Containers offer significant benefits, including the ability to quickly spin up apps, deploy them anywhere, and enhance scalability – all of which grows business agility and speeds innovation. In addition, containers offer portability and greater security through immutable infrastructure. They remove traditional stumbling blocks like dependencies and differences in OS and infrastructures.
Despite these benefits, container adoption has been slow. There are several reasons why containers haven’t caught on as quickly as one might expect, at least when compared to other digitally transformative technologies.
- There are many vendors to choose from. While there are many container vendors in the marketplace, they use different terminology—even when referring to the same thing—creating confusion and contradictory information.
- IT organizations lack skillsets. Because demand exceeds supply for IT pros with container experience, having employees or other resources who possess the right container skill sets can be a considerable challenge.
- There is an abundance of third-party container tools. Containers aren’t plug-and-play, so you’ll likely need more than one tool to achieve your desired end state. Yet, doing so given the dizzying array of third-party vendors and tools can be a significant challenge.
- Not surprisingly, security concerns exist. Even though containers help create an immutable environment, security concerns related to monitoring, management, orchestration, and networking often remain.
Build a successful containerization strategy
Building containers has become infinitely easier with the help of the cloud. Before you jump in feet first, consider the following to help ensure your container strategy gets off to the right start.
- Begin with the business objective you would like containers to successfully address. Be specific. As noted author Stephen Covey wrote in his bestselling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end in mind.”
- Shift security left. Containers help security become a key aspect of the development effort; because they are immutable, containers are replaced, not patched. This reduces the opportunity for vulnerabilities or errors. In addition, container automation helps increase consistency and standardization.
- Start with a template that incorporates container best practices. Containerization templates can help ensure you build a solid, firm foundation and can save you significant time because they shortcut the process of making hundreds of design choices.
- Invest in building a CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) pipeline from day one. Doing so will provide automation tools and improve workflows that will help reduce manual errors. Fully automated CI/CD pipelines can grow team efficiency and productivity.
- Make sure the right team is in place. If you don’t have enough, or any, professionals on staff who possess the needed container skill sets, help them get there. To shortcut the process, consider working with a skilled partner who can help upskill your team while progressing your containerization strategy.
Be committed. Think creatively.
If you’re thinking about deploying a container strategy, it’s helpful to consider things with a different mindset. For example, Fugro, a multinational geo-intelligence company has ships across the world that collect and provide geological data. To provide this service, it needed constant availability and reliability of service despite the limited connectivity of its ships at sea. So Fugro created an internet of things (IoT) service with Docker containers and AWS.
The IoT service has built-in security to ensure the safe collection and storage of data while also giving Fugro greater uptime and portability that allowed the AWS-based environment to be quickly reproduced on demand across global regions. Moreover, containers allowed the company to create microservices that gave it even greater agility. By approaching containerization creatively, Fugro grew its continuous delivery cycle, eliminated redundancy, and improved uptime.
For additional reading on how you can shorten the containerization journey and grow innovation and agility visit: Build Agile IT Infrastructure with Containers