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Building a Private Cloud with Containers: The Learning Curve

Within the IT community and outside of it there is growing interest in private and hybrid cloud architectures. Many organizations are considering, or already building, a virtualized infrastructure to achieve something like a public cloud on Azure or AWS, only on-premises using in-house resources.

 

In the days when VMware was the go-to virtualization technology, vRealize/vCloud was the obvious choice for orchestrating a private cloud, and later, it was OpenStack. Today, with the growing hype around container technologies, you would very likely consider using Kubernetes and Docker to set up a private cloud.

 

The discussion about whether to use virtual machines or containers has been going on for quite some time. Many questions have been raised regarding container setup and management, security, or about which applications are a better fit for containerization. More specifically, Robert Eriksson asks how complex Docker really is, while Kiran Oliver wonders whether Kubernetes is where is gets tricky – check out my recent post in which I show that Kubernetes isn't as difficult as it used to be.

When it comes to building a private cloud infrastructure, containers, which are easier to run on their own virtual machines, are considered a recommended strategy – especially compared to public cloud. But orchestrating containers to create a private cloud is a formidable task, and very few IT professionals have gained this experience.

 

Becoming a container expert isn't easy, and while more and more courses can be found online, official training isn't widely available yet: Docker only recently launched its online courses, and The Linux Foundation's Kubernetes certification is fairly new. Most people still resort to the Internet to find solutions, techniques and best practices. Adding private cloud to the equation – due to the enormous complexity of the private cloud stack – only increases the learning curve.

 

The team at Stratoscale – maker of Symphony, a tool that sets up a private cloud with AWS-like capabilities on your local machines in minutes – took on a project to make the world of private cloud and containers more accessible. They built the Private Cloud Wiki – the first knowledge hub that collects all the relevant information on private cloud technology from around the world, and organizes it in a meaningful structure:

The wiki started with an intensive 6-month research project – the first stage was building a tree of over 200 sub-topics around private cloud, including private cloud architecture; private cloud platforms; containers in cloud infrastructure like Kubernetes and Docker; Cloud Management Platforms; virtualization strategies for private clouds; and modern data center architecture.

 

The Stratoscale team collected over 100,000 web pages that cover these subjects, hand-picked the most relevant ones for each category, and divided them into “content types” such as How To, Case Studies, Real Life Examples, Vendor Information, Product Comparisons, and so on.

 

The wiki is still in its infancy with around 60 content pages, and new category pages are added on a weekly basis.

 

A central realization behind the wiki is that Stratoscale, although it employs some of the world’s top cloud computing experts, realized that they aren’t the only ones writing about the space, and in many parts of this field there are others who are more specialized. They decided to bring all these community voices to the front stage and let visitors learn from a large variety of sources – even those of their direct competitors. I'm quite sure this new community resource can save a lot of time and help many professionals in our industry become much more familiar with container technologies and modern cloud infrastructure.

 

Check it out at: http://wiki.stratoscale.com

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