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Technical Insight: Managing Containers and VMs – Together or Apart? (Part 6)

This is Part Six of the “Evaluating Container Management Platforms” series. To view Part Seven, click here. To view the rest of the documents in this series, click here.


Operational executives moving from managing farms of virtual machines to productizing containers are now challenged with the task of determining how to optimally manage both environments concurrently.  Should infrastructure and/or administrative approach be shared?

Enterprises, large and small, are beginning the move to productizing the use of containers.  But given how different this model is from traditional virtual machine environments, the path to success is not direct or quick. A July 2021 research study conducted by Evaluator Group (“Hybrid Cloud Matures: Pragmatism in a Post-COVID-19 World”) found that while 87% of surveyed enterprises were engaged with Kubernetes projects, only 31% had reached the point of operating Kubernetes workloads in production.

With a large install base of virtual machine-based workloads to consider, more than half of the respondents saw themselves how operating both virtual machines and containers concurrently in production for the foreseeable future.   This can seem complicated and expensive.  It is natural to want to make this transition gradual, but to somehow leverage a common infrastructure, skill set or management system.

Container Management solution providers provide multiple options to attempt to mitigate this issue by enabling customers to leverage an existing virtual machine environment, to embed virtual machine workloads in containers, or to manage both systems using a common administrative user interface.  But each of these alternatives has cost-benefit tradeoffs; this paper outlines the key issues and recommends that executives consider this question carefully before making a decision.

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Related to this document:
Technical Insight: Containers and Kubernetes Terminology (Part 3), Technical Insight: Container Management Platforms – An Introduction (Part 5), Technical Insight: Basic Container Management and Software Infrastructure (Part 7)

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September 27, 2021

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