The State of Containers: 5 Things You Need to Know Now

Cloud migration has become common as enterprises look to enhance their IT infrastructure. But the real question is how does one ensure the software or applications run smoothly, post migration?

This is where containers come into play as they containerize the application platform and its dependencies, and ensure applications run reliably after migration.

As per a Global Markets Insights report, the container market in the APAC (Asia-Pacific) region is set to touch $1.5 billion and that of the Americas to touch $3.5 billion by 2024 – signalling the future demand for this technology.

So, while containerization catches on fast, the following questions stand:

 

How do enterprises capitalize on this technology? Or How can they successfully leverage containers into their operational and development infrastructure?

 

Here are 5 things that will help.

  1. Haste makes waste:

Enterprises should thoroughly look into their requirements, assess and then decide if containers are required as solutions; hasty decisions invite unnecessary trouble.

Container technology is relatively new and hence comes with risks – associated with security and these security concerns need to be addressed before adopting the technology.

Having said that, enterprises can balance the risks with potential advantages of containers and embrace the technology. As far as experience goes, many enterprises have been able to do so and leverage on container technology.

  1. People matter and so do skills:

Enterprises across the world are yet to move a significant amount of workloads to the cloud for various obvious reasons, much less move to containers on the cloud.

Moving to containers needs cognisance of two important things – the willingness of resources and more importantly, their skills in container technology. Enterprises will need to invest in training existing resources or hiring experienced ones to build and deploy applications in containers. This is not an easy task, it involves additional costs and time – things enterprises are hard pressed for, under current competitive scenarios.

Enterprises adopting DevOps are also faced with this situation as containerization meshes well with DevOps process and moving to DevOps is, automatically moving to Containers. To avoid risks, some enterprises adopt containers first and later look at DevOps.

  1. All about Application scaling:

Applications come in different formats – while some are easy to containerize others are not. Some are too decoupled from other application components and others are too coupled, making it difficult to containerize such applications.

The important thing to note is – the amount of work required to re-factor applications so they can be fit into containers and also scale up as a cluster of containers.

You will need to assess the kind of efforts required and the difficulties faced for an application to turn into a set of containers. Some applications can be easily turned into while others cannot be – the approach towards containerization should be from an application point of view.

  1. Lean Strategic approach: As part of the digital transformation, enterprises are embracing several strategies in a bid to achieve a smooth transition. While strategies are good, they need to be thought through and executed in a lean manner.

Containers must fit in and be relevant to the overall company strategy and not become a strategy in itself.

Another thing to understand is that deploying applications is not a new thing, it has been in practice for long. It is just that the technology of deploying applications through containerization is new.

It is an evolution in application deployment that provides a more portable, scalable and better platform for cloud-based applications.

  1. Testing, and more Testing: When it comes to adopting or embracing new technologies, nothing is more important than Testing these, again and again, to see if there are ‘chinks in the armour’.

Enterprises adopting container technology must create test platforms and conduct a series of tests to understand the limitations of the technology. Some of the tests are –

  • Leveraging Data –What are the limitations while containerizing data? What are the differences while leveraging containerized data versus data using traditional interfaces?
  • Ensure Stability – What kind of workloads or behaviours make the containers unstable? How to ensure the containers are stable based on different workloads or behaviours?
  • Ascertain Scalability – What kind of workloads are scalable and how can one scale them up? What kind of workloads are not scalable and why?
  • Container Management – How does one manage containers and their clusters over a long period of time?
  • Security and Governance – How does one govern and secure containers? How does this affect the performance, stability and scalability of containers?

 

Container technology is set to grow as it finds greater acceptance within the business community. The market is witnessing a higher number of container vendors which is actually good news because enterprises will now have more options to choose from.

Having said that, containers are still new, they do not solve all the problems and are evolving as we speak. So, enterprises need to keep their minds open and assess very carefully before taking decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

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