How to Adapt Your Data Center for Containers

By Les Washington

Apr 20, 2021 10:00:00 AM

About 8 minutes

Containers have become a popular way to run applications because their portability increases the flexibility and agility of the way companies use applications. With companies increasingly turning to the cloud, containers provide a way of developing and running cloud-native applications by providing an operating environment that supports microservices  

Organizations that want to adopt containers need to adapt their data center architecture to accommodate them. Containers present data storage and networking challenges that need to be met by the supporting architecture.  

SDxCentral identified the adoption of cloud-native workloads as a key driver for the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) market. HCI provides an ideal supporting environment for containers because it is flexible and can handle the storage and network management challenges presented by containers. 

Container Challenges

Creating and deploying containers requires an agile approach. Container creation is highly automated and the development, testing, and deployment process takes place quickly. Infrastructure must be able to scale rapidly to meet the requirements of the development process. 

Containers may require persistent storage, leading to data storage and management challenges. The dynamic nature of containers and microservices makes them subject to migration by container orchestrationmaking it necessary to provision and release data volumes rapidly. The development and testing process also makes storage requirements fluctuate. 

Containers heavily rely on networking capabilities. Containers must serve as self-contained data environments while maintaining connectivity. Loads need to be balanced so that containers have the bandwidth they need to function. Balancing loads for containers can be tricky because they are transient and their lifecycles are variabledepending on the workload demands and application type, making network latency unacceptable 

Why Choose HCI for Containers? 

HCI provides an ideal environment for containers because containers function similarly to virtual machines (VMs)Containers supply the virtualization without requiring a dedicated instance of an operating system, and HCI provides the hardware. 

For example, Nutanix allows companies to provision VMs that can host and run containers. Hosting containers on Nutanix makes it possible to migrate containers and enables persistent storage for containers.  

HCI also has many of the characteristics of the public cloud, making it suitable for the cloud-native operations associated with containers. Like public cloud, HCI is easily scalable and empowers your company to scale storage, compute, and networking simultaneously to meet the needs of your containerized workloads.  

Meeting Container Storage and Performance Demands

The storage and data management capabilities built into HCI help overcome the challenges of accessing storage for the containers. Not only can Nutanix automatically scale data storage, but it can also pool and tier storage to make it more easily accessible to containers. Nutanix even offers a dedicated infrastructure for Kubernetes, an orchestration solution for containers.  

HCI provides the orchestration needed to run containers effectively. By using software to separate the control layer from the hardware layer, HCI provides the automation needed for the load balancing and traffic management associated with containers. 

Supporting Your Containers

Containers have transformed the way companies develop and use applications by putting all the things applications need to run in one package so they can move between running environments. This transformation necessitates another transformation: that of the data center.  

ProActive Solutions offers leading HCI solutions so your company can adopt containers and support them with the right data center technology. We partner with Nutanix and Dell EMC, both leaders in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for HCI. We have the specialized knowledge needed to help your company evaluate HCI, develop a roadmap for implementation, and lay the groundwork for adopting new technologies such as containers. 

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Tags: Hyperconverged Infrastructure, HCI, Nutanix, containers, data center infrastructure, VxRail, Dell, cloud-native applications