One of the biggest trends in application development in the past few years has been the dramatic rise in popularity of application containerization technologies, such as Docker. With containers, applications are packaged in semi-isolated environments with all the dependencies and libraries they need. Developers love containerized applications because they run the same everywhere and are easy to test-deploy, which helps to iterate quickly through development cycles.

Containers are also growing in importance because they do a great job of supporting another emerging trend –microservices– which many consider to be the future standard in global-scale applications. As we wrote in our previous post on microservices, a microservice is a modular, self-contained piece of a larger application. Each microservice, or piece, has its own codebase that carries out a specific process. Those individual processes, which ideally are each containerized, then all work together to create the complete application.

Containers may be on the upswing, but today’s software-defined datacenters, management tools, and IT processes are still largely structured around virtual machines, not containers. This situation presents a challenge for many DevOps engineers and IT ops teams. How can today’s data centers add support for containers in the most frictionless way possible?

A Peaceful and Productive Coexistence, Courtesy of VMware, Dell EMC, and Intel

VMware has introduced a compelling technology to answer this problem, and in collaboration with Dell EMC and Intel, they have validated a specific way to implement it successfully. The new technology is called vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC), and it’s a software add-on to VMware’s popular cloud platform, vSphere. The magic of VIC is that it allows containers to run seamlessly alongside VMs, essentially eliminating the barriers for running containers in vSphere environments.

The release of a powerful new software add-on to vSphere is certainly a step forward, but before enterprises can deploy any such technology in a production environment, they need a validated solution that includes all the software and the hardware needed to realize the promise of VIC. And indeed, that’s what the three-way collaboration has achieved. The combined VMware, Dell EMC, and Intel solution uses stable technology and validated, real-world solutions to empower organizations to take full advantage of the benefits of a containerization, without investing in a much more expensive appliance.

The do-it-yourself (DIY) solution lets organizations easily run and manage VMs and containers side-by-side. It doesn’t require an overhaul of existing infrastructures, and it doesn’t require managing separate, isolated architectures—one for VMs and one for containers. Instead, it lets both VMs and containers run on a single, unified framework.

The validated solution uses a software stack called VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) along with VIC to create an entire managed cloud platform in which containers appear as VMs and are fully integrated into the vSphere environment and its management tools. VCF combines VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN, and VMware NSX into a robust platform for a software-defined datacenter. The component of VIC is used to make Docker containers appear as VMs.

From a hardware perspective, these software components run on specific Dell EMC servers and are powered by Intel technologies.

The Best of Both Worlds and Hassle-Free

The VMware, Dell EMC, and Intel solution is surprisingly easy to deploy. The single-rack solution is imaged through a software utility called the VMware Cloud Foundation imaging appliance (VIA). Then VMware SDDC Manager automates the process of bringing up VCF in as little as two hours.[i]

Learn More About the VMware, Dell EMC, and Intel Technology–based Solution for Running Containers Side-by-Side with VMs

You can read more about the VMware, Dell EMC, and Intel technology–based solution for running containers side-by-side with VMs in the “Deploy Containers and VMs Together on a Validated Solution from VMware, Dell EMC, and Intel” solution brief. You can also access a full reference architecture, “A Secure, Unified Cloud Platform to Host Both VM-based and Container-based Applications,” on the Intel Builder’s website.

If you’re looking to have similar resources created for your own solutions, contact Prowess Consulting.

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[i] VMware. “VMware Cloud Foundation Overview and Bring-Up Guide.” 2017. https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-Foundation/2.1.3/vcf-21-ovdeploy-guide.pdf.

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