Welcome!

@DevOpsSummit Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Aruna Ravichandran

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Docker Abstraction for PaaS By @ActiveState | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

One of the promises of PaaS has always been to support developers in doing that thing that they do well

Is Docker the Right Abstraction for PaaS?

Docker has been quickly adopted by nearly everyone and incorporated into everything from cloud technologies, to continuous integration and build systems, to solo developers working exclusively on their laptop. Heck, even Microsoft is getting in on this! It was born in PaaS (dotCloud) and this is the place where it makes a lot of sense. Ephemeral fast-starting single-process containers that can be distributed across a large cluster is where Docker shines.

Docker has been Stackato's container implementation for a year now, responsible for provisioning and managing the life-cycle of who knows how many Linux containers. The next question is how do we start exposing Docker features to end users, rather than having them as an unexposed implementation detail. These features bring portability with a simple packaging mechanism for building and distributing an application in a consistent way across not only a specific PaaS, but anywhere that Docker runs.

Docker seems like the obvious choice for PaaS. Engineers building PaaS solutions are excited by it and many developers are banging down the door demanding it. There is no doubt every PaaS worth its salt will, at some point in the near future, implement mechanisms for developers to drop in their pre-built Docker images - or at least a Dockerfile.

But let's take a step back from this euphoria for a minute and look at the bigger picture. Is this really the right abstraction for developers? Docker brings a lot to the table, but as with everything there are pros and cons. So what do we lose here?

One of the promises of PaaS has always been to support developers in doing that thing that they do well. They write application code. An experienced JavaScript, Python, Go, Ruby or Java programmer will be able to tell you all the quirks and pitfalls of that language. They will be able to build almost anything you can imagine given the right unreasonable deadline. A great software developer will be able to choose the best programming language for the job. What developers are not necessarily good at, and shouldn't have to be, is taking a bare metal or virtual machine and building up the software stack that supports their code. PaaS has solved this issue and through standardization on Buildpacks, we have given an abstraction that can be broken or changed whenever needed.

There are open-source Buildpacks for most programming languages (even COBOL!). These have been built and evolved by experts in those languages. The Buildpacks deal with the low-level system dependencies and everything about configuring the runtime on which to run these applications. Low-level system dependencies should never be the concern of the software developer. Cloud Foundry based PaaSes, like Stackato, also remove the need for developers to know or care about what a Buildpack actually is. The administrator of the cluster can install all the commonly used language and framework stacks via Buildpacks, and the PaaS will select the best Buildpack for the job - this is mechanism of the Buildpacks themselves, not the PaaS.

With Docker, in regards to PaaS support, we are expecting developers to bring their own pre-built Docker images. This unfortunately means that we are going backwards and now telling developers that they must create their stack themselves outside of the platform. The low-level system dependencies within the container are once again in the domain of the developer. Time spent figuring this stuff out is redundant, not the best use of this engineers expertise and therefore prone to error.

There are mechanisms and evolving best-practices for building Docker images that provide certain software stacks, removing the onus on developers to understand the low-level details. Some of these solutions are close to, or leverage, Buildpacks themselves. This is the right direction, but still requires systems that are outside of the consistent managed platform of PaaS and this leads to potential fragmentation across a large organization.

The second issue with Docker images being built outside of the PaaS should concern Operations teams the most. Vulnerabilities are a growing fact of life in managing deployed software. We have seen many this year. When a vulnerability is announced Operations need to know two things: 1) are we affected 2) if so, how do we patch our systems quickly?

One direction that Buildpack development is going is with meta-data accountability. Currently, a Buildpack will look at the application code, decide which dependencies need to be installed and install them. After that, knowledge of what is installed in that container is lost. Retaining this information will be very powerful moving forward. For instance, as a PaaS administrator I should be able to query the system to find out exactly which applications are running a specific version of the Ruby or Java runtime binaries. Having this information at your fingertips the second that a vulnerability is announced will be incredibility powerful.

