Containers are about to transform the way IT is managed, as vendors are now starting to employ containers to transform how entire applications and databases are deployed and managed.
Case in point is Robin Systems, which this week announced an update to the Robin Cloud Platform that employs Docker containers to make it easier for IT organizations to make available databases and packaged applications via a self-service platform that can be deployed on-premises or in a public cloud.
Version 4.0 of Robin Cloud Platform adds support for adds SAP HANA, IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL databases, in addition to existing support for multiple NoSQL databases and Oracle relational databases. In addition, this release adds support for Microsoft Azure as a public cloud deployment option alongside Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Razi Sharir, vice president of products for Robin Systems, says IT organizations are now moving quickly to make it easier to manage both new and existing legacy applications and databases by packaging them in containers. The challenge they face is they don’t have a management platform designed to manage containerized applications and databases, says Sharir.
The Robin Cloud Platform provides the control plane IT organizations can use to build a self-service portal to make containerized applications and databases more easily accessible using Robin Systems’ workflow tools, explains Sharir. Robin Systems understands that developers are moving rapidly to embrace containers at a time when IT operations teams don’t have a platform for managing containerized applications and databases.
In effect, Sharir says Robin Systems is enabling what his company describes as an application-defined infrastructure capability. To achieve that goal, the Robin Cloud Platform includes its own mechanism for provisioning the storage and network resources that would be attached to any containerized application or database. Sharir says Robin Systems views that capability as a complement to Kubernetes, which he says over time will become more integrated with the Robin Cloud Platform.
The Robin Cloud Platform also includes support for REST application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable the platform to share information with legacy management platforms. The idea is to be able to slipstream the Robin Cloud Platform into an existing IT environment rather than forcing IT organizations to rip and replace those platforms, says Sharir.
There’s no doubt at this juncture that as IT organizations begin to embrace containers and microservices many of the fundamental approaches relied on to manage applications and databases must change. The challenge will be finding a way to achieve that goal in the least disruptive manner possible. Legacy management platforms are not capable of managing modern containerized applications. And yet, millions of lines of legacy application code running on legacy platforms won’t be containerized overnight.
Obviously, every provider of an IT management platform views containers as a major new opportunity. Less clear, however, is how many of them will be able to extend their platforms on their own and how many will simply acquire a startup company more focused on the problem at hand.