Containers have evolved quickly from a nascent niche concept to a mainstream technology. The popularity of containers has sparked its own cottage industry—the existence of this website included—dedicated to fostering and facilitating the use of containers to simplify and automate app development. Shippable is an example of a company devoted to containers.
Containers remove platform and language barriers, but the containerized apps still need to be developed and maintained. Shippable exists to help developers ship quality code faster. The Shippable website explains, “Our continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform leverages Docker to help you ship better code, faster than ever before. We automate your workflow between the time code is committed to the time it lights up in production.”
I had a chance to speak with Shippable co-founder and CEO Avi Cavale recently. He paints an ambitious vision for the future of container technology. Cavale pointed out that containers seems to be following a similar trajectory of adoption as virtualization did a decade or so ago. At first it is used strictly in lab environments to streamline auditing and testing. Eventually it gathers mainstream steam and IT admins start to ask themselves why they’re not embracing this technology in production environments.
According to Cavale organizations will move toward a micro-services based architecture, and containers will be the fuel that drives it. As companies strive to innovate faster and faster the sheer weight of the code will slow them down. It makes sense to break development down to its smallest possible chunks—like containers.
No matter how small you break down the development, though, there is still a lifecycle to contend with. There is the act of developing the code, the process of testing and refining and choosing when or if to deploy the code, and finally the act of deploying it. Shippable provides a platform for managing the container application lifecycle from beginning to end—focusing primarily on the middle chunk.
Cavale explained to me that there are a variety of tools out there to help organizations and developers with developing the code and deploying the finished product. Effectively monitoring and managing the middle step, however, is where most of the challenges lie and that’s where Shippable comes in.
Shippable is programming language and platform agnostic. It provides IT admins with the state of every environment. When a code change is pushed into source control Shippable automatically validates the changes in a dedicated virtual environment. Shippable verifies that the code is deployable so you can be confident it will work when you choose to deploy it to the production environment.
Containers are the next big thing. Developing and managing code at that level has many advantages, but organizations will soon be swimming in hundreds and thousands of containerized apps. A platform like Shippable that can help ensure the containers will work properly when deployed and that provides organizations with the tools to effectively manage them all will be valuable. Shippable is bringing continuous integration to containers. If Cavale is right this is just one piece of a larger piece of what container management will bring.