CaaS (Containers as a Service)

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CaaS stands for “Containers as a Service” is a cloud service model that enables users to manage and deploy apps and clusters through container-based virtualization. It can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. In CaaS, the service provider provides the framework or the orchestration platform, and the customer deploys and manages containers on it.

Developers can upload, organize, run, scale, and manage containers with the cloud-based service. CaaS eliminates the necessity to deploy, manage, and monitor the container’s infrastructure, helping the developers save time. CaaS is especially beneficial for large organizations that need to scale to meet the demand fluctuations with horizontal scaling quickly.

What are Containers?

A container is a unit of software that packages up the code and all of its dependencies, allowing the application to run quickly and reliably from one environment to another. Containers can be considered as a form of virtualization at the operating system level. Container images don’t contain the operating system images, making them lightweight, standalone, and executable packages. It also includes everything required to run an application, such as the code, runtime, system tools, system libraries, and settings. It is possible to use multiple containers as container clusters for larger deployments.

What are Containers used for?

Containers are ideal for deploying cloud-native apps and microservices. Containers can be used to migrate applications into new environments. To benefit from containers, developers are developing container-native applications or refactoring their existing applications for containers. Containers include all the dependencies required to run; thus, they can easily be deployed in multiple environments.

A developer can also multiply identical containers within the same cluster to scale horizontally. It is also possible to isolate, deploy, and scale distributed applications and microservices with individual container building blocks. Containers support streamlined build, test, and deployment from the same container images.

How does CaaS work?

CaaS offers features to its users to automate the deployment and hosting of containers. CaaS solutions don’t rely on one code stack or language, making it possible to implement CaaS in multi-cloud and hybrid clouds. Most CaaS solutions come with a graphical user interface or an API to handle cloud-based interactions. It utilizes a self-contained delivery model and replaces virtual machines by behaving like an operating system.

There are two types of container applications. Container engines provide a runtime environment. Developers can create containers, manage container images, and perform basic operations in this environment. Container orchestrators or container runtime interfaces allow users to manage, scale and automate multiple containers. The most widely-used container engine is Docker, and the most widely-used container orchestrator is Kubernetes.

Advantages and disadvantages of CaaS?

Pros Cons
✔ CaaS makes deploying and composing distributed systems or microservice architectures easier. ✘ Some CaaS solutions can have limitations which can be an issue for some organizations.
✔ It provides a more streamlined development process which increases the speed to market.
✔ It eliminates the upfront cost and time required to create an infrastructure.
✔ CaaS allows organizations to run their containers on multiple cloud environments.
✔ Since containers are created separately, they are considered safe because one container’s security issue doesn’t affect other containers.

What are the top CaaS companies?

There are several companies specialized in CaaS solutions as well as giant cloud service providers. Some of them are:

  • Microsoft Azure Container Service
  • Amazon EC2 Container Service
  • IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service
  • Google Container Engine
  • Mirantis Kubernetes Engine
  • Oracle Container Cloud Service
  • Linode Kubernetes Service
  • DigitalOcean Kubernetes Service
  • Rancher
  • Docker Enterprise

What is the difference between CaaS and PaaS?

Platform as a Service is a cloud offering that provides a platform that includes hardware and software, allowing users to create, manage, and run their applications. CaaS can be considered as a branch of PaaS. However, there is a difference between these two terms. CaaS solutions only offer a specific infrastructure component, containers. CaaS offers a hosted container orchestration engine, allowing users to run many containers. CaaS solutions solely focus on containers and don’t include all PaaS’s features, such as development tools.

What is the difference between CaaS and IaaS?

Infrastructure as Service is the most basic layer of the cloud computing model. It includes automated and scalable compute resources and network capabilities; however, it doesn’t include an operating system or other software. The most significant difference between CaaS and IaaS is that the CaaS offerings include both infrastructure and the tools required to manage and deploy containers.

CaaS Market Size

Like other cloud computing models, the CaaS market is also gaining popularity among organizations. In 2016, CaaS market was only accounted for $789 million. The latest researches show that it is expected to reach $4 billion in 2022, at a compound annual growth rate of 34.4%. The global Containers-as-a-Service market is projected to reach $8.6 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 31.7%.

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