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Electric Cloud 2016 Predictions: Containers Move to the Mainstream

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Nikhil Vaze, Staff Software Engineer, Electric Cloud

2016 Predictions: Containers Move to the Mainstream

2015 was the year of containers. Across industries, we see both small development teams and large enterprises wonder: How will Docker affect my software delivery?

In the last year, everyone was curious about how containers would affect their organization and how to manage containers vs. virtual machines. With the introduction of Docker, containers suddenly became simple. Furthermore, as Docker became so popular, to prevent fragmentation in the market it contributed some of its core technology to the ecosystem - Open Containers Initiative (OCI) - which is now the standard for containers.

As the benefits of containerization came to light in the last year, the market is shifting, and it's going to be interesting to see how containers will interact with other tenants of the cloud ecosystem.

One area to look at is Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and how it will interact with Docker. Right now, containers and Docker are more of developer tools rather than production tools, but we're starting to see them move to the mainstream and used for mission-critical deployments. As organization grapple with how to use Docker in production, they can rely on PaaS solutions to provide best practices and standards.  On their end, PaaS providers were also quick to offer Docker integrations as a means to appeal to developers.

As we move toward container and Operations as a standard, new questions come to light: What does it mean to support Docker in production for business critical applications? How do you manage all your containers, and orchestrate them for production-scale? How can you use Docker throughout your software delivery process, across all environments - from development thru Production? As PaaS with Docker evolves towards the mainstream, 2016 will see more innovation around those large-scale enterprise use cases and production loads.

Another related area to look at in 2016 is the Configuration Management space and how it will evolve in relation to container technology. The configuration management tools we know today were originally developed to address the challenge of realizing infrastructure blueprints in repeatable ways. Docker greatly simplifies the problem of reproducible environments and easy bootstrapping, as the language doesn't require specialized skill like other CM solutions do, and it is easier to scale in the organization and get other users to take advantage of the technology.

2016 will see the debate heat up on where the lines are, or best use cases for Docker with, or in place, of configuration management. Looking forward, configuration management tools vendors will be in upheaval as they figure out how to best work with Docker and adapt to the changing landscape. That is not to say that configuration management will be obsolete, but 2016 is the year the industry internalizes the differences between tools like configuration management, orchestration, application release automation (ARA), and Docker- and what are the best use cases for each, and how they work together.

Another interesting trend is how container technology is pushing VM technology to become faster. One of the biggest benefits of containers is how fast they are to spin up. This is leading vendors to increasingly look to reducing start-up time of VMs to compete with containers, like the recent Clear Container initiative from Intel. Initiatives like this will blur the line between containers and VMs even more. Getting your software out in 2016 will be even faster, simpler, and you just wouldn't be able to contain yourself!


About the Author

Nikhil Vaze is a Staff Software Engineer on the Electric Cloud engineering team. He is a full stack engineer and loves to hack on things. Nikhil holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Master of Science in Security Informatics from Johns Hopkins University.


Published Tuesday, December 22, 2015 6:31 AM by David Marshall
Five Software Delivery Industry Predictions for 2016 - Electric Cloud - (Author's Link) - December 22, 2015 1:02 PM
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