Adoption of container technology has been slower than expected among enterprise software companies. Donnie Berkholz, Research Director — Development, DevOps, and IT Ops at 451 Research, notes that although container use is set to grow, currently only about 14 percent of cloud-using organizations have containers in production.Containers minimize risk and maximize agility, so what’s the hold-up? Why aren’t more enterprises grabbing hold of this technology?
One of the main barriers to adoption is that containers suffer from a PR problem. More specifically, containers are seen as very geeky and aren’t 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, these questions need to be answered, because a shift is needed when it comes to 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.
A mountain of maintenance and configuration work often accompanies a large enterprise’s multi-vendor software supply chain. 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.
A great benefit of containers for enterprise IT is that they present an 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?
A container platform can make cloud adoption easier for an enterprise and blur 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 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.”
It’s true that some aspects of container technology are “geeky,” so IT professionals may have a hard time making their case to leaders about why they need container technology. So, rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts of how containers work, for instance, focus on the benefits to the organization. Enterprises stand to make significant gains by adopting this technology, including reducing configuration and virtual machine set-up time and accelerating application delivery cycles. Using containers standardizes the way suppliers develop and deliver software, relieving a major headache. Other benefits are waiting to be discovered as your enterprise takes advantage of container technology.