Container technology is currently a major trend. Gartner forecasts that by the end of 2022, over three-quarters of organizations will deploy containerized applications in production. This surge in container usage has been paralleled by the rise in container orchestration. Datadog reports that nearly all containers are now orchestrated, with Kubernetes being utilized by more than half of the organizations.
Container orchestration tools have become essential for cloud developers. If your team is considering this, my advice is to definitely proceed. Companies should transition and tailor their applications to leverage container orchestration.
Tenesys frequently aids clients in selecting container orchestrators, and I would like to share some insights on this topic today. My focus will be on two managed options from Amazon – Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and Elastic Container Services (ECS) on Fargate or EC2. I will also briefly touch upon other options. But first, let’s address a crucial question.
Why is container orchestration software necessary?
Containers, being lightweight and portable, offer an effective method for developing, packaging, and deploying software. They can operate in any environment, cloud or operating system, facilitating the deployment and movement of applications without extensive code rewrites.
This enhances productivity and accelerates development, especially in microservices. However, their versatility can pose challenges in production.
For large-scale systems, a containerized application with microservices might require managing hundreds or thousands of containers. Container orchestration streamlines this operational complexity, incorporating automation for various tasks, thereby enhancing system resilience and security by minimizing human error.
The leading container orchestration tools The container orchestrator market is continuously expanding. Prominent names include Kubernetes, Mesos, Docker Swarm, Rancher, Openshift, DigitalOcean Kubernetes Service, and Hashicorp Nomad. Also notable are services from hyperscalers like AKS from Azure, GKE from Google, and Amazon’s ECS and EKS.
There are additional tools based on Kubernetes, freeing teams from installing and maintaining their own control planes. Choosing the best one depends on your specific needs, overall concept, and the tool’s configurability and simplicity.
Here are some considerations for selecting the right tool, focusing on ECS and EKS, but applicable to other orchestrators as well.
ECS or EKS: Which is the optimal choice for you?
#1: Simplicity or flexibility?
Determine whether you prefer simplicity or adaptability in a tool. Each orchestrator offers unique features, but the main aim is to streamline your system’s operations. ECS facilitates container management at scale, while EKS is tailored for Kubernetes. Both expedite building and deploying applications and enhance configuration of security and scalability. Both ECS and EKS offer the option of using your own servers or AWS Fargate, which is efficient and reduces legacy issues. However, EKS provides more configuration options than ECS and has a larger online community for problem-solving support.
#2: Deployment and migration
Consider how to set up and migrate your system if necessary. AWS ECS is designed specifically for AWS, meaning it’s confined to Amazon’s infrastructure and cannot be moved to other cloud providers or on-premises. However, consider if this is a limitation for you. If AWS’s functionalities meet your needs, this may not be an issue. In contrast, EKS, based on Kubernetes, offers broader migration possibilities, allowing you to transfer your apps between different Kubernetes orchestrators, whether managed or self-hosted. Identifying your needs early in the project is crucial for making the right choices.
#3: Responding to new business demands
Businesses aim for maximum availability and stability in applications and systems, as users demand faster content delivery than ever. Creating a cluster alone is insufficient. Applications and their infrastructure require detailed configuration, and expert knowledge (ideally from a certified AWS partner) is necessary. The major cloud providers offer tools and computing power previously unattainable, reflecting the rapid evolution of the Internet. To stay competitive, businesses must adapt, and container orchestration tools can support this.
#4: Container monitoring
After setting up a container orchestrator and configuring your app, what happens if something goes wrong? The answer lies in modern-day ‘ghostbusters’, or DevOps engineers. DevOps monitoring is crucial, regardless of your technology choices. Continuous OnDuty support and a monitoring tool are essential for identifying app issues and releasing improvements.