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SUSE debuts container platform layered atop Kubernetes

Linux vendor SUSE sees cloud-based containers as a service as a way to manage and orchestrate an explosion in use of application container technology.

Joining the rush to offer container platform services to cloud application developers, Linux distribution provider SUSE is launching the SUSE Containers as a Service Platform.

CaaS is essentially container-based virtualization technology in which container engines, container orchestration and underlying compute resources are delivered as a service from a cloud provider.

SUSE is positioning its CaaS platform as a new addition to its software-defined infrastructure portfolio. The use of application containers has grown fivefold over five years, according to Raj Meel, SUSE global product and solutions marketing manager, necessitating a mechanism for managing the rapid increase. "Containers are about speed for developers," Meel said. "With containers and container management delivered as a service, you empower and better serve your developers."

Containers are finally making the jump from small proof-of-concept projects into permanent production environments, said Jay Lyman, principal analyst at 451 Research for cloud management and containers. "The adoption of container technology is moving faster than we saw with other trends, including platform as a service and DevOps," he said.

Containers are about speed for developers.
Raj Meelglobal product and solutions marketing, SUSE

From the economic perspective that must pass muster with IT decision-makers, it appears that containers are a better option than hardware virtualization, according to Lyman. Among the primary drivers fueling container adoption in enterprise IT is their unique ability to reduce overhead and boost efficiency, he said.

With container technology speeding the development of applications, most companies simply lack the resources to set up and maintain their own secure container management infrastructure, Meel said. "They are busy focusing on building applications that add business value. That's why the time is right for a container infrastructure solution to help deploy new cloud-native, container-based applications, but also progressively migrate traditional legacy apps." The SUSE CaaS Platform, he said, lets IT operations and developers provision, manage and scale container-based applications and services to meet business goals faster.

Container platform components

The SUSE container platform service incorporates orchestration via Kubernetes, microservices and container OS, and configuration as a unified offering. The integration of Kubernetes with the SUSE's container and microservices operating system -- SUSE MicroOS -- is intended to simplify the complexity often encountered in setting up and deploying Kubernetes. An administrator dashboard is provided to aid in the deployment, ongoing management and updating of cluster nodes. SUSE MicroOS is a single-purpose operating system, designed for microservices and containers and optimized for large deployments, Meel said. The word "Micro" signifies microservices.

SUSE's container platform management, delivered through CaaS, reduces an app's time to market by improving availability through self-healing auto-restart; allows apps to run anywhere, including on premises, on bare metal or in the public cloud; and improves security through use of trusted images from the SUSE registry.

CaaS market growing

CaaS is yet another cloud-based application development platform poised for explosive growth, following closely on the heels of API management, microservices and the foundation container technology that is now being rolled into an as-a-service offering. According to a February 2017 market forecast from Infoholic Research, nearly 70% of surveyed organizations expect to implement or evaluate the technology, bringing the CaaS market value from $520 million in 2017 to $4.2 billion in 2023, a compound annual growth rate of 34.8%.

CaaS, of course, is a trailing technology that necessarily follows adoption of containers. The trend is clear: In the separate March 2017 Portworx Annual Container Adoption survey, 32% of respondents indicated their companies plan to spend more than $500,000 on container technology in 2017, a vast increase from just 5% one year earlier.

Other providers of CaaS technology include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Container Service, Microsoft Azure Container Service, Google Container Engine, IBM Bluemix Container Service, CoreOS Tectonic and Triton Compute.

Joel Shore is news writer for TechTarget's Business Applications and Architecture Media Group. Write to him at [email protected] or follow @JshoreTT on Twitter.

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