As part of their digital transformation initiatives, just about all of our enterprise IT customers aim to replace traditional, manually-based IT tasks with software that automates test, configuration and runtime processes, and containers have emerged as a critical enabling technology.

By offering IT organizations a way to break down applications into smaller, more digestible modules, companies can now deploy applications faster, better and cheaper.

To offer some perspective, containers typically include 200 megabytes of code, roughly one-tenth the size of a full-blown Linux application. When a developer spins up a container, it comes up in milliseconds. That’s much faster than even provisioning an ESX host, which can take six to 10 minutes.

With this speed and agility, companies can now spend more time developing the applications that will enhance the business, thus speeding up an even broader move to digital transformation in which the company’s IT operations are automated and its processes and support products have gone digital.

Building applications with containers takes some preparation, so here are questions IT teams should ask:

  1. What are the potential business outcomes? Containers will help speed applications to market because containers offer faster, more consistent release cycles. The application is developed in a container, packaged, tested and deployed into production. And because it’s already been tested in a runtime environment, developers don’t have to do added testing. There’s also much less troubleshooting because containers are built to restart when they detect a failure. The platform does more of the work for the IT staff, including monitoring, so applications can get developed, tested, placed into production and managed with fewer people.
  2. How do containers enable digital transformation? By building applications more efficiently at lower cost, organizations can focus more on DevOps. They can spend more time on developing applications that will help grow the business as opposed to spending the majority of their time on manual IT issues such as testing, configuration and troubleshooting.
  3. Will containers run on multiple cloud platforms? Containers have become one of the main ways developers build applications in the cloud. Most containers, like the ones built in Docker, have open APIs and can run on all the major cloud platforms. So if your organization uses multiple cloud providers, the containers will run fine on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, the Google Cloud Platform, and in your company’s own private cloud.
  4. What operating systems do containers run on? Containers were first developed in the Linux world about 20 years ago, so they are portable across most flavors of Linux, including RedHat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, SUSE Linux and many others. Containers are also now supported in the latest release of Microsoft Windows Server 2016, and can run on most common desktop platforms, including the Mac OS and Windows 10.

There’s been growing interest in containers among IT and R&D departments in the past few years, ever since commercial products such as Docker made it easier to package containers, but most companies will benefit from working with a service provider that has deep experience with the leading tools.

 

Want to learn more about the importance of containerization on the path to hybrid IT innovation? View this webcast with experts from IDC, DXC Technology and Red Hat.