Why Do Microcontainers Matter in Your Enterprise?
Learn more about microcontainers and how they are important for your organization.
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The global enterprise software market demonstrated significant growth in recent years with its global revenue projected to reach a staggering US$243.30bln in 2022.
Today, regardless of its size or industry, each organization uses enterprise software in its day-to-day routine. Moreover, this software serves various goals. Software application components carry on the different functional areas of responsibility and should deliver smooth operation to complex systems.
As a result of the modern complexity, there has been one evident change in both enterprise structure and software development: a shift from the traditional monolithic approach to a modular structure.
With an increased volume of services and products on the market, businesses also compete in service quality. Therefore, the request for the software differs tremendously from what it was just a few years ago.
This new reality of an enterprise environment is not possible on legacy monolithic platforms. Managing the complexity became a new challenge, which can be conquered via modular architecture. To provide clarity, a modular architecture can be thought of as a monolithic platform where the monolith is divided into components that can be individually manipulated.
The Demand for Modular Structure in Business
The Java ecosystem has shifted and evolved in parallel with the enterprises’ needs.
This shift in the Java ecosystem to the modular structure means that software engineering is progressively working on microcontainers, microservices, APIs, and other solutions that match contemporary business needs. Software modularity is reflected in the decomposition of a program into smaller programs, Java has kept up with this by positioning itself for the future with advancements in AOT compilers and prioritizing resource efficiency in recent and future JDK builds.
The latest tech solutions in microcontainers lie within the same concept of modular structures. Microcontainers’ development is getting more attention lately due to the growing demand from industry professionals to have improved latencies, reduction in cloud resource usage, and smoother customer experiences.
The move to small containers was inspired by large containers underperforming at scale. The larger the container, the less sustainable and efficient it is. For example, it takes longer to launch an application in a large container as it requires more RAM. A good solution to boost productivity, scalability, and efficiency of operations lies in decreasing container size. Moving towards smaller sizes in containers is an obvious step forward. So far, the smallest containers and the most popular have been those based on Alpine Linux.
One of the most significant refinements for the OpenJDK project has been accomplished by the BellSoft team in regard to Alpine Linux. The innovation, from JEP 386, integrates the Portola Project into Upstream OpenJDK. Portola Project is a port that allows OpenJDK to run a JVM on Alpine Linux and other Linux Distributions that use MUSL as their primary C library on both x64 and AArch64 architectures.
BellSoft has built further upon these advancements in Alpine Linux to create Alpaca Linux. Alpaca Linux improves on security weaknesses such as secure boot support and performance optimizations that result from relying on Alpine Linux. While Alpaca is currently not generally available, it is expected to be released in the second half of 2022.
Which Results and Effects Can You Expect When Using Micro Containers?
Smaller size means cost-efficiency. It entails the following advantages for the application:
- Optimal RAM consumption for Java deployment;
- Consistency in scaling;
- Increased productivity;
- Reduced application downtime;
- Easier application maintenance;
- Better application security;
- Faster migration between hosts;
- The minimal static footprint for containerized applications.
In the current business environment, there is no doubt that the tendency for microcontainers will continue further, and with every new tool released, there will be more to offer and more to challenge. More statistics and case uses for containers can be found in the latest research by Datadog. The report states as high as 90% of all Kubernetes services are being deployed in cloud-managed software solutions. The important constituent for today's success of cloud-native microservices is that they perform much more effectively with micro containers.
In view of a great number of different applications deployed in a microservice environment, the powerful role is taken by the micro containers used with this architecture. Considering that for a microservice, the base layer can be larger than the application layer, the microcontainer chosen plays an enormous factor in the overall operational characteristics.
Microcontainers are being developed in line with other software tools for building better, greener, and more productive business solutions for non-monolithic structures. They remain one of the hottest development trends with more and more tech companies entering the game to create better products in this niche.
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