How to Choose the Best Container Orchestration Tools for Your Business2022-09-05 10:19:44
Containers are all the hype. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2022, more than 75% of organisations will be running containerised applications in production.
The rise of containers has gone hand in hand with another trend – container orchestration. According to Datadog, almost all containers are now orchestrated, with Kubernetes used by over half of organisations.
Container orchestration tools are now becoming standard fare for cloud developers. So if your team is considering it, I can only say: Go for it! Companies should migrate and adapt their applications to take advantage of container orchestration.
Tenesys often assists clients in choosing container orchestrators, so today I’d like to share some thoughts on this. I will focus on the two managed options from Amazon – Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and Elastic Container Services (ECS) on Fargate or EC2.
However, there are many more, and I’ll discuss them briefly, too. But before we dive into it, let’s consider one vital question.
Why do you need container orchestration software?
Lightweight and portable, containers offer an efficient way to build, package, and deploy software. They can run in any environment, cloud or operating system, so teams can move and deploy them without having to rewrite large amounts of code.
This quality increases the productivity and speed of your development processes, particularly in microservices.
However, what makes them so versatile, can also prove problematic in production. Paired with microservices, a containerised application might require operating hundreds or thousands of containers, especially in large-scale systems.
Container orchestration simplifies that operational complexity for development and operations. It embraces automation to accomplish numerous tasks and, as a result boosts your system’s resilience and security by reducing the odds of human error.
The most popular container orchestration tools
Unsurprisingly, the market of container orchestrators is ever-growing.
Some of the most popular names include Kubernetes, Mesos, Docker Swarm, Rancher, Openshift, DigitalOcean Kubernetes Service, and Hashicorp Nomad. You must have also heard of the services from hyperscalers: AKS from Azure, GKE from Google, and Amazon’s ECS and EKS.
Of course, you can find even more tools based on Kubernetes, which can liberate your team from the need to install and maintain their own control plane.
So which one will be best for you? The answer is, of course, that it depends. The most important matters to factor in include your requirements, general concept, and the tool’s configurability and simplicity.
So here are some points for consideration if you want to pick the right tool for the job. As mentioned, I’ll focus on ECS and EKS, but the general thought process is also valid for evaluating other container orchestrators.
ECS or EKS: which container orchestrator will be best for you?
#1: Simplicity or flexibility?
The first thing to establish is if you want a tool that’s simple or more adaptable to all different types of tasks you may need to tackle. Each container orchestrator has unique features, but the overall goal is clear – streamline your entire system’s operations.
ECS allows managing containers at scale, while EKS deals specifically with Kubernetes. Both are great for accelerating the process of building and deploying applications as well as improving the configuration of security levels and scalability management.
Both ECS and EKS let you use your own servers or turn to AWS Fargate, which works well and frees you from legacy issues.
However, EKS gives you more configuration capabilities than ECS and has a large online community which can support you in solving many challenges.
#2: Deployment and migration
The second crucial question is about getting it up and running and migrating should the need arise.
The answer is simple. AWS ECS was created by AWS for AWS. Choosing it means that you stay within the limits of Amazon infrastructure and won’t be able to move it to other cloud providers or on-prem.
But then an important thing to ask yourself is why would you even want that? If the service’s functionalities are sufficient – and AWS gives you plenty of choices – I don’t think this matter is even relevant.
Unlike ECS, EKS uses Kubernetes as its basis, giving you greater migration possibilities. You can move your apps between different Kubernetes orchestrators, whether in a managed cloud service or self-hosted.
That’s why it’s essential to identify your needs from the project outset – this will enable you to make the right choices.
#3: New business demands
Currently, businesses are striving for the highest possible availability and stability of applications and systems. They have to do it as their users expect getting content faster than ever before.
Bear in mind that just creating a cluster doesn’t cut it. The application and its entire infrastructure require detailed configuration, so expert knowledge is also necessary (ideally, from a certified AWS partner!)
The big three cloud providers, tools, and computing power unattainable even a few years back demonstrate how fast the Internet has been evolving. Businesses need to keep up with these changes if they want to stay in the game – and container orchestration tools can support them in this pursuit.
#4: Container monitoring
So you’ve got a container orchestrator, created a system, configured the app, and suddenly something stops working. What do you do or, to cite the hit song from the famous Ghostbusters series, “Who you gonna call?”
The solution is to call modern ghostbusters, that is, DevOps engineers.
DevOps monitoring of any system is an essential element of the equation. Regardless of your technology choices, you’ll need OnDuty support 24/7 and a monitoring tool to help you spot app problems and release further improvements.
Development is key, so now that you’ve got all the elements in place, including monitoring, you surely want to know what happens next. I will tell you more about this in my next post, but for now, let me just leave you with one keyword: microservices.
Gartner Forecasts Strong Revenue Growth for Global Container Management Software and Services Through 2024
About the author: Mateusz Grządzielski, almost 10 years of experience in IT. He’s worked at all tech support positions – from a specialist to a team leader now.
At Tenesys, he is in charge of the DevOps Engineers team, focusing on clients’ projects and the whole team’s good vibe. Besides from the IT side, Mateusz is studying at Poznan Economic University and leading his own business.