Containers Everywhere…Are we really ready?

Depending on what you read, certain areas of the IT Industry are telling us that there is a freight train coming our way…and that train is bringing with it containers.

With the recent release of container platforms from Microsoft and VMware it seems as though those that control the vast majority of the x86 platforms around the world are taking notice of the containers movement. Docker is the poster child of the push towards 3rd Platform Applications with many others looking to cash in.While there is no doubt there is a lot of benefit in the basic premise of what containerized applications offer the biggest question for me is how seriously we take the push in the real world of IT.

What do I mean by the real world of IT?

Well this is a word where orginizations are only just now starting to accept Cloud based platforms to deliver Platform and Software as a Service. It takes time for trends to reach the top of enterprise, and this is what we are certainly seeing now when it comes to the uptake of those Cloud services.

In the real world of IT, organizations are still running legacy applications on what some people call legacy platforms. Depending on who you talk to that definition of legacy platforms differs…some even say that virtuatization is legacy even now. Being realistic about what is legacy or not…the way in which IT is consumed today is not going to suddenly switch on mass to a containerized model any time soon. IT is only just now working out ways of better consuming Cloud based services by way of maximizing APIs interfaces and using the middleware that harneses their power.

In reality the real shift to a wider adoption of 3rd Platforms is happening in a place that you may not think about too often…University Campuses and the students of today who will become the IT professionