June 25, 2017

If you’re a developer or admin, you understand how containers can help make your work easier from a technical standpoint. But how can you convince your boss that containers are useful from a business standpoint? Here are eight talking points.

Getting buy-in for containers from higher-ups is important, of course. No matter how great a technology seems to the people who use it in the trenches, taking advantage of it on a large scale usually is not feasible unless you have support from the people making your business decisions.

With that challenge in mind, here are eight reasons you can give your boss for adopting containers:

  • Optimize hardware usage. Containers help you make the most of the servers you already own. That saves money by reducing the need to purchase new hardware.
  • Prospective hires like containers. To attract top IT talent, you need to be using technology they want to use. For many skilled developers and admins, that technology includes containers.
  • Containers are open source. Unlike some old-generation infrastructure technologies, such as VMware, containers are open source. That helps to reduce acquisition costs. It also eliminates the challenge of vendor lock-in.
  • The learning curve is manageable. It would be dishonest to say there is no learning curve required to migrate to containers. You have to containerize your existing applications, and learn to work within a new type of environment. That takes time. But it’s not impossible. Most people with experience working with Linux and virtual machines will be able to pick up the container paradigm easily enough.
  • You can deploy faster. Containers are an ideal hosting environment for continuous delivery pipelines. That makes them beneficial for organizations that want to push out app changes very quickly—which is important for keeping ahead of the competition.
  • Containers give you deployment flexibility. Containers do not require you to use any particular type of programming framework or server. You can write in whichever language you want, and run containers on any version of Linux—and, now, on Windows, too (although Docker support for Windows is still not really production-ready). That flexibility is important for businesses that want to avoid being locked into particular frameworks.
  • Consistency. Containers help make your testing, staging and deployment environments identical. That assures stability and minimizes the chance of pushing buggy software into production—which leads to angry customers.
  • They work with the infrastructure you already use. You don’t have to buy new servers or migrate to a new cloud host to use containers. You can set up a Docker environment pretty much anywhere, including on the infrastructure you already own or rent in the cloud.

You should be honest about the limitations of containers, of course. They’re not a silver bullet. But containers do offer several business advantages. Pointing them out to your boss could be just what you need to do to move your production workloads to containers.

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has covered technology and business news for nearly a decade, specializing in open source, containers, big data, networking and security. He is currently Senior Editor and DevOps Analyst with Fixate.io and Sweetcode.io.