This blog is part of a series from HighVail technical leaders that looks at the drivers leading to application containerization as part of a strategy to modernize.
If your organization develops or consumes applications on a Windows Server platform, the date January 14, 2020 will surely be top of mind. Effective that day, security patches, bug fixes and general operating system support from Microsoft will no longer be available. If you have applications running on these platforms beyond this date, as most organizations undoubtedly will, then you're in trouble – just ask your compliance folks!
Microsoft offers a quick reprieve, allowing customers to kick the end-of-support can down the road for another 3 years if, and only if, these workloads are migrated to Azure. But this approach will be tremendously disruptive, especially for companies that have multiple applications they need to deal with. A cumbersome, expensive short-term fix at best, this approach only prolongs the inevitable. You need to move your applications.
But wait. What if…
- There was a way to package an application with only the things that it needs to run, in an open, standards-based format that could be decoupled from the older Windows operating system.
- These standard packaged applications were portable so they could run anywhere consistently, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.
- There was a technology that could do all this and provide an easy path away from an end-of-support platform.
Containers to the rescue!
A Modern Alternative to Extended Support
Containers, while not a new technology, have taken off like wildfire over the past few years due to the flexibility they provide. Unlike virtual machines, which employ hardware virtualization and contain a full operating system, containers provide "just enough" runtime (libraries and other dependencies), to run most applications. This has a couple of advantages: First, it helps to decouple applications from their underlying operating system, which is helpful when that operating system is end-of-life. Second, it provides a highly portable, common format in which applications can run, allowing for a containerized application to run or move anywhere, thereby avoiding vendor lock-in.
Containers enable organizations to safely migrate their applications off older platforms, without modification, in a production ready, supported environment, facilitating the legacy systems to be properly retired.
Are you looking for a solution to address aging hardware and sunsetting operating systems? Learn More.
About the Author
Matt is a Partner & Technical Leader specializing in Hybrid Cloud and Infrastructure at HighVail Systems. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org