Containers benefit your hybrid IT strategy. Here’s how.
How containers get you one-step closer to a next-gen, on-demand digital data centre
‘How come my competitors seem to be creating on-demand digital businesses at the click of a button? What am I doing wrong in my business hybrid IT strategy? What do I need to do to change this?’ This question was recently posed to me by one of my clients. I get this question a lot.
The answer is fairly simple: As your enterprise journey to an on-demand digital business, it becomes a necessity to adapt and scale your data centre to help accelerate your digital business outcomes. To truly support your hybrid IT environment, you’ll need to make use of emerging technologies, such as containers, to unlock a myriad of operational and cost benefits to bring you a step closer to a next-generation data centre fit for the digital age.
Containers solve the problem of portability and getting software to operate reliably when moved from one computing environment to another, for example in your hybrid IT environment. In a next-generation data centre, containers then help to achieve benefits around automation of workload provisioning and orchestration across technology.
A 451 Research report commissioned by Dimension Data, Success factors for managing hybrid IT, finds that 52% of the enterprises surveyed are already using container technology to make applications more flexible across hybrid IT environments.
I’d like to highlight the following benefits of using containers in your hybrid IT environment:
1. Consistency in all environments
Containers enable portability and help reduce organisational and technical frictions of moving an application through development testing lifecycles. Containers encapsulate all the necessary application files and software dependencies and this serves as a building block that can be deployed on any computing resource, regardless of the software operating system or even the hardware configuration.
Why is this beneficial for your enterprise? Your applications can be reliably and consistently deployed regardless of the environment. This avoids some of the manual configurations of the server and releases new features faster.
2. Drastically increasing operational efficiencies
From an operational perspective, containers give you a higher density for workloads. They’re small in footprint and you can have hundreds or thousands of containers running on a server so you can realise more efficient use of server resources (and your investment in these resources).
You get easier portability, which is about how these applications and services are packaged. It can move from one environment to another because the OS instance differences are abstracted. This removes the operational effort of modifying code or configuration profiles every time you need to run the application on a new underlying infrastructure.
You also get quicker initialisation in that these containers start up quickly and are more agile – remember that speed of operation is a major need in the next-generation data centre. The operational value of containers is one of the reasons why containers are taking off in the market.
3. Maximise developers’ productivity
Containers help increase developers’ productivity by removing cross-server dependencies and conflict. Each application component can be broken down into different containers running a different micro service. Containers are isolated from one another, and developers don’t have to be concerned about libraries or dependencies being in sync or in conflict with one another because it’s all abstracted away from each other.
4. Version control increases developers’ efficiencies
Containers allow enterprises to track versions of application code and their dependencies. When developers are implementing a change to an application or updating a portion of a service or function it’s easy to roll back to previous versions – this functionality greatly speeds up your developers’ efficiencies.
Interested. What to do next?
As with any new disruptive technology, it’s difficult to fully realise the potential and to understand the impact on your hybrid IT infrastructure without sufficient knowledge and internal skills. It was the same when Virtual Machines were deemed disruptive in data centres more than a decade ago, and look at where we are today.
At Dimension Data, we use container technology in our hybrid IT services as a way to distribute and maintain the services we deliver to our clients. We, therefore, understand the associated challenges it may bring. Consider calling in experts from the onset to eliminate a lot of the complexities that containers may cause in terms of your network design, security, storage and management tools.
A recent blog by Kevin Leahy explores how a change in mindset and culture is sometimes needed to fully exploit container technology. Existing processes within organisations don’t always allow for developers to use new technologies.
Act now and take advantage of container technology. Engage with an experienced service provider that can help your staff to embrace flexible development and ultimately drive business outcomes – it will save you a lot of headaches later on.