May 26, 2017

Most IT organizations are only too happy to see developers embrace containers to be more efficient when building applications. But deploying them in a production environment often is a wholly different matter.

One of the first platforms designed to manage containers from the ground up in a production environment was developed by Apcera. Now the provider of the Apcera Trusted Cloud Platform is extending the reach of that platform to allow enterprise IT organizations to apply policies to Docker images regardless of whether they are running on-premises, in a public cloud or within the confines of a managed service hosted by Apcera. The Apcera Trusted Cloud Platform itself is based on container technology developed by Apcera, adapted to support Docker Images.

Mark Thiele, chief strategy officer for Apcera, says it’s not practical for most IT organizations to try and manage different production environments inside and out of the cloud. The Apcera Trusted Cloud Platform makes it possible to deploy a consistent approach for managing these applications that can stand up to any compliance audit, says Thiele—not only because it’s highly portable, but also because it makes use of what Thiele describes as “nano segmentation” to make sure each container application is limited to a specific set according to policies defined by the IT organization.

That approach, he says, makes it possible for IT organizations to address myriad other container production issues, including the amount of licensed CPU resources being consumed, the ability to meet specific service level agreement (SLA) requirements and even data sovereignty laws that require data tied to containers to be processed within the borders of a specific country.

Ultimately, for container application to succeed in a production environment, internal IT organizations need to be able to manage them within the context of delivering an IT service, Thiele says. Without a framework to accomplish that goal, the internal IT organization is going to resist deploying those applications in a production environment.

Apcera plans to incorporate support for orchestration frameworks such as Kubernetes and Mesos to make it possible for IT organizations to mix and match them as they see fit. In the meantime, it’s clear that development of container applications is outpacing the ability of internal IT organizations to keep pace. That’s why many developers are defaulting to running container applications on public clouds to take advantage of a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment. But, Thiele notes, that approach not only inevitably creates a compliance issue, it also increases the probability of becoming locked into a specific PaaS environment that, over time, isn’t likely to scale flexibly.

As an alternative, Thiele says Apcera offloads all the complexity associated with building an IT services management framework optimized for containers in way that preserves the deployment prerogatives of the internal IT organization. When it comes to deploying container applications in a production environment, it’s still obviously early days. But one thing’s for certain—legacy IT environments soon will be sorely challenged to keep pace.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.