to promote the implementation of the "Made in China 2025" strategy. Cloud computing is one of the most basic and important core technologies.

From the technical level, the development of cloud computing basically follows the line of mature and stable virtualization, networking, and distributed technologies --> IAAS is mature and stable --> PAAS is mature and stable --> SAAS is mature and stable. At each stage, there are open source or non-open source technologies in the industry that are not represented. For example, in the initial virtualization stage, typical representatives are technologies such as Xen, vSphere, and KVM; the IAAS layer is OpenStack; the PAAS layer is Kubernetes; the SAAS layer is currently open source. There is no typical representative yet, aws launched with Lambda.

With the comprehensive development and popularization of technologies such as IoT, 5G, IPv6, and quantum computing in the future, cloud computing will be the bottom supporting core technology. Then the development of these technologies will inevitably drive and upgrade cloud computing. In the contest and competition between the country and the West, the investment in advanced Internet technology through policy guidance is a good strategy for "overtaking on the curve". Implemented to individuals, as a practitioner of cloud computing, I think this is a technology worthy of investment attention and permanent learning.

2. What are IAAS, PAAS, SAAS

Just now we mentioned the words IAAS, PAAS, SAAS, and as long as you have paid attention to cloud computing, you will not be unfamiliar with these words. So what are IAAS, PAAS, SAAS? Let's talk about it below.

We know that TCP/IP has a seven-layer protocol. The emergence and regulation of the protocol is to unify the standard, so that developers, users, and network equipment manufacturers can learn and produce according to this recognized protocol. If there is no agreement, I will definitely mess up, you follow your standards, I will follow my standards.

Although cloud computing does not have a strong definition of protocols such as type TCP/IP, it is recognized that cloud computing is divided into three levels, which are IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS. As for why it is so divided, I personally think that cloud computing involves too many aspects. If a huge thing is not layered, it will inevitably be messed up. Next, let's look at the definitions of these three levels (from Wikipedia):

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides online high-level API services, and the underlying infrastructure details are not reflected upwards, such as server location, network wiring, data partitioning, scaling, backup, security, and more. The underlying computing, network, storage and other resources will be managed and configured as a whole through virtualization technologies. These virtualization technologies include Xen, KVM, VMware ESX/ESXi, Hyper-V, Ceph, SDN, etc.

To put it directly, all traditional computing, network, and storage resources are virtualized, and servers, switches, and storage were directly managed before. After virtualization, you only need to operate the virtualization management platform in front of the computer to manage the VMs, virtual switches, routers, and storage pools virtualized by these hardware.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) is a type of cloud computing service that provides a platform on which customers can develop, run and manage applications without having to think about building the application and maintenance work.

To put it directly, PAAS is built on the perfect IAAS. When users use the PAAS platform, they only care about how to use the resources provided by the PAAS platform, and users do not need to care about the creation and maintenance of these resources.

Software as a Service (abbreviation: SaaS) is sometimes referred to as "on-demand software as a service", which is a software delivery model. In this delivery model, the software and its associated data are centrally hosted in the cloud, and the software can be used only through the Internet, not through installation. Users typically use thin clients to access software via a web browser.

To put it directly, if there is a SAAS-level cloud service provider, its web console has CRM, ERP, OA and other software you need to use. Traditional software, whether it is a BS architecture or a CS architecture, can be provided (or additionally provided) by SAAS suppliers. For example, the web QQ previously provided by Tencent can be regarded as a SAAS-level service. As a user, you only care about using the mature software applications provided by SAAS, and all other things, such as data storage, software maintenance, security, etc., are left to the cloud vendor to handle and be responsible.

The above is an explanation of the concepts of IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS. Let's take a look at a picture. Through the introduction of the picture, I think you can better understand their differences and connections.

The dark blue part in the figure represents the part that IT personnel need to care about, and the light blue part is the part that the cloud computing layer is responsible for (the fields included in IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS respectively).

The first picture is easy to understand. Before the advent of cloud computing, IT construction needs to be responsible for the part. Down to the location of the computer room, server racking, network wiring... Up to system installation, application deployment, data maintenance... You need to be responsible for everything. This is a primitive IT management era.

The second picture, with virtualization, the emergence of cloud computing. The underlying computing, network, and storage hardware layers are all "packaged" by the cloud vendor (of course, if you build your own private cloud, you should understand that this is done by the cloud management platform).

The third picture, the stability and perfection of the IAAS layer, then the management of virtual machines, middleware, runtime and other work, developers do not want to control, let them also package and hand it over to cloud vendors or a cloud management platform.

The fourth picture is the ultimate perfect form of cloud computing. The cloud vendor is responsible for all IT things, and the user can freely call the IT services he wants to use through the Internet.

Of course, if you don't understand the above explanation, you can take a look at the picture below. The following figure uses an example of "making buns" to explain IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS.