When we package our Docker images outside of the system and pass it into the PaaS, we're essentially giving the Operations team a black box and there is no easy way for them to determine all the things that may be installed in that black box. This is a big problem for a large scale organization when a serious vulnerability is announced. These are concerns that ActiveState are thinking about and we currently use Buildpacks to solve this issue. Unfortunately, we see few solutions here with Docker images, yet.

I see most PaaSes supporting both Docker images and Buildpacks for the near future. The demand for exposing Docker integration and the flexibility that Docker provides makes this a no-brainer. But Buildpacks still show a great deal of value and as we see enterprise-grade features such as accountability being built into Buildpacks. Therefore, it will be up to the enterprise as to which solution works better for them.

The post Is Docker the Right Abstraction for PaaS? appeared first on ActiveState.

More Stories By Phil Whelan

Phil Whelan has been a software developer at ActiveState since early 2012 and has been involved in many layers of the Stackato product, from the JavaScript-based web console right through to the Cloud Controller API. He has been the lead developer on kato, the command-line tool for administering Stackato. His current role at ActiveState is Technology Evangelist.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@DevOpsSummit Stories
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous architectural and coordination work to minimize the volatility of the cloud environment and leverage the security features of the cloud to the benefit of the CICD pipeline.
Microsoft Azure Container Services can be used for container deployment in a variety of ways including support for Orchestrators like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Mesos. However, the abstraction for app development that support application self-healing, scaling and so on may not be at the right level. Helm and Draft makes this a lot easier. In this primarily demo-driven session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, a Cloud Solutions Architect/Evangelist at Microsoft, will cover Docker Swarm and Kubernetes deployments on Azure with some simple examples. He will look at Helm and Draft and how they can simplify app development significantly, like app scaling, rollback, etc. Helm is a tool that streamlines installing and managing Kubernetes applications, like the apt/yum/homebrew for Kubernetes. Draft works with pre-provided charts to deploy the apps via Helm.
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with legacy components, and also go over automated capabilities provided by operators to auto-update Kubernetes with zero downtime for current and secure deployments.
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost and increase in speed. Sometimes in order to reduce complexity teams compromise features or change requirements
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual business failure.
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. That means serverless is also changing the way we leverage public clouds. Truth-be-told, many enterprise IT shops were so happy to get out of the management of physical servers within a data center that many limitations of the existing public IaaS clouds were forgiven. However, now that we’ve lived a few years with public IaaS clouds, developers and CloudOps pros are giving a huge thumbs down to the ...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering management. To date, IBM has launched more than 50 cloud data centers that span the globe. He has been building advanced technology, delivering “as a service” solutions, and managing infrastructure services for the past 20 years.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http://www.ryobi-sol.co.jp/en/.
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: implement always-vigilant DNS security
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using new techniques such as feature flagging, rollouts, and traffic splitting, experimentation is no longer just the future for marketing teams, it’s quickly becoming an essential practice for high-performing development teams as well.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and business benefits that cloud bursting provides, including increased compute capacity, lower IT investment, financial agility, and, ultimately, faster time-to-market.
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable? Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, will answer these questions and demonstrate techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and cost-effective resources on AWS, coupled with the ability to deliver a minimum set of functionalities that cover the majority of needs – without configuration complexity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we've helped public, private and nonprofit organizations implement technology solutions that speed and simplify their operations. As one of the fastest growing IT solution providers in the country, we have gained a reputation for effortless implementations with relentless follow-through and enduring support.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating systems, programming languages and microprocessors. Their elite team has collectively earned dozens of patents, three film credits and grown record setting businesses. And collectively, they've shipped more than 2 billion licensed products. They are difference makers who have a reputation for delivering innovative products and accomplishing what many others don't believe is even possible. They are ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their associated CPUs, memory storage and network) into one or more large servers capable of handling the biggest Big Data problems and most unpredictable workloads.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, will describe how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launching of virtual storage services to its enterprise market.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant that knows everything and can respond to your emotions and verbal commands!
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing, CA Technologies. "It's this results-driven combination of technology and business that makes me so passionate about DevOps and its future in the industry. I am truly honored to take on this co-chair role, and look forward to working with the DevOps Summit team at Cloud Expo and attendees to advance DevOps."