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The ecosystem around containerization is still emerging and is in a rapid state of flux. I really wouldn't recommend getting production anywhere near it for the next 2 years minimum, and realistically, you probably want to wait more like 5.

Both Docker and k8s change quickly and both lack functionality that most people would consider pretty basic. Google may have transcended into a plane where persistent storage and individually-addressable servers are a thing of the past, but the rest of us haven't. Many things that an admin takes for granted on a normal setup are missing, difficult, convoluted, or flat out impossible on k8s/Docker.

We're converting our 100+ "traditional" cloud servers into a Docker/k8s cluster now, and it's a nightmare. There's really no reason for it. The biggest benefit is a consistent image, but you can get that with much less ridiculous tooling, like Ansible.

My opinion on the long-term: containers will have a permanent role, but I don't think it will be nearly as big as many think. Kubernetes will be refined and become the de-facto "cluster definition language" for deployments and will take a much larger role than containers. It will learn to address all types of networked units (already underway) and cloud interfaces/APIs will likely just be layers on top of it.

The hugely embarrassing bugs and missing features in both k8s and Docker will get fleshed out and fixed over the next 2-3 years, and in 5 years, just as the sheen wears off of this containerland architecture and people start looking for the next premature fad to waste millions of dollars blindly pursuing, it will probably start to be reasonable to run some stable, production-level services in Docker/k8s. ;) It will never be appropriate for everything, despite protests to the contrary.

I think the long-term future for k8s is much brighter than the future for Docker. If Docker can survive under the weight of the VC investments they've taken, they'll probably become a repository management company (and a possible acquisition target for a megacorp that wants to control that) and the docker engine will fall out of use, mostly replaced by a combination of container runtimes: rkt, lxc, probably a forthcoming containerization implementation from Microsoft, and a smattering of smaller ones.

The important thing to remember about Docker and containers is that they're not really new. Containers used to be called jails, zones, etc. They didn't revolutionize infrastructure then and I don't think they will now. The hype is mostly because Docker has hundreds of millions of VC money to burn on looking cool.

If Docker has a killer feature, it's the image registry that makes it easy to "docker pull upstream/image", but the Dockerfile spec itself is too sloppy to really provide the simplicity that people think they're getting, the security practices are abysmal and there will be large-scale pwnage due to it sometime in the not-too-distant future, and the engine's many quirks, bugs, and stupid behaviors do no favors to either the runtime or the company.

If Docker can nurse the momentum from the registry, they may have a future, but the user base for Docker is pretty hard to lock in, so I dunno.

tl;dr Don't use either. Learn k8s slowly over the next 2 years as they work out the kinks, since it will play a larger role in the future. In 5 years, you may want to use some of this on an important project, but right now, it's all a joke, and, in general, the companies that are switching now are making a very bad decision.




I'm actually swinging hard against containers at the moment.

I've been playing around the runv project in docker (definitely not production ready) and running containers in optimized virtual-machines...and it just seems like the better model? Which, following the logic through, really means I just want to make my VMs fast with a nice interface for users - and I can, with runv I can spin up KVM fast enough to not notice it.

Basically...I'd really rather just have VMs, and pour effort into optimizing hypervisors (and there's been some good effort along these lines - the DAX patches and memory dedupe with the linux kernel).


Excellent analysis, much in line with my own thoughts and experience. Thanks for taking the time write this down.




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