Container Orchestration Tools - The Tinder of Optimizing Your Applications

Tyler Au
6 min
February 14th, 2023
Tyler Au
6 min
February 14th, 2023

Meet the Different Container Orchestration Platforms

Picture this: you’re on a dating show. 

Think of the Bachelor or the Bachelorette; potential significant others are trying to make the best impression towards you and get that final rose, falling in love in the process.

But this isn’t about finding the perfect someone to spend the rest of your life with, this is about finding the perfect container orchestrator platform to spend the rest of your money and time on.

Choosing a container orchestration service is much like a dating show; you meet someone, learn about them a bit more, and fall in love with them (and their automation capabilities that boost your development and deployment processes tenfold).

For many, Kubernetes has become the go-to option, with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) reporting that in 2021, 96% of organizations were either using Kubernetes or evaluating it. Containers in general weren’t completely out of the limelight, with 93% of organizations either using or evaluating containers in their production cycles.

Love is in the air this month, and it’s the perfect time to fall in love with a container orchestration service. Here are some of the contestants on the The Container Orchestration Dating Show:

Docker - The “Long Walks on the Beach at Sunset” Enthusiast

Docker is a software platform focused on simplifying and expediting developer workflows through the use of containers. Within each container is the user’s software and all its dependencies, allowing an occasionally clunky piece of software to become flexible and agile that’s capable of being run on any infrastructure.

Developed in 2013, this open source platform is a favorite amongst developers because of its hyper flexibility. Docker prides itself on their open source backgrounds, giving developers the ability to use any tools at their disposal, any application stack they’re most comfortable with, and any deployment environment they frequent. This freedom given to developers also translates to the containers managed within Docker; developers can enjoy program isolation for easy isolated debugging and maintenance instead of having to work on the application as a whole. Because of this program isolation, Docker ensures that applications and their respective containers are secured and separated from other containers. In the case of system failure, services are able to return to a desired state, ensuring business continuity. 

Docker’s strengths also lie in their workflow simplification and acceleration. Getting your application out to the people is streamlined with Docker, as their containerization process completely bypasses the need for an OS boot, pushing their deployment to completion in seconds. On the topic of CI/CD, Docker is able to integrate management tools that work in conjunction with each other, making the development process seamless and saving countless hours for developers.

Long walks on the beach are nice; Docker enjoys these long walks, but not really some of these features. For one, Docker requires an external monitoring to quality monitoring. The same methodology to a better functioning feature applies to Docker’s storage capabilities; to better house valuable storage, an external platform or Docker add-on should be a serious consideration. Utilizing Docker and the different pieces within their ecosystem congruently are also notoriously complex, often requiring extra security and infrastructure buffs to bolster those two aspects. On a side note, earning the docker certification is notoriously difficult too- it might be better to hire someone with prior experience rather than pursue the certification in-house.

Rancher - One of the Best Container Orchestration Tools

Meet Rancher: Rancher is an open source container orchestration tool that is capable of deploying and managing new and old Kubernetes clusters. 

Rancher is capable of bringing different ingredients and creating a masterful dish like a chef, combining all of the harder tools to manage and compiling them into a single, convenient interface. Rancher offers users various incentives like cluster management tools, health monitoring, and security management - which are normally scattered across different platforms - all within a single, convenient experience. The cluster-centric attitude of Rancher starts there, too. To best service users and their clusters, Rancher is capable of creating new clusters and adding to existing ones, allows users to switch clusters, and even generates data graphs for cluster metric visualization on request.

Where Rancher shines the most is managing clusters on an immense scale and within the parameters of a team. To start, advanced traffic distribution and DNS service discovery allows clusters and containers to become self-sufficient, removing the unneeded attention to infrastructure maintenance. Teams enjoy Rancher because of its easy-to-use control plane, letting users assign themselves to certain projects and making user management and collaboration simple. 

Like Docker vs Kubernetes, Rancher is more so an attachment to your traditional Kubernetes stack. One of Rancher’s biggest limitations, however, is their cluster compatibility. At the moment of writing, Rancher can only support Kubernetes clusters running on Ubuntu, CentOS, Oracle Linux, SLES, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Windows and Mac operating system users will have a hard, almost impossible time using Rancher. Many Rancher users have also complained about the expert support aspect of Rancher, saying that the service prioritizes the “ease of use” aspect of Kubernetes and the dishing out a diluted support option. Reddit user redtuxter calls Rancher the “Fischer price” of Kubernetes based on the support alone.

