With developers increasingly calling the shots when it comes to what IT infrastructure will be used to support container applications, some IT infrastructure vendors are now going out of their way to expose developers to their technologies for free.
Case in point is Citrix, which now is making an instance of its application delivery controller (ADC) technology that runs inside a Docker container. Sanjay Kapoor, vice president of product marketing for Citrix, says NetScaler CPX Express is designed to give developers access to load balancing software without requiring them to ask the IT operations team to fill out a purchase order and then wait for them to physically deploy an ADC.
A logical extension to the implementation of an ADC Citrix already has made available as a container, Kapoor says NetScaler CPX Express provides a more limited set of functionality compared to any of the ADCs that Citrix makes available commercially on a container, virtual machine or as a physical appliance. The goal with NetScaler CPX Express, he says, is to make it easier for developers to create a proof-of-concept (PoC) of new applications that then would be deployed in a production environment using one of the ADC options Citrix commercially supports. To enable that transition, NetScaler CPX Express uses the same codebase and sports the same REST API and operations interface as the rest of the NetScaler ADC portfolio.
NetScaler CPX Express, which Citrix says can be deployed in less than five minutes, also provides support for service discovery and auto reconfiguration with Google Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Apache Mesos container management systems. Like all other Citrix ADCs, NetScaler CPX Express is integrated also with the NetScaler Management and Analytics System.
As network appliances of all types continue to evolve into virtual appliances that can be deployed programmatically as either a container or as a virtual machine, it’s clear that developers soon will be exercising more influence over what network and security functions get implemented in support of an application. The final decision may rest with the IT operations team. But as developers continue to embrace agile application development methodologies, many of them will make use of networking and security software to build as complete an application as possible. Once that application is ready to deployed in a production environment, the networking and security functionality embedded in that application by the developer often will wind up being the path of least resistance for the IT operations team to support.
Obviously, not every IT operations team is going to swap out a particular network or security technology just because a developer decides to use something different than what currently is running in a production environment. But as more developers get exposed to particular network and security technologies, it’s clear the providers of that software are hoping to turn developers into advocates on their behalf.
The challenge those vendors all now face is making sure they develop any particular software they create in a way that a developer actually would find appealing to use in the first place.