If an entrepreneur wants to open a steamed bun shop to sell buns, then if he is the first way, he will do everything from scratch, from the bottom of the gas pipeline, gas stove, pot, etc., he has to buy it himself; if he does not want to. If it’s so troublesome, you can try the second one. You can sell to a bun store that others don’t want to open, but you have to do the flouring and bun kneading yourself; if it’s still too troublesome, you can join a brand chain store and buy a lot of ready-made quick-frozen buns (not so fresh). ); the last one, the chain store directly supplies the freshest buns every morning, you just sell them.

III. Introduction to Container Cloud

The above long talk said two points, in fact, this is also to lead to the main topic of this article. This series of articles focuses on the open source technology of Kubernetes, which is a typical open source representative at the PAAS level. Therefore, understanding the knowledge background of the previous two points will help you understand and learn this technology at a higher level.

1. Why is container technology popular?

The reason why we want to talk about "container cloud" is mainly due to the development trend of the times. In 2007, the concept of cloud computing was introduced in China. It has been 12 years since the rise of major cloud manufacturers. In the past 12 years, the first 6 years have been in the construction of the IAAS layer. Concept hype, private cloud implementation, public cloud for enterprises... are all made step by step, and there are rapid changes every year. After 6 years, the construction of IAAS is still improving, and the concept of PAAS layer technology has begun to rise. Since 2010, foreign Cloud Foundry, Coreos, and docker container technologies have just been established, which has pointed out a new path for cloud computing. In the following two or three years (2013), China began to introduce these technologies, and IT practitioners continued to learn, looking for a more perfect cloud computing management solution than IAAS.

It takes time for IT personnel to learn. In less than two or three years, since 2016, technologies such as docker and k8s have become a mess. Before the construction of the iaas layer, most of the operation and maintenance personnel participated. The development was only responsible for writing code and never participated in the underlying operation and maintenance management. With the emergence of container technology, developers and operation and maintenance personnel naturally come together and have fusion (devops). This is also one of the reasons why docker and k8s are on fire, and the number of people supporting the PAAS level has increased by at least half (or even more).

2. Is the era of container cloud coming

In fact, you can understand the container cloud as a container technology service on the cloud. The ultimate embodiment of this concept is the cloud delivery model of the PAAS layer. As mentioned earlier, docker and k8s are already on fire, which will inevitably promote the improvement and popularization of the PAAS layer of cloud computing. From the perspective of cloud vendors, in the past few years, customers have been constantly coming to the cloud and using the cloud, in fact, they are constantly playing IAAS. When IAAS is out of play, and there is no more to play, it is natural to consider the PAAS and SAAS-level products of cloud manufacturers. So, you ask if the era of container cloud is coming, I think it has come since 2017. Some companies with well-developed technical systems have already stepped into choosing PAAS-level cloud products (or have built k8s countless times).

PS: And again, developers really love docker.

3. Will container cloud replace traditional cloud

In the past few years, those who have played technology in the past few years will pay attention to the data released by this company, and that is Gartner. Gartner is an information technology research and analysis company. Their IT technology information reports and data analysis are very authoritative and credible (and its Magic Quadrant, which is recognized by foreign manufacturers and willing to strive for compliance). Therefore, to see the development trend of a popular technology, we can refer to the relevant analysis reports provided by Gartner.

Gartner has identified four major trends affecting platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technology and platform architecture in 2019 and beyond. The first two trends clearly suggest the momentum and importance of the PAAS market:

The first trend: the booming PaaS market

As of 2019, the entire PaaS market contains more than vendors offering more than 550 cloud platform services covering 21 categories. Gartner expects the market to double in size from 2018 to 2022; PaaS will be the mainstream platform delivery model in the future.

The second trend: the cloud platform continuum

PaaS capabilities are designed to support the role of the cloud platform. However, all cloud services, including infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS), can be key elements of the platform. Together, these services form the cloud platform continuum. Finding and identifying platform-based innovation opportunities across cloud services will soon become part of every cloud strategy.

Back to the topic, the traditional cloud in the subtitle can be understood as a cloud that simply provides IAAS technical services. If you understand it in this way, you will naturally understand that playing PAAS is definitely more convenient than IAAS. Yes, definitely convenient! And since the docker fire, the industry has often said: what can run in a virtual machine, what can't run in a container?

What's more, developers love to use containers so much...

Operation and maintenance saw it, you love it so much, so I will do a set?

Development: Come on, don't just throw me a virtual machine, MD, I have to redeploy a lot of environments.

Operation and maintenance boss: then use docker + kubernetes to make a set

Operation and maintenance brother: OK, boss! Is it directly deployed on the physical machine?

Operation and maintenance boss: run directly in the IAAS layer built with openstack before, build with virtual machine, easy to manage, so there is no security problem.

Operation and maintenance brother: OK...

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