Jelastic – Delivering Containers to the DevOps Universe

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Ann Sheridan from IBM Systems Middleware  recently caught up with Jelastic CEO Ruslan Synstsky to talk about hybrid cloud adoption, Jelastic’s use of containers technology and the benefits of hybrid cloud with containers.

The article was originally published at IBM blog.

Ann: First let’s talk about hybrid cloud – how widely are you seeing it actually being used?    

Ruslan: Hybrid cloud is when you run your workloads across a mix of environments. That includes private data centers, and public clouds, which might be offered by different vendors running in different regions. It allows the division of critical IT services and non-critical IT services between private and public environments, giving a user the security of a private offering and the low cost of a public one. Also, the notion of hybrid cloud includes the ability to move workloads from one cloud to another.   

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We see clients starting to use hybrid cloud to lower costs, be more agile and to improve services by running workloads closer to their users.  For security or governance reasons, some customers need to leave some apps and data in their private data center but for other apps and data, they want the agility of running on public cloud.  With public cloud there is a wide range of services and price points to choose from. For example, a client might choose to run on less expensive infrastructure for non-critical workloads and spend more for critical workloads.

One of the most common use cases I see for hybrid cloud is with customers starting to move their development and test environments to a public cloud to reduce costs and improve agility, but continue to run production workloads in their own private data centers to ensure the highest levels of performance and security.

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Hybrid cloud can also provide a way for companies to:   

  • enter new markets by establishing regional presence
  • improve response time by running workloads closer to the users  
  • keep sensitive data protected by running on private cloud but running less critical data and apps on lower-cost public cloud
  • cost effectively acquire additional IT capacity temporarily through cloud bursting
  • improve disaster recovery and high availability capabilities across multiple data centers

IBM provides some really good solutions for hybrid cloud.  IBM SoftLayer offers infrastructure as a service in data centers around the world, providing local access. IBM Bluemix offers platform as a service solutions built on IBM SoftLayer. IBM PureSystems offer a turnkey solution for both private and public cloud. Our Jelastic solution is built on top of these solutions and easily integrates to provide a ready to run solution for hosting and managed service providers.

Ann: Doesn’t hybrid cloud make things even more complicated?

Ruslan: Yes, it can and this is where Jelastic helps by removing the pain of workload migration across regions in a hybrid cloud. When we created this solution, the mission we had in mind was to remove barriers by making complex things simple.

A hybrid cloud solution is designed to complement, not replace an existing data center, service or infrastructure. It enables more control over portability and scalability of applications and data, faster network connections, cost benefits, improved security, resiliency, and disaster recovery by using multiple partners and it helps enterprises have an exit strategy due to its low cost of entry.

Ann: What are the most important things clients should consider as they move to hybrid cloud?  

Ruslan: Hybrid cloud is particularly valuable for dynamic or highly changeable workloads.

Security is also a key criteria. With a hybrid cloud, sensitive applications and data can be hosted internally, while non-critical components and information can be hosted externally. The ability to dictate where the data resides is key for organizations that have to address security or compliance.

High availability and disaster recovery are also important considerations. With a multi-region feature, disaster recovery and high availability is achieved across multiple data centers.

Finally, flexibility is important. Organizations are looking for fast and agile deployment models, flexible scaling for stateless and state full applications, collaboration and access control tools, billing and business analytics tools, while driving down TCO with high density and hardware utilization.

Ann: So how do containers fit into the picture?

Ruslan: Achieving true application portability is one of the key challenges in a hybrid cloud environment. You need to be able to move workloads easily, without change, across private and public cloud landscapes, without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. Containers make this possible.

But you need to be sure you select the right container platform. There are several different container solutions that are production ready. IBM offers IBM Containers on Bluemix based on Docker Containers.  

Ann: How are you using containers in your Jelastic solution?

Ruslan: At Jelastic we offer a container based platform for DevOps because this mix helps companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. Along with our world-wide partner ecosystem, we have been using containers as a basis in our system for several years and are confident that the solution is production-ready.  

Containers virtualization allows hosting service partners to get much better density and put many more applications on the same hardware, compared to virtual machines, without performance degradation for end customers. Because containers are much slimmer compared to VMs and more elastic, unused resources can be shared across other applications. Properly configured containers can work on top of bare metal hardware without compromising security. It gives the best return on investment and delivers on the original promise of containers, related to high density and utilization. Container auto-scaling features allow applications to scale dynamically up and down, in and out using only the resources it needs, without over-provisioning.

Ann: Can you provide some examples of customers who are using hybrid cloud with containers and describe the types of benefits they are achieving?

Ruslan: Our customers and partners are intrigued, motivated and very excited about using hybrid cloud. The approach of combining their data centers and external clouds enables them to cover more markets, resulting in more revenue and growth, as well as providing their customers with faster response times which increases retention and customer satisfaction. Many of our hosting providers and systems integrators are interested in a hybrid solution because they can attract enterprise large-scale customers by offering them isolated Virtual Private Clouds (VPC) within one hybrid cloud to distribute their workloads.

Conclusion

Thanks to Ann for taking the time to chat with Ruslan!

We provide a fully functional turnkey platform with Jelastic Cloud already installed and features such as:

  • Automatic Horizontal and Vertical Scaling
  • Docker Support
  • Clustered Solutions with Multi-nodes
  • High-Availability
  • Application Lifecycle Management
  • Custom and Jelastic SSL (in just a few clicks)
  • Zero-code-changes and NO Vendor Lock-in
  • Marketplace (one-click installation)
  • SSH Access
  • Multi-region support within several data centers

Use additional regions from external clouds like IBM SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and AWS in case of a temporary burst, with no need to invest in hardware for variable loads. Gain disaster recovery and high availability across multiple data centers by moving workloads across various clouds.

If you are a cloud hosting provider, systems integrator or an enterprise, you can evaluate Jelastic to see the benefits of our multi-region solution. An infrastructure can be split into different regions and advanced applications can be tested across many variables. Install in hours, test for weeks.

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