Any IT organization that maintains its own data centers and has more than a few server-based applications should consider using containers. They achieve the same type of resource virtualization that virtual servers do without the additional OS licensing, overhead, and complexity. This is not to say that server virtualization has no place in the data center. It is conceivable that both will co-exist with several virtual servers hosting many application containers. Use of containers for production systems should be approached cautiously. The technology is still maturing and the ecosystem is not as well developed as it is for virtual server technology. It is especially important to understand what runtime stacks are supported by a container.
Containers have the potential to provide higher capacity utilization than server virtualization while maintaining resource isolation and ease of migration. The newness of the technology means a cautious approach is in order. As container technology matures and the ecosystem expands, expect that containers will become a regular part of the IT toolkit. This Research Brief can be downloaded as a PDF: 2014-08-18 – Containers – The New Way to Deploy Applications.