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Why Use Stateful Containers

The standard practice with containers is to run a single process in a stateless environment. This approach is beneficial as it allows for the recreation of containers with fresh system images and facilitates the running of multiple instances of the same application seamlessly. However, this methodology also necessitates:

  • Continuous Deployment Pipelines: Regularly building container images requires a well-configured continuous deployment pipeline;
  • Clustered Storage Systems: Application data must be stored on clustered storage systems such as NFS, Longhorn, Rook etc, adding significant complexity, especially for non-cloud native applications;
  • Object Storage for Static Files: Managing static files often relies on object storage solutions.

While these added complexities are manageable for large enterprises, they present significant challenges for smaller developers and businesses. These smaller entities are accustomed to deploying simple PHP+MySQL applications on shared hosting environments. Transitioning from this to an enterprise-level setup involving Kubernetes, CI/CD, S3, and advanced databases like Aurora, DynamoDB, DocumentDB, or Elasticsearch is a substantial leap.

In the hosting industry, we observe diverse container usage patterns. Some users run all their containers manually with docker run, others use docker-compose, and a few adventurous ones attempt to deploy open-source container platforms. Most containers in use are standard images from official repositories, with minimal optimization for production environments. These containers often remain unupdated post-deployment, with deployments frequently conducted via docker exec -it containerName /bin/bash, followed by wget and unzip commands.

Most Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers overlook the needs of these smaller developers. Speedia, however, aims to democratize container technology, eliminating the need for users to learn how to write and maintain Dockerfiles, CI/CD pipelines, and other complex but beneficial processes.

Speedia strives to create a middle ground, merging the simplicity of shared hosting with the robustness of enterprise hosting. This involves making some necessary concessions, such as using stateful containers with multiple processes. However, this does not imply compromising on security. Speedia OS ensures that containers always utilize up-to-date packages. Speedia Control reboots the host weekly and applies kernel patches automatically using an immutable filesystem (more on this in “Why MicroOS”).

In the future, Speedia Control will support hard upgrades of Speedia OS, automatically migrating all files, databases, and configurations to a brand-new Speedia OS container with an up-to-date operating system. We recognize the compromises involved, but we aim to navigate a hybrid path with few precedents, offering an alternative for those in the middle ground—developers seeking to deploy their applications without the expertise or financial resources required for enterprise cloud-native Kubernetes deployments.