April 28, 2017

As critical as container orchestration itself might be, most IT organizations view that capability as the means to a larger end. To drive that point home even further, Mesosphere this week has released an update to its DC/OS platform that provides access to more than 100 different data services based on containers, all deployable via a single click. Those services span everything from data services based on offerings from Alluxio, DataStax, Couchbase, Elastic and Redis Labs to message queues and analytics engines.

While other container orchestration platforms might have broader vendor support, Ed Hsu, vice president of product marketing, says DC/OS hosts more containers running in production environments than any other platform. A recent survey of slightly fewer than 500 users of Mesosphere found that 62 percent of the respondents are running containers in a production environment.

Mesosphere is now extending the Marathon containers orchestration engine in DC/OS out to a range of third-party applications via a DC/OS Partner SDK that makes it easier for software developers to leverage the container orchestration engine that Mesosphere has embedded in DC/OS.

In general, Hsu says, IT organizations are making it clear that they need platforms that go well beyond merely orchestrating containers and images. Applications running in production environments require access to a full range of services that IT operations teams need to be able to manage at scale, he says. Container orchestration engines such as Kubernetes may meet the requirements of an individual developer, but most IT operations teams are looking manage multiple applications accessing hundreds of services that all need to be centrally managed, says Hsu.

Of course, DC/OS is more complex to implement than a standalone orchestration engine. Because of that issue most DC/OS use occurs in higher-end enterprise IT environments. But Mesopshere claims to be gaining traction among smaller IT organizations as well. In the survey conducted, 43 percent of the respondents worked for companies with fewer than 200 employees. Overall, Mesosphere says 63 percent of the respondents have been using some form of a Mesos cluster in their data centers for less than a year.

For the better part of a year now Mesosphere has been making a case for a new Container 2.0 era. Rather than employing containers to build comparatively simple stateless applications Mesophere contends the time has come to deploy a platform capable of deploying stateless and stateful applications based on microservices. Just as importantly, Mesosphere notes that platform needs to be able to scale to meet the requirements of any type of data large or small, including applications based on frameworks such as Apache Spark or Kafka. In fact, Mesosphere reports that 68 percent of the respondents to its survey are running data services and analytics on its platform.

Mesosphere might not yet have the broad industry support that other platforms enjoy. But as usage of microservices based on containers continues to mature many of the issue that Mesosphere has been championing are about to become a whole lot more significant.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.