Alfresco has embraced containers and Kubernetes as a vehicle for deploying Alfresco Content Services, an open source enterprise content management (ECM) platform.
Chris Wiborg, vice president of product marketing at Alfresco, says customer demand for a more agile means of managing content within the context of a digital business process led Alfresco to embrace containers.
As a complement to that effort, Alfresco also has created the Alfresco Application Development Framework, which provides access to a library of more than 150 components created using angular and material design methodologies, and added a quick-start capability to a business process management framework that resides on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.
Finally, Alfresco has added Alfresco Insight Engine, which provides access to a series of dashboards that surface statistics in near real time about how digital assets are being used, and updated Alfresco Governance Services to make it easier to apply compliance mandates to records management.
Wiborg says the need to digital transform processes is driving organizations to re-engineer workloads in ways that often involve public clouds. By embracing containers and Kubernetes, Alfresco is making it easier for organizations to deploy an ECM platform in any public cloud or on-premises environment they choose, he says, adding those ECM services can then be dynamically invoked by applications via application programming interfaces (APIs) that Alfresco has defined.
That shift is enabling organizations to close the gap that historically has existed between IT and the business because those APIs enable workflows to be dynamically adjusted as the business evolves, Wiborg says. In fact, he notes, the existence of APIs and containers reduces the risk associated with developing new processes by both lowering costs and making it possible to roll back functions whenever needed. That need to dynamically adjust workflows is also pushing more organizations to implement DevOps process. In many cases, it’s becoming apparent that IT can drive process changes now faster than a business can absorb, he says.
As a provider of an open source EMC platform, Alfresco is in a better position to take advantage in advances in open source software that are now coming at a faster rate than ever, Wiborg says. As more vendors contribute code to, for example, the Kubernetes project, not only does the cost of building Alfresco software declines, but also the company can add new functionality at a faster rate.
It remains to be seen to what degree digital business transformation projects will drive more organizations to embrace containers. It’s probable that most organizations will first gain exposure to containers and Kubernetes in the form of packaged applications delivered by independent software vendors. As those organizations move to customize those applications, the tools provided by the vendor will rely on APIs and containers to enable developers to build complementary microservices.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that all the application code that has come before will simply disappear. But over time, the rate at which both new functions will be added and old ones replaced soon may be unprecedented. Whether organizations are prepared to absorb that level of disruption is, of course, another matter altogether.