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December 15, 2016

Enterprise Adoption of Containers: A Technology That's Time Has Come

By Special Guest
Miska Kaipiainen, CEO and founder, Kontena

Research firm ClearPath Strategies surveyed 711 IT decision makers at organizations with at least 100 employees in seven countries for its recent report on container adoption in the enterprise. Adoption has been slower than expected, partly due to the fact that 50 percent of respondents cited container management as the top challenge. Currently, only 16 percent of all organizations are using containers in production.

Why this disparity between interest and reality? Part of the problem comes down to branding. Containers are seen as very geeky and aren’t yet widely understood by most IT professionals. The understanding of what they are and how and why they should be used – those questions still linger for far too many organizations.

However, they are looking for a change in how software is designed, built, packaged and deployed. Organizations are struggling with too many disparate servers, systems and solutions that need to be brought together. They are drowning in 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.

Enterprises today have a supply chain comprised of many vendors, and the amount of maintenance and configuration work is staggering. 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.

So, what if there was a way to unify how suppliers are required to package and deliver their solutions? If properly packaged, suppliers can deploy their entire solution to an 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?

Another benefit of containers for the enterprise is that they 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.”

The C-suite may not be as clear about the advantages of container technology as the IT team is, so the latter group will need to carefully work out how to broach the subject. What the former group understands best is business benefits, and containers offer many: providing a standardized way for suppliers to develop and deliver software, reducing config time and virtual machine set-up and app delivery cycles, to name a few. These benefits help lower costs, which everyone in the C-suite will appreciate. As these benefits are explained and then experienced, container adoption in the enterprise is sure to skyrocket.

 About the Author

Miska Kaipiainen is the CEO and founder of Kontena, the creator of the Kontena open source, developer-friendly container platform that was recognized by Black Duck as one of the Top 10 Open Source (News - Alert) Rookies of the Year 2015. A serial entrepreneur and business developer, he has extensive experience in managing high-tech businesses in both the hardware and software sectors. Twitter (News - Alert): @miskakai

Edited by Alicia Young

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