More complete toolbox leads way to containers in production

Tools

Container technology has come a long way in a short period of time, but this could be the year that the containers begin to see production use in enterprises, according to Lars Herrmann, general manager of Red Hat's integrated solutions business unit.

Containers have, of course, been a big topic in the last two years. Many organizations began to dabble in container technologies in 2015, but what Herrmann believes will drive adoption this year is the fact the container toolbox is now much more complete than it was a year ago.

"We have been talking extensively about containers in the industry, and we believe 2016 is the year where we see the key technologies enterprises needs to develop and manage containerized applications and infrastructure is really getting the production adoption," Herrmann said.

In terms of the toolbox, container vendors and their technology partners have come a long way in what apps and features are available. They've beefed up security and interoperability significantly – both key to enterprise adoption of the technology.

"It becomes a lot more easy for customers now that we have a lot more structure in the market around open standards with the Open Container Initiative and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation on the various governance structures in open source," Herrmann explained. "So we actually do see that the early adoption is shifting. Customers want to go into production with these applications because they feel comfortable having the tools and being able to manage that."

Containerization enables organizations to define what Herrmann noted is a better operational model. It's created a more ideal environment for existing and future workloads that provides greater transparency and consistency within organizations, he added. That's also attractive to enterprises and helping to drive further adoption.

For many companies, containerization is also a direct path to the cloud, providing greater efficiency than they could ever achieve by using virtual machines, Herrmann said. The layer of abstraction along with more self-service features is also beneficial to enterprises, he said.

Additionally, cloud services providers have also gotten behind containers with their own initiatives. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform – they all have their own enterprise-ready container offerings. It makes it easier for enterprises to more easily deploy and manage containerized infrastructure and get the benefits of containers and microservices architectures.

There are still management challenges to solve, especially considering containerized apps are often distributed across multiple systems, but Herrmann noted there has been much progress in solving that problem, as well. Red Hat is trying to solve the problem with CloudForms, which provides unified management and operations functionality.

Overall, though, container technology is standing on "a very mature foundation," Herrmann said.

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