Containers are a great way for organizations to build and deploy apps more quickly and move applications between different environments.
By packaging together with the code and dependencies into a single object, a containerized application can be started instantly and used only as needed, saving significant IT resources.
But containerization isn’t for every organization. Before shifting from virtual machines to containers, organizations should have a clear understanding of the challenges of effectively running containers.
Here are the ten most common challenges we hear from customers about containerizing workloads:
1. Security issues. Because they’re being deployed so fast, mistakes can happen, such as a misconfiguration or bug that can be exploited. Reports of hackers accessing a Kubernetes server without password protection to gain access to sensitive data are just one example of how containerized applications are a security risk if not secured properly.
2. Poor data management practices. As IT environments are becoming more heterogeneous, including the adoption of containers, it’s leading to enterprises having a lack of visibility into where their business-critical data resides, leaving them vulnerable to data loss.
3. Container proliferation. Given that containers can be spun up quickly and used for very specific purposes, containers and container-based microservices have a very short lifespan. A typical Kubernetes container lasts about a day. This means that an IT organization may have to monitor dozens or even hundreds of workloads for security issues, compared to a much smaller number of VMs that could handle the same number of applications.
4. Disaster recovery planning. Containers orchestrated through Kubernetes require a different approach than conventional disaster recovery. Organizations should understand how to automate backups of containerized workloads to save time and ideally back up application data using either persistent storage or a staging area.
5. Skills and talent. It goes without saying that every enterprise would love to have more people skilled in coding and scripting skills. With the rapid adoption of containers, a technology only a few years old, there is a big supply-demand problem in finding people with skills with containerization.
6. Culture change. Along with the need for the right skills, the entire organization needs to adopt DevOps principles, innovate at a rapid pace, and collaborate and communicate at a different level, breaking down silos across development and operations.
7. Technology evolution. Kubernetes and Docker’s orchestration technology continues to evolve to make containers easier to deploy and scale rapidly. It’s a challenge for organizations to keep up with the pace of innovation and new tools and features available.
8. Complexity. As organizations run more containers across different systems and environments, it creates more complexity. Managing it all, and ensuring the availability of applications, consumes valuable time and resources.
9. No clear strategy. Rushing ahead into containerizing workloads without a clear plan can lead to failure and data loss. Organizations should carefully plan container implementation, from evaluating which applications are the best fit for containerization to having a solution that can immediately protect new cloud-based workloads when they come online so that there are no gaps in protection.
10. Multiple data protection platforms. As they build out their Kubernetes clusters alongside their physical servers and virtual machines, IT teams need to use multiple data protection solutions to keep all of their data protected. They should ideally have a unified data protection solution that keeps complexity in check while also helping them securely containerize more applications.
Many of our customers are successfully able to overcome these challenges to reap the benefits of containerization. In our last blog, we weighed the pros and cons of containers versus VMs. Check it out for more insights on containers!
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