Containers – How Will Enterprises Adopt and Run Them?

The adoption of container technology continues to mature and advance. Today, enterprises are steadily recognizing the importance of enterprise container platforms – they provide a complete solution for operationalizing and securing applications in containers at scale over the entire lifecycle of software. Containers allow developers to be less dependent on infrastructure and more agile. Their applications are made portable, and they’re able to get more out of their compute. That is why many app teams are considering to migrate their existing apps to containers.

What Is a Container?

When software gets moved from one to another computing environment, how do you get it to run reliably? The solution to that problem is containers. It could be from a physical machine in your data center to a virtual one in a cloud, from a staging environment to production, and from your developer’s laptop into a test environment. When the supporting software environment isn’t identical, that’s when the problems arrive. For example, you’ve tested the software with Python 2.7, and want to proceed to run it on Python 3. In that case, something weird may happen. Besides different software that may cause issues, there also may be differences in storage, security policies, or network topology.

Because containers don’t have networks on their own, there are container management tools (such as Docker) that take care of that. They create enough system to make apps and services running in containers accessible.

How Enterprises Will Adopt and Run Them?

We’ve agreed that containerization is a current trend. However, should enterprises capitalize on it? How can they leverage the technology within their operational and development infrastructure? Here are some key points to consider.

  • Balance the advantages and risks

Containers come with more risks because they’re relatively new. That’s why enterprises need to balance the potential strategic benefits and dangers of leveraging containers. When it comes to deployment, enterprises are relatively safe because containers are hardened for the apps they serve. On the other hand, some security issues need to be addressed.

  • Train people for necessary skill sets

Most companies haven’t moved their workloads to the cloud, not to mention to cloud-operating containers. Technology is not the limiting factor, but it is the skill set of their IT staff. Enterprises need to invest in hiring and training to obtain the necessary skills for building and deploying applications in containers. Also, many organizations that are adopting DevOps must consider the adoption of containers, because they use DevOps as a strategy to automate their approaches to application development. Reducing risks and cutting costs – many organizations have chosen to adopt containers first and then proceed with the DevOps transformation.

  • Scaling is specific to applications

Organizations should consider the fact that scaling is a matter of applications. Some apps are either too coupled or too decoupled from the data, while others are easy to containerize. Everything is a matter of the amount of work it takes to refactor the apps so they can be a set of containers, but also scale as a container cluster. In some cases, containerization is straightforward, while in others it’s not practical (depending on the hassle of turning an application into a container.)

  • Creating a strategy for container implementation

Container implementation should be considered as a sub-strategy of the entire cloud computing strategy. It all goes to the enabling technology that’s a component of an enterprise’s overall cloud strategy. We’ve seen patterns of adoption with the risk of app servers and the rise of the Internet, and they’re the same (pretty much.) However, the technology is new. The adoption of containers is not a revolution, but more of an evolution that provides more portable, more scalable, and better platforms for applications that operated in the cloud. Containers will have many uses with on-premises systems, Big Data, and IoT applications.

  • Test

If you’re moving to containers, you will need to understand their real limitations. That’s why you’ll need to create test platforms. Testing should provide answers to questions concerning:

  • Data – What are the limitations when it comes to containerizing data (against leveraging data with traditional interfaces?
  • Scalability – How are you able to scale workloads? What types of workloads can do it?
  • Security and governance – How do you secure and govern containers? How does that affect stability, performance, and scalability?
  • Stability – What types of loads or behaviors cause the instability of containers?
  • How can an enterprise manage clusters of containers over time?

Containers are indeed a much-discussed topic in the enterprise. When it comes to cyber-security initiatives and digital transformation, containers are a top investment theme among CEOs. The cloud management platform market, which container platforms fall within, has struggled to build momentum during the first decade of cloud computing. Enterprise decision-makers are still skeptical of containers as the latest set of options. However, the maturation of this technology is rapid, and there are a variety of options available for them to consider.

 

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