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Container Platforms

A container platform is a comprehensive solution that allows organizations to efficiently create, deploy, and manage containers.

Wiz Experts Team
5 minutes read

What is a container platform?

A container platform is a comprehensive solution that allows organizations to efficiently create, deploy, and manage containers. To demystify this, let's explore the essence of containers and container platforms. 

In the context of DevOps, container platforms are nothing short of transformative. Serving as a vital link connecting development and operations, they enable smooth cooperation and the implementation of continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) processes. This synergy is crucial in today's fast-paced software development cycles, where agility and efficiency are paramount. 

Container platforms represent a significant shift in how we build, deploy, and manage applications, making them more agile, scalable, and resilient. This post dives into the various types of container platforms, their features, and how they're shaping the future of cloud computing and DevOps.

But first, what is the difference between a container and a container platform?

Containers vs. container platforms

Containers are standalone and lightweight software units that bundle all the essentials required to execute software, encompassing the application code, runtime environment, system tools, libraries, and settings. This encapsulation ensures that software runs reliably and consistently across different computing environments.

Container platforms take this concept further. This isn’t just about running containers; they simplify and streamline the entire lifecycle of containerized applications: building containers, orchestrating them, managing their deployment across various environments, scaling them as needed, and ensuring ongoing maintenance and security.

The more widely companies use containers, the more likely they are to call security their top challenge with containers.

Types of container platforms

As you explore the world of containerization, it becomes clear not all container platforms are created equal. Below, we’ll explore these categories to understand their impact on the container orchestration landscape.

Open-source vs. proprietary platforms

First, let’s review the differences between open-source and proprietary container platforms. 

Open-source platforms

In open-source container platforms, Docker Engine and Kubernetes stand out as the frontrunners. Docker, renowned for its simplicity and ease of use, revolutionized containerization by making it accessible to developers. It offers a streamlined method to encapsulate applications and their dependencies within a single deployable unit.

Kubernetes, meanwhile, handles container orchestration, managing the deployment, scaling, and operations of a large number of containers across clusters of hosts. Thanks to its robust feature set and widespread community support, Kubernetes today is the de facto standard when it comes to container orchestration platforms.

Proprietary platforms

Managed container services like Red Hat OpenShift, Google Kubernetes Engine, and AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) offer a different value proposition. 

Red Hat OpenShift, built on Kubernetes, adds additional layers of security, integrated development tools, and a more streamlined user experience. It's designed for enterprises that require a robust, secure, and supported container orchestration platform.

AWS ECS is a scalable container orchestration service that streamlines the management of containers and facilitates the deployment of containerized applications on AWS infrastructure. 

Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is a managed Kubernetes service offered by Google Cloud Platform (GCP) that allows you to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications efficiently.

While proprietary platforms often come at a higher cost, they provide the advantage of dedicated support, consistent updates, and a more controlled environment, which can be crucial for large-scale enterprise deployments.

When comparing open-source and proprietary container platforms, factors like community support, customization, and cost come into play:

FeatureOpen-source platformsProprietary platforms
Community supporExtensive, community-drivenLimited, vendor-driven
CustomizationHigh flexibility and customizationStandardized with limited customization
CostGenerally lower, community-supportedHigher with subscription fees
Use caseIdeal for innovation, small to medium projectsSuited for enterprise-level, large-scale deployments
SecurityCommunity-managed security updatesRegular, vendor-managed security updates

Cloud-based vs on-premises platforms

Another way to categorize container platforms is by their deployment model, cloud-based or on-premises.

Cloud-based solutions

Cloud-based container platforms like Azure Container Instances offer the advantage of scalability and reduced infrastructure overhead. These platforms are ideal for organizations looking to leverage the cloud's elasticity without the complexity of managing underlying hardware. They provide quick deployment, easy scaling, and integration with various cloud services.

On-premises solutions

Container platforms deployed on-premises are set up within an organization's own data center, providing greater control over infrastructure, enabling enhanced compliance and security, and making sure specific performance needs are met. However, they require significant investment in hardware and expertise for infrastructure management.

