Containers aren’t just for smaller startup-type companies. Established enterprises also stand to benefit from their easy sharing between teams, convenience as local test environments and ability to link together and run on a single machine. Containers have the potential to increase employee satisfaction, save money and boost efficiency. However, adoption has been slower among enterprises than originally imagined. What accounts for this lag?
One of the issues is the reputation containers have gotten for belonging to the realm of eggheads – highly technical and not yet widely understood by most IT professionals. The understanding of what they are and how and why they should be used – those questions still linger for far too many organizations.
However, the brass-tacks reality behind why we need containers is that a shift needs to occur regarding how we design, build, package and deploy software. Organizations are struggling with too many disparate servers, systems and solutions that need to be brought together. They are drowning in endless integration projects while working with hundreds of software suppliers. At the same time, end customers have come to expect and require a high level of service, necessitating transformation of application infrastructure and architecture.
Enterprises often have a multi-vendor software supply chain and, therefore, they labor under the burden of significant maintenance and configuration work. Not only are suppliers each constantly requiring this and that from the IT and operations teams, but there are also internal feature and configuration change requests to grapple with. This includes spinning up virtual machines, opening VPN tunnels, assigning IP and DNS addresses, and enabling access for one supplier to integrate with another, among other requests. And each of these can take weeks to process.
However, container platforms offer today’s enterprise IT departments the opportunity to unify the way that suppliers are required to package and deliver their solutions. If properly packaged, suppliers can deploy the entire solution to an enterprise container platform without any assistance from the IT department. They can configure the container stack from start to finish by themselves. Needless to say, they can also test the complete stack on their own development environment, one that’s identical to the actual production environment. From there, all the IT department needs to do is add computing capacity to the container platform when resources run low. How cool is that?
Another benefit that enterprises can look forward to as they implement container technology is easier cloud adoption, which then blurs the differences between private, public and hybrid cloud infrastructures. The one-two punch of cloud and containerization offers enterprises a complete packaged solution. As analyst Robert Stroud (not to be confused with the Birdman of Alcatraz) points out, “Container adoption is being driven by the promise that containers deliver the ability to ‘build once and run anywhere,’ allowing increased server efficiency and scalability for technology managers.”
Because many decision-makers have not been educated about container technology, enterprise IT teams will have to carefully explain why adoption is a good idea. The best bet is to focus attention on the clear business benefits. Containers offer many of them, such as saving time by relieving the team of all that maintenance and configuration work by standardizing the manner in which suppliers develop and deliver software. Other benefits include accelerating app delivery cycles and configuration time, and reducing costs. More benefits await as enterprises embrace this new paradigm that is beginning to revolutionize the application development and delivery process.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.