Should You Be Worried About Missing the Container Boat?

A DockerCon Debrief
Richard Chart

Docker’s October DockerCon hosted in Copenhagen, populated by thousands of DevOps engineers and a number of IT executives, was set around understanding the nuances and business impacts of containers.

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Reacting to Enterprises’ Needs by Selecting an Orchestration Engine

One thing decided at this year’s DockerCon is the choice of orchestration engine for enterprises.

Docker’s announcement of shipping Kubernetes alongside their own Swarm container orchestrator was viewed by some as an admission of defeat by Docker in the battle for mindshare amongst the container deployment heavy-hitters. Docker Swarm will be around for a good while, but don’t expect much in the way of further innovation. The market chose Kubernetes, and Docker will focus their engineering resources elsewhere.

The big focus for Docker is beefing up their commercial “Enterprise Edition” offering. This gives enterprise customers the operational scale, security, and ease-of-use they need for containers to be as ubiquitous across the enterprise as they have become in cloud-native applications.

Docker is off to a good start with a heavy emphasis on security with decent role-based access control and a pipeline for certifying images for production use.

Will We Now See a Mad Rush of Enterprises Scurrying to Launch Their Containerized Apps?

Not quite.

While tools are maturing and consolidating well, the level of effort to containerize applications varies. Docker has a “Modernize Traditional Apps” (MTA) program with a select few partners to encourage enterprises to put their toe in the water and containerize a couple of apps in two or three days. This is a great way to encourage enterprises to move forward with some quick wins. However, the apps chosen for MTA are carefully chosen to be the simplest to move.

The brutal reality is that for most companies there is a long tail of applications requiring a great deal more effort to containerize. In fact, MetLife, one of the leading proponents of containers for the enterprise, suggests that only 70% of their applications are containerize-able at all with current technology.

Those That Do Move See Astounding Benefits

Despite these hurdles, an increasing number of enterprises made the jump.

MetLife claims a 66% infrastructure cost reduction by replacing VMs with containers. Equally enticing for organizations is the inherent portability that comes with containerization. Once you have done the hard graft of defining the dependencies for your app, switching it to run in Azure or AWS or IBM Cloud or a plethora of other on-prem or off-prem options becomes a relative breeze!

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