Running Microservices & Containers faster and lighter on Oracle Bare Metal Cloud
Containers have been called the “third wave of computing,” after the x86 server revolution and virtual machines. Containers are lightweight, portable compute instances and offer better density and compute efficiency per server than VMs. For getting started with containers, there are two ways to host your container environment: on a bare-metal server or inside a virtual machine, which is itself hosted in a bare-metal server. Running Microservices and Containers on VMs is sub-optimal, as it introduces VM tax and creates additional burden and complexity of Hypervisor layer. Whereas containers running on a bare metal brings you all the benefits of bare-metal performance and hardware access, as well as the portability and isolation features of virtual machines
While Containers brings efficiency at the infrastructure layer, Microservices are emerging to be the architecture choice for many digital enterprise applications. There is good reason for this as Microservice architecture breaks an application down into very small parts that perform discrete functions and only those, nothing extra. These units interact with each other using clean messaging style interfaces exposed as APIs. This fine-grained approach authorizes update, add, remove services at a much greater speed than otherwise possible. This is enabling businesses to develop and roll out new services and capabilities faster, making it the obvious choice.
Runtime options for Microservices based applications
While you can run your microservices on single operating system installed on bare metal or virtual machines, they both have serious limitations. In bare metal case we would be either under utilizing the resources – if running one microservice per server, or facing the issue of conflicting library versions and application component due to lack of isolation (multiple microservices per OS). Similar would be the situation with virtual machine environment and to top it, we would have to pay the VM tax.
So the best choice for running a microservices application architecture is containers. Containers encapsulate a lightweight runtime environment for your application, providing necessary isolation while presenting a consistent software environment that can follow the application from the developer’s desktop to testing to final production deployment.
Benefits & things to consider when adopting Containers & Microservices with bare metal Servers
- Better server utilization – you can pack more containers on baremetal vs virtualized infrastructure
- Access to special hardware services connected to baremetal from containers – may not be possible when using virtualization layer
- Better performance of apps – baremetal performance levels
- Isolation and portability can be achieved more efficiently
- Snapshots and rollbacks are also supported by containers
Things to consider:
- Mixing windows containers and linux based containers on same physical hardware is not possible- your orchestration engine should take care of this challenge
Bare metal Cloud Providers:
As far as cloud support for bare metal goes, at present it’s less than a handful of cloud vendors. Rackspace’s bare-metal offering, called OnMetal, has seen its share of success since its launch in October 2014. The other company that’s championing the cause of bare metal is Oracle. Oracle Bare Metal Cloud is also offering support for Docker containers on bare metal providing 100 percent workload isolation. These solutions are expected to improve the performance while bringing the computing cost down compared to the the traditional runtime environments offered by other cloud providers.