OpenShift - Looking for someone to spend their life with

OpenShift is Red Hat’s platforms as a service (PaaS) entry into the container orchestration world. This Kubernetes platform offers the development, deployment, and management of clusters and applications in a neatly wrapped package.

If you were wondering, “OpenShift FIPS compliant” then wonder no longer- OpenShift is not only FIPS compliant but is also known to be the most secure orchestration service in the game. Under a single platform, Red Hat OpenShift hosts development, management, and security operations, with built-in pipelines streamlining development and deployment. OpenShift is also particularly known to work well with AI/ML workflows and in delivering AI-powered applications.

Some benefits of the service PaaS include the dedicated Red Hat support system, the ability to run cloud-native microservices at scale, and its extreme flexibility. OpenShift offers extremely convenient security updates, allowing entire clusters to receive patches within a single button push. The requirements to install OpenShift are extremely base-level, too, requiring a minimum of 8GB of ram and physical or virtual machines

OpenShift knows exactly what they want in a partner, which could be a good or bad thing for you. For one, OpenShift is notoriously expensive. Compared to the other orchestration systems detailed throughout this blog, OpenShift’s support is only Red Hat support, leaving much of the open source advantages out. OpenShift isn’t the most flexible, with only certain OS being able to run in OpenShift. Lastly, OpenShift is seen by many as a tool for Kubernetes pros (or at least those versed in the Kubernetes space), whereas many of the other platforms are beginner friendly and can be simplified even further through managed Kubernetes.

If you’re looking for something exclusive, OpenShift is for you.

Kubernetes - Multi cloud container orchestration at its finest!

Prime time television has conditioned us to wait weeks on end just to reveal the final contestant on a dating show, the one that wins a lifetime with the protagonist. In The Container Orchestration Dating Show, we aim to do so in roughly 4-5 minutes (depending on your reading speed).

That being said, the perfect partner to navigate this confusing container orchestrated world with (or at least we’d like to hope so) is Kubernetes! 

The base model for many of the aforementioned container orchestration systems, Kubernetes (or K8s) is an open-source container orchestration system that focuses primarily on automation, streamlining everything from cluster deploying and managing, to software development and health monitoring.

But why is Kubernetes so valuable in this space?

For one, Kubernetes has a buffet of automated capabilities. Like the swiss-army knife, Kubernetes hosts a plethora of automated features to significantly push your development and deployment to the next level, including automated scaling, automated deployment, and automatic load balancing- just to name a few. The small but mighty Kubernetes cluster itself is extremely self-sufficient too, capable of administering self-healing, health monitoring, and update rollback and rollouts to themselves based on your application and its current needs.

According to Datadog, Kubernetes is the most popular container management system, with its wide adoption being due in large part to its huge open-source support and extremely successful track record. The container tech is also able to run on your favorite private and public cloud, letting you explore different ways to experiment with Kubernetes. Now than ever, more and more of your favorite companies are making the switch to container management, especially to Kubernetes.

The biggest drawback of Kubernetes is its complexity. Operating within Kubernetes is a herculean feat, with many Kubernetes engineers earning around $156,000 a year just to deal with the often convoluted platform. Kubernetes can be the perfect partner for many, but if implemented incorrectly, can be a pain in the a** due to the time and resource sink alone. And before you click off and determine that Kubernetes isn’t for you, there’s a solution that simplifies Kubernetes tenfold, without sacrificing its performance and benefits.

Sometimes, the best relationships and happiest couples need a good support system. And Lyrid Managed Kubernetes can be that good support system for you. By working with us, you’ll be able to have your service running on Kubernetes, receiving some benefits like:

  • Infrastructure automation and modernization, with Lyrid Kubernetes Platform
  • Around-the-clock expert assistance, with 24/7 Dedicated Engineering Support
  • Unstoppable availability worldwide, with the Lyrid Data Center Network

You’re able to remove the complexity and headaches of traditional Kubernetes, while receiving an easier time in managing a powerful system with Lyrid Managed Kubernetes. At the end of the day, Kubernetes is the winner of The Container Orchestration Dating Show.

Break up with your current container orchestration, and swipe right on Lyrid Managed Kubernetes!

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