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Monday, April 22nd, 2019

Secure Your Cloud

Containers, cloud-centric app services boost support for DevOps world

The global application containers market will be worth more than US$2.1 billion in 2019 and more than $4.3 billion in 2022, according to 451 Research. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 30% and reflects the widespread interest in the technology.

Growth in the containers market and ecosystem is driven by increasing enterprise interest to help application developers move faster, manage infrastructure more efficiently and meet digital transformation goals. 451 Research’s study found that about half of enterprise organizations are either using container technologies and orchestrators, such as Docker or Kubernetes, today, or planning to use them in the next two years. 

“The promise of container technologies to increase developer speed, efficiency and portability across hybrid infrastructures, as well as microservices, are all driving growth,” said Jay Lyman, 451 Research principal analyst. Enterprises have applied container-based technologies to a variety of use cases, including management and orchestration, monitoring, DevOps, security, networking and storage. 

Shifting landscape 

The F5 2019 State of Application Services (2019 SOAS) study1 reported that 41% of Asia Pacific organizations are employing containers, and taking advantage of agile development methodologies to deliver applications smarter and faster. Many of these organizations are re-evaluating their structures, processes, and workflows in executing digital transformation. 

IT and operations teamsare increasing their responsiveness to new business opportunities through an automated, cloud-centric application landscape while shifting from monolithic applications to microservices and containers in a DevOps-driven, multi-cloud world.

These changes have led to growing deployments of application services specifically supporting cloud-native and containerized applications. The F5 2019 SOAS report pointed to the rise of containers boosting deployments for software-defined networking (SDN) and API gateways, service meshes, and newly developed cloud-native app services aimed at increasing scalability. 

Beyond common app services such as traffic management, web application firewall, and access security, organizations are supporting containerized multi-cloud deployments with services such as IoT gateways; ingress control (providing HTTP routing); SDN gateways; and API gateways. 

The adoption of DevOps practices is gaining traction in many organization. They are encouraging better communication and increased collaboration between development and IT operations teams. As these organizations strive for agility, so will their adoption of containerized microservices. 

Microservices enable organizations to essentially break down an application into independent, loosely coupled features or functions that can be delivered faster, updated more frequently, and run using lightweight containers. Such a highly maintainable architecture is congruent with the pillars of successful DevOps – continuous integration and continuous delivery in applications development. 

Fitting well together 

This is where a service mesh facilitates internal network communication between containerized microservices. The underlying proxy technology also provides transparent routing to multiple back-end components, Transport Layer Security (TLS) termination, etc, and crosscutting concerns (i.e. logging, security and data transfer) at the edge of systems. This is particularly valuable within an API gateway – the entry point into microservices-based applications from external API clients. 

Further, F5 is introducing a new cloud-native application services platform, specifically designed for the apps your DevOps and AppDev teams care about most. One significant innovation is itsService Mesh incubation, Aspen Mesh.

“While container orchestration tools like Kubernetes have solved microservice build and deploy issues, many runtime challenges remain unsolved,” said Kara Sprague, senior vice president and general manager of Application Services Business Unit at F5. “Our fully supported service mesh makes it easy to manage the complexity of microservice architecture.” 

Currently, F5 Container Connectors (CC) provide platform-native integrations for BIG-IP devices from PaaS providers like Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes, Mesos and OpenShift. Developers interact with the platform’s API; the CCs monitor the API for certain events, then act accordingly. For example, they could dynamically allocate BIG-IP L4-L7 services in container orchestration environments by translating native commands to F5 Python SDK/iControl REST calls.

These capabilities allow independent services to interact with each other through APIs to deliver the functionalities that are typically found in an advanced, feature-rich application.

This is a QuestexAsia blog post commissioned by F5 Networks Asia Pacific.

1A summary of the F5 2019 State of Application Services report focused on the Asia Pacific is available here.