Virtual Machines, Containers, and now LXD: What’s best for me?

First there were virtual machine instances running on bare metal or para-virtual hypervisors, then came containers allowing for better utilization of virtual machine instances, and now we have the Linux Container Daemon (LXD) pronounced “lex-dee”. As the tag line goes “The new hypervisor isn’t a hypervisor, and it’s much, much faster”; one quickly realizes that hyperboles are not where your troubles end! Instead your choices for virtualization just got trickier to sort out.

So here are some simplifying rules to get going quickly:

1. If you have the luxury of hosting your application entirely on the public cloud, stick to the good old fashioned VMs managed using the auto-scale functionality provided by the cloud platform of your choice.

2. If you have the luxury of creating your private cloud using paid software such as the vCloud suite, stick to the good old fashioned VMs managed using the components of the suite such as vRealize.

3. If you are stuck with the free bare metal hypervisors such as vSphere ESXi or Hyper-V(not entirely free) or with paravirtual hypervisors such as KVM then get the right DevOps skills on your team and use Docker containers managed using Fig for development and Chef for production environments.

4. If you are the brave spirit capable of dealing with the hardcore hardware and low level kernel configuration matters opt for Metal As A Service (MAAS) offering from Canonical combined with Juju.

5. If you are lucky to have the hardware setup exactly as required for running OpenStack/CloudStack and have the chops to customize the provided management apps then by all means rock your world by replicating most of the basic AWS offerings within your datacenter.

6. Finally, if you are truly bored of your mind by all the mundane options listed above and have the distinct air of “Been there – Done that” around you with the appropriate management support within your back pocket venture in to the brand new entrants such as LXD!

Of course you might also just be lucky enough to be in my position: Make recommendations and then sit back to enjoy the show! And, of course, come back to this blog for more …


Published by

Yatin Kulkarni

Yatin is a technology evangelist and a hands on solutions architect with over 20 years of global and cross-cultural experience in various industry verticals such as Publishing, e-Commerce, Digital Marketing, Map Data Management, Petrochemicals, Health Sciences, and Food Retail. He is currently focused on re-architecting traditional enterprise applications to leverage the latest IaaS and PaaS offerings from the leading public cloud providers.

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