Containers Bring Great Opportunity for the Enterprise
December 09, 2016

Miska Kaipiainen

There's nothing stopping many of the biggest enterprise software companies from turning to containers to deliver their software, but the industry is struggling with organic adoption. Dave Bartoletti, principal analyst at Forrester, noted at the Container Summit that though containers could help to speed digital transformation, only 8 percent of enterprise developers are currently using containers for production release.

If container technology is so great, why aren't we seeing faster and wider adoption?

Part of the problem comes down to branding. Containers are seen as well, super geeky, and aren't yet widely understood by most IT professionals. The understanding of what they are, how and why they should be used – those questions still linger for far too many organizations.

A shift is needed when it comes to how we design, build, package and deploy software.

Organizations are struggling with too many disparate servers, systems and solutions that need to be brought together. They are drowning with endless integration projects while working with hundreds of software suppliers. At the same time, end customers have come to expect and require a high level of service, necessitating transformation of application infrastructure and architecture.

Large enterprises with a multi-vendor software supply chain often struggle with the amount of maintenance and configuration work they're faced with. Not only are suppliers each constantly requiring this and that from the IT and operations teams, but there are also internal feature and configuration change requests to grapple with. This includes spinning up virtual machines, opening VPN tunnels, assigning IP and DNS addresses, and enabling access for one supplier to integrate with another, among other requests. And each of these can take weeks to process.

For modern enterprise IT departments, container platforms present an opportunity to unify the way that suppliers are required to package and deliver their solutions. If properly packaged, suppliers can deploy the entire solution to enterprise container platform without any assistance from the IT department. They can configure the container stack from start to finish by themselves. Needless to say, they can also test the complete stack on their own development environment, one that's identical to the actual production environment. From there, all the IT department needs to do is add computing capacity to the container platform when resources run low. How cool is that?

For an enterprise, container technology can make it easier to adopt the cloud and blur the differences between private, public and hybrid cloud infrastructures. The one-two punch of cloud and containerization offers enterprises a complete packaged solution. As analyst Robert Stroud points out, "Container adoption is being driven by the promise that containers deliver the ability to 'build once and run anywhere,' allowing increased server efficiency and scalability for technology managers."

IT staff have their work cut out for them when it comes to helping decision-makers understand why container technology is worthwhile. However, although the technology itself may be complex, the benefits are not. Containers bring myriad benefits to the enterprise, including standardizing the way suppliers develop and deliver software; shortening the time needed for configuration, setting up virtual machines, speeding up application delivery cycles and ultimately lowering costs. And those are just a few examples. Once you've started using containers, there's a good chance you'll wonder what took you so long.

Miska Kaipiainen is CEO and Founder of Kontena.

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