The following table compares the two models:

FeatureCloud-based solutionsOn-premises solutions
ScalabilityHighly scalable using cloud resourcesDependent on in-house hardware
Initial investmentLower upfront cost, pay-as-you-go modelHigher upfront cost for infrastructure
ControlLess control over infrastructureFull control over the environment
SecurityManaged by cloud providerManaged in-house, require expertise
Ideal forStartups, businesses seeking agilityOrganizations with specific compliance needs

Now it’s time for a more detailed examination of specific container platform solutions, their features, and how they cater to different organizational needs.

Key features for container platform solutions

Here, we’ll examine key features to look for in container platforms and introduce emerging technologies to provide a comparative analysis for decision-making. 

Scalability and performance

A prominent feature of any container platform is its ability to scale. Containerization solutions must efficiently manage the deployment of numerous containers, ensuring optimal resource utilization and performance. This involves dynamic scaling capabilities, where resources are allocated or de-allocated in response to demand, thereby maintaining performance without overburdening resources.

Integration with existing infrastructure and cloud services

Container platforms should seamlessly integrate with existing underlying infrastructure and cloud services. This includes compatibility with various storage options, networking configurations, and cloud environments. 

Combining with existing systems and services is crucial for a smooth transition to containerized solutions and maintaining operational consistency.

Security features and compliance standards

Security in container platforms is non-negotiable. These platforms must provide robust security features, including container isolation, secure image management, and vulnerability scanning. Compliance with regulations and industry-wide standards is especially critical for organizations in healthcare, finance, or defense. 

Emerging container technologies

The landscape of container platforms is in a constant state of flux, marked by the frequent emergence of new technologies. These include lightweight orchestration solutions, serverless container services, and platforms focusing on specific niches like edge computing or IoT. This trend points to the continuous innovation of resource efficiency, deployment speed, and specialized use cases.

Now, it’s time to discuss the ideal use case for each container platform solution, with insights tailored to different organizational sizes and industry needs.

Container platforms for different organizations

Due to their diverse capabilities, container platforms can cater to a wide range of organizational needs, so make sure to look for one that best suits your unique scenario:

  • For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the key is finding cost-effective containerization solutions that are easy to use and require minimal maintenance.

  • Large enterprises often require container platforms that can handle complex, large-scale deployments. They benefit from platforms offering robust security, high scalability, and extensive support. 

  • Startups and innovators need container platforms that foster rapid development and deployment. Flexibility and scalability are crucial as these organizations grow and evolve. 

  • Specific industries have unique requirements mandating tailored container solutions. For example, finance and healthcare prioritize security and compliance, while retail and e-commerce may focus more on scalability for varying traffic loads. 

But what about navigating security? Let’s explore some common problems that arise (and answers to them) when securing containerized environments.

Introducing Wiz's container security solution

As container security becomes increasingly complex, solutions like Wiz's container and Kubernetes security offerings emerge as vital tools in the arsenal of container security strategies.

Wiz provides a comprehensive security solution tailored for containerized environments. It offers a holistic approach for end-to-end container security—from code to runtime:

  • Vulnerability management: Identifies known vulnerabilities in software packages within containers, prioritizing based on exploitability and severity.

  • Misconfiguration detection: Detects insecure configurations in Kubernetes clusters and images that could lead to access control issues or data breaches.

  • Secret and data protection: Discovers and protects sensitive data like passwords and API keys within containers and registries, preventing unauthorized access.

  • Runtime threat detection and response: Provides real-time monitoring for malicious activity and suspicious behavior in running containers, enabling prompt response.

  • Compliance and reporting: Ensures compliance with security standards like CIS Benchmarks and PCI DSS through automated reports and recommendations.

  • Prioritization and remediation: Helps prioritize risks based on severity and context, and offers automated remediation workflows for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.

Wiz's container security platform is engineered to work harmoniously with popular container platforms and cloud-based container services and can seamlessly scan and analyze container environments across various platforms, including:

  • Cloud-managed and self-managed Kubernetes: Wiz supports all major Kubernetes distributions, including GKE, AKS, EKS, and OpenShift.

  • Serverless containers: Wiz can discover and assess containers running on serverless platforms like AWS Lambda and Azure Functions.

  • Standalone containers running on VMs: Wiz can scan containers deployed on any Linux or Windows virtual machine.

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