Breakfast with ECS: Containers and Community Innovation

Breakfast with ECSWelcome to the inaugural edition of Breakfast with ECS, a series where we will look at issues related to cloud storage and ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage), EMC’s cloud-scale storage platform.

Recently, Linuxcon, Containercon, and MesosCon came to Seattle.  The events brought many experts (developers, admins, academics, and industry veterans) from the community to one place, and showcased the next generation of datacenter technology.  It was truly an amazing experience, and I left the events with two key themes bouncing around in my head – the momentum behind community innovation, and its impact on containers.

In her keynote at ContainerCon, Robin Chase of Zipcar brought out the idea of community innovation. The container space is a prime example of this model yielding good results. Given all the noise about containers recently, it’s hard to believe that Docker is a relatively young company. However, with over 1100 contributors to its repository, it is precisely the community innovation aspect that has helped make Docker and containers suitable for production workloads in such a short amount of time.

Contrary to dire predictions, the technology space is evolving towards an interesting coexistence of Open Source and product commercialization. Containers have benefited from this trend as well.  The engagement of a wide variety of contributors to containers, such as public cloud vendors, as well as vendors specializing in Open Source technologies, has really turbo-charged adoption.  This has helped bridge the gap in many use cases to provide a foundation for hybrid cloud, or helped application developers move seamlessly between cloud providers.  The conferences had a few enterprises demonstrate container use cases and challenges.  Notably, Verizon showcased a large scale Mesos cluster, which is the basis for its next generation datacenter.  There are a number of interesting projects ongoing to address improvement for containers in areas such as monitoring, networking, security, and persistence, which is welcome news for companies looking to take advantage of the technology.

EMC CodeThis may come as a surprise to some of our readers, but EMC has been an active contributor to the open source community with various efforts.  EMC Code was started with this vision and some of the contributions from EMC Code can be found on GitHub.  Additionally, EMC products are also contributing to and utilizing the container community.  Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS), EMC’s cloud-scale storage platform took an early bet on Docker Containers.  This proved to be a critical bet, as it provided us with the capability to provide layers of abstraction between the hardware and the operating system.  Today, ECS can run on most commodity hardware or Linux OS due to our reliance on container technology.  Consequently, ECS is one of the largest stateful applications running at scale with Docker containers in production.

You can check out how the Vatican Library leveraged ECS as a Global Content Repository to provide global access to over 30 million digitized pages of rare and historic manuscripts.

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Containers allow ECS to be packaged with dependencies and not be impacted by the Host OS or lifecycle of the Host.  In turn, this helps our customers bring cloud scale economics to private cloud.   These cloud scale economics are crucial for all IT shops as they look to lower their overall cost of ownership and enable quicker time to market for their business partners.

Want to learn more about how ECS can help your organization? You can check out our homepage, or download ECS for free from our Free and Frictionless portal.

About the Author: Kamal Srinivasan