Google gets a jump on Microsoft and Amazon with Container Engine

Google ups its Docker game and strikes first in the container race, ahead of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services

At the Google Platform Live event this week, Google announced its new Google Container Engine. Container Engine is a managed service version of its open-sourced Kubernetes container-management system. While the announcement was no surprise, the impact on the cloud market could be far reaching.

With the alpha version of Google Container Engine now available, Google is positioning itself to drive container innovation in the cloud.

The service is now only in alpha release. However, it’s clear that Google has the enterprise in mind. Enterprises are interested in leveraging containers, such as those based on Docker, to provide better application portability intra- or intercloud and to assuage their fears of cloud lock-in.

Containers are actually old approaches repackaged for new audiences, and Google has long since stated it could leverage containers for its systems. Containers are proven, and they provide a good architectural approach and mechanisms to build applications that are both portable and scalable.

Containers are important to the world of cloud computing for a few reasons:

First, launching a new VM merely to run an application instance takes a lot of resources. VMs take time to spin up, and when you’re looking to provision and de-provision resources quickly, that approach seems like more of a hindrance.

Second, applications built on clouds are typically locked into those clouds. Portability has been elusive as enterprises move applications to IaaS and PaaS cloud providers. However, containers provide an abstraction layer between the applications and the underlying cloud infrastructure. Thus, once an application is built within a container, you should be able to move it from cloud to cloud or even cloud to enterprise without significant modifications.

With a quick and mighty push, Google is emerging to lead the container space, propelled by its sheer size and reach. It already has a leg up on the other cloud providers, including Microsoft and even AWS, when it comes to containers. However, with AWS’s conference coming up, I’m sure you can count on container news for that crew as well.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.