UPDATED 11:03 EDT / MAY 29 2020

deepak-singh INFRA

Containers 101: AWS, Docker and how to choose a container service

Containerization is one of the key concepts that fueled the digital revolution and supported the evolution of cloud.

The concept of using OS-level virtualization to deliver software in packages had its start in open-source projects such as Linux-VServer, which evolved into LinuX Containers, or LXC, which in turn was adopted and evolved by Docker Inc.

Today, customers can choose from a complex ecosystem of container-based services, with Kubernetes anchoring them as the default management platform. The popularity is thanks to the efficiencies that containerization provides: The technology is essential to developing applications faster and cheaper.

“You have a hundred different options,” said Deepak Singh (pictured), vice president of compute services at Amazon Web Services Inc. “There’s a whole ecosystem of schedulers and orchestration and security tools and all the things that an enterprise needs to deliver applications using containers.”

Singh spoke with Stu Miniman, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during DockerCon Live. They discussed the evolution of Amazon Web Services Inc. container services and how each addresses a different customer use case, how AWS integrates with Docker, and new developments Singh predicts for the container services. (* Disclosure below.)

The evolution of ECS, EKS and Fargate

The big question for organizations looking at adopting container services for the first time is: “What are you trying to achieve?” Singh said. Those with more complex use cases, such as “trying to corral infrastructure and trying to use an existing virtual machine more effectively” should invest the time in training to understand schedulers and orchestration technologies such as AWS Elastic Container Service and Elastic Kubernetes Service, according to Singh.

But those who “just want to run applications” will be more effective choosing AWS’ serverless compute engine Fargate to remove the need for infrastructure management. Digging deeper into the evolution of ECS, EKS and Fargate, Singh explained how each service spun out of the previous one to address a new customer demand.

For example, EKS was developed in response to the increased popularity of Kubernetes. “As [AWS customers] migrated onto the cloud, they wanted to continue using the same [ECS] toolkit, but they also wanted to not have to manage the complexity of Kubernetes,” he said.

EKS enables a Kubernetes-native experience while tying into the broad AWS ecosystem. “[It] allows us to take care of some of the muck that many customers quite frankly don’t and shouldn’t have to worry about,” Singh added.

Fargate takes the hands-off experience a step further. The service was born from the idea of applying the simplicity of AWS Elastic Compute Cloud, or EC2, to the world of containers. “ From a customer standpoint, all you are launching is a pod or a task or a service. You’re not worrying about which machines I need to get, what types of machines I need to get,” Singh said.

AWS customers are also Docker fans

Pleasing customers means understanding how they work. Developers loyal to Docker benefit from AWS’ understanding of “the simplicity that Docker brings and the sort of ease of use Docker brings for the developer and the developer experience,” Singh said. “People like building Docker files and post files and just being able to launch them.”

AWS and Docker collaborate so that all Docker Compose and Docker Desktop services and applications can be run on AWS.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see how we work with Docker going forward, and how we can continue to give our customers a lot of value, starting from the laptop and then ending up with large-scale services in the cloud,” Singh said.

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of DockerCon Live. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for DockerCon Live. Neither Docker, the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: Deepak Singh

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