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Executive Insights on the Current and Future State of Containers

DZone's Guide to

Executive Insights on the Current and Future State of Containers

From our recently-released Containers Guide, we interviewed over twenty industry executives and experts for their insight on containers, present and future.

· Cloud Zone ·
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To gather insights on the current and future state of containers, we talked to executives from 26 companies. Here’s who we spoke to:

Matt Chotin, Sr. Director of Technical Evangelism, AppDynamics

Jeff Jensen, CTO, Arundo Analytics

Jaime Ryan, Senior Director, Project Management and Strategy, CA Technologies

B.G. Goyal, V.P. of Engineering, Cavirin Systems

Tasha Drew, Product Manager,  Chef

James Strachan, Senior Architect, CloudBees

Jenks Gibbons, Enterprise Sales Engineer,  CloudPassage

Oj Ngo, CTO and Co-founder, DH2i

Anders Wallgren, CTO, Electric Cloud

Navin Ganeshan, Chief Product Officer, Gemini Data

Carsten Jacobsen, Developer Evangelist, Hyperwallet

Daniel Berg, Distinguished Engineer Cloud Foundation Services,  IBM

Jack Norris, S.V.P. Data and Applications,  MapR

Fei Huang, CEO, NeuVector

Ariff Kassam, V.P. Product, NuoDB

Bob Quillan, V.P. Container Group, Oracle

Sirish Raghuram, CEO and Co-founder, Platform9

Neil Cresswell, CEO/CTO, Portainer.io

Sheng Liang, Co-founder and CEO and Shannon Williams, Co- founder and VP of Sales, Rancher Labs

Bill Mulligan, Container Success Orchestrator, RiseML

Martin Loewinger, Director of SaaS Operations and  Jonathan  Parrilla, DevOps Engineer, SmartBear

Antony Edwards, CTO, Eggplant

Ady Degany, CTO, Velostrata 

Paul Dul, V.P. Product Marketing Cloud Native Applications, VMware

Mattius McLaughlin, Engineering Manager & Containers SME, xMatters

Roman Shoposhnik, Co-founder, Product & Strategy, Zededa


1. The two most important elements of orchestrating and deploying containers are security and the ability to maintain hybrid environments. On a container platform, there are four major elements that orchestration must address: networking, storage, security, and management. While you need Kubernetes (K8) to take advantage of Docker, you still need a compliance and security platform. Follow the CNCF pathway to containerization. 

You must be able to support containers and non-containers since it will take longer than you think to migrate from VMs to containers and you will need observation into and monitoring of both. You will also need to have a holistic view into the hybrid cloud landscape.

2. The languages, frameworks, and tools mentioned most frequently to orchestrate and deploy containers are Java, Docker, and Kubernetes with Go and Jenkins also mentioned with great frequency.

3. By far the most dramatic change in the orchestration and deployment of containers in the past year has been the growth and adoption of Kubernetes and companies’ desire to move out of dev/test directly into production. K8 came out and emerged with broad adoption as the standard for facilitated ecosystems that everyone is supporting. Now that Docker has begun introducing K8 support into Docker Enterprise Edition, there is a lot more clarity on when and where to use each orchestrator for maximum efficiency. K8 is easier and has more documentation, more maturity, and better tooling. We’re now able to set up K8 in five or 10 minutes versus days or weeks.

4. Having a well-defined security policy and following best practices is most effective for securing containers. There are multiple layers to secure: 1) repository of container images; 2) cluster of nodes; 3) the container layer; 4) the deployment layer; and 5) container hosts.

A security solution must be able to integrate seamlessly, be lightweight, run distributed, be accurate, respond in real-time, and  operate at cloud scale. It must be automated since the orchestration model for application containers is highly automated.

Knowing what’s happening in your environment is paramount. Knowing what containers are running versus what containers you expect to be running is key to ensure you are not exposed to any crypto-jacking exploits where hackers gain access to an insecure Docker daemon and start bitcoin miners on your Docker hosts.

5. There are multiple verticals and two dozen applications of real-world problems being solved using containers. Ad media,  financial services, gaming, healthcare, insurance, oil and gas, retail, and transportation are all using containers to manage AI/ ML workloads, reduce infrastructure costs, improve scalability,  responsiveness, increase security, and handle big data.

Philips is able to spin up containers to read MRIs for anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes based on what’s needed versus “always on.” The GE Predix Platform uses containers to extend services offered to customers and call back to the platform. American Airlines used our application design process to go from design to production in a month to access on-prem services via a containerized cloud-native app. European financial services companies are moving to

6. The most common issue affecting the orchestration and deployment of containers is lack of knowledge and experience. People don’t know what containers are and the advantages of using them. There’s a learning curve with many instructions of how to use Docker and K8. People will find examples of K8 implementations but fail when they move to production because they have not used all of the features and lack the proper configuration for deployment.

There’s a shortage of experienced K8, Docker, other tool engineers, as well as DevOps professionals. You still need a developer team with container experience. K8 is architected as a modular set. It takes developers of solution architecture to design a system to manage containers. You need to define personnel needs, timelines, and technology for container management in the cloud.

Containers are not a panacea for bad code and a lack of an agile or DevOps methodology. You need to understand how the culture, processes, and tools will change and realize this will take years, not months.

7. The three most frequently expressed concerns over the current state of containers are: 1) security; 2) lack of education; and 3) expectations. People think containers are inherently secure when they are not. You must be proactive in following best practices to secure them. People need to be concerned that the frequency of attacks and exploits will continue to increase.

There is a lack of knowledge about container technology and a lack of education for end users, developers, and security professionals. Everyone needs to become more educated on the different aspects of security.

Understand what containers can and cannot do and how long it will take to see the benefits. Realize you will have mixed workloads between containers and VMs for a long time. Do not silo the two or it will make integration even more difficult. People see containers as being easy and straightforward. Things are moving much faster when you are deploying 10,000 containers versus five or 10 VMs.

8. Serverless and function-as-a-service (FaaS) are the future of containers. There will be the flexibility to run anywhere to go serverless with great tools that manage abstraction and the portability layer. There will be more innovation around serverless consumption models on top of K8 making K8 easier to use and hiding details from developers when they are not interested. Ultimately, organizations will skip containers and go directly to FaaS like Lambda.

9. Security and continuous and automated delivery are most frequently mentioned as things developers needs to keep in mind regarding containers. Think about how your own apps are going to be secured and how the data is going to be secured in motion and at rest. Ensure your application is running in a secure, stable, and repeatable manner. Use the same logic in safely using resources as you did when security and efficiency were primary goals. Figure out how to use continuous delivery and automate the process to improve the quality and security of your applications and containers.


This article is featured in the new DZone Guide to Containers: Development and Management. Get your free copy for more insightful articles, industry statistics, and more! 

Cloud Foundry saves app developers $100K and 10 weeks on average per development cycle. Download the 2018 User Survey for a snapshot of Cloud Foundry users’ deployments and productivity. Find out what people love about the industry standard cloud application platform.

Topics:
cloud ,interview ,executive insight ,container ,container guide ,security ,kubernetes ,container orchestration

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