Containers-as-a-Service: A New Business Opportunity for CSPs



Deliver new services to your customers with containers – and discover how to create the infrastructure to support them.

For software developers, the hardest bugs to track down are those they can't replicate. Often, this kind of problem is caused by differences in the environment where the application is running. It can work on the developer's machine, but then fail in the production environment if certain dependencies are missing.

Containers were created to solve to this problem. They enable you to package an application with all its dependencies, so that it will run consistently anywhere, from the developer's laptop to a cloud infrastructure.

Containers: The opportunity

Many CSPs have already discovered how containers can help them manage their own applications internally. Building on this experience, they can now offer Containers-as-a-Service (CaaS) to customers. This can make it easier for customers to deploy into the public cloud infrastructure, and give them greater confidence that the application will continue to run consistently in the future.

CSPs can also use Red Hat OpenShift* and Pivotal Cloud Foundry* (among others) to provide a complete cloud-based development environment. By offering Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), it's possible to support the customer's complete workflow, from development through deployment into the cloud servers.

Other business models are also emerging that can be enabled or simplified with containers. Function-as-a-Service (FaaS), for example, enables developers to deliver event-based solutions that can respond to customer interactions on a website or sensors, among other things. Containers can abstract away the complexity, and make it easier to develop and deploy such solutions.

A CSP can remotely manage containers but allow the container workloads to run at the customer's site, in a model called "managed control plane". This can take away the operational time and cost for customers, while still enabling them to control their data in-house.

Creating an infrastructure to support containers

Implementing containers involves navigating many technology options. In addition to the wide range of software for the various components, CSPs can choose between adopting a commercial solution, a self-supported open source solution, or an open source solution backed with commercial support.

For profitable container-based services, it is essential to have a high-performance architecture that enables container density to be optimized. There are also challenges to solve in security and resource allocation.

To help, Intel has created an eguide that introduces containers, walks you through the commercial opportunities for CSPs, and talks you through navigating the software ecosystem and finding the right servers. Download your copy of using containers to grow your cloud services business.