Enterprise software companies stand to benefit greatly from container technology, yet adoption has been slow. It’s understood that containers could help to speed the inevitable force of digital transformation, overcoming the challenges of developer productivity and application delivery. The Cloud Foundry Foundation’s report, “Hope Versus Reality: Containers in 2016,” revealed that just 16 percent of all organizations are using containers in production.
What is behind this resistance? If container technology is so wonderful, why aren’t we seeing faster and wider adoption?
Branding is a significant contributing factor to slow adoption. Containers are seen as, well, super 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.
But geekiness aside, the reality is that 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.
Enterprises tend to struggle with the amount of maintenance and configuration work they’re faced with, due to their multi-vendor software supply chains. 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.
Container platforms present an opportunity for modern enterprise IT departments 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?
It is easier for enterprises to adopt the cloud and blur the differences between private, public and hybrid cloud infrastructures by adopting container technology. 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.”
Because the technology is complex, IT staff will need to find creative and persuasive ways to help decision-makers understand why containers are a must today. Describing the benefits to enterprises, which are many, should make a good impression. They include speeding the configuration cycle, setup for virtual machines and application delivery cycles. Containers also standardize how suppliers develop and deliver software. What is most likely to get leaders’ attention, though, is the cost savings. When you start using containers in your enterprise, you are sure to find more benefits of your own.
About the Author / Miska Kaipiainen
Miska Kaipiainen is the CEO and founder of Kontena, the creator of the Kontena container platform. A serial entrepreneur and business developer, Kaipiainen has extensive experience in managing high-tech businesses in both the hardware and software sectors. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.