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Welcome to the New IT Age of Containers

Oct 29th, 2015 6:17pm by
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Like me, you probably like to read blogs and books, but sometimes they get a little monotonous. Thank goodness we have live events and videos to fall back on for different ways to consume information.

Take, for instance, the talk by The New Stack Editor-in-Chief Alex Williams at last week’s SAP TechEd conference in Las Vegas, based on our non-stop coverage of Docker and the container ecosystem for the last two years. As someone who has read TNS’s new ebook cover to cover, I can attest that the video is a good summary of what we have learned over that time.

In addition to the video, if you are interested in borrowing slides for your own presentation, please feel free to peruse the content via SlideShare.

The main reason containers have caught everyone’s attention, Williams posited, is that containers and Docker are harbingers of larger changes occurring across the IT landscape (hence the name of this site).

Coming from its origins as an extension of the Linux container system, Docker is grounded in open source culture. It is repeatedly cited as an example of how open source communities are proliferating and becoming more commercial. Both the Open Container Initiative and Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) are examples of how corporations are collaborating at a basic level on specifying how microservices should be run.

Add to this trend the influx of easy to-use programming languages. Apple’s Swift is an example how making programming easy has brought in a large wave of new programmers. Others have gravitated to Google’s Go, which has served as the basis for building Docker.

Another trend spurring on this container revolution is the demand for automated infrastructures. Internet scale companies (i.e. Yelp, Netflix) developed their own solutions to automate their infrastructure to handle the need to manage containers as they move from test to everyday usage.

Yet handcrafted approaches do not scale, so a new generation of vendors has risen to create products and services to address the pain points of integrating containers into a larger environment. Google is leading CNCF’s effort to help companies develop their own automated infrastructure so they can act like Internet-scale companies.

The second half of Williams’ presentation dealt with actual vendors and products. It is based on our survey of 48 companies conducted earlier in the year. TNS found that Docker and container ecosystem companies are likely offering or planning to offer tools that help throughout the lifecycle of an application, from application development to image creation, deployment, orchestration and management. Because of the emphasis on end-to-end solutions, it is not surprising that many of the companies look at IBM, AWS and Heroku as potential competitors.

SAP was smart to hold its conference in the same hotel — the sprawling Venetian — as AWS:reinvent, given that AWS is often cited as one of the best infrastructures. This infrastructure was vital for building AWS’ registry authentication service. Image registries are critically important and they are one of Docker’s competitive advantages. Efforts to standardize base images were becoming part of several vendors’ offerings.

Williams’ presentation ended with a discussion of partnerships among different companies. Docker is central to the plans of most companies. Microsoft and Google are also actively promoting their partnerships, but at the same time they are competing with AWS in offering IaaS. CoreOS is offering Tectonic and Red Hat is offering OpenShift, both of which could serve as the basis for commercial offerings from their own partners.

Docker and Red Hat are sponsors of The New Stack.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Docker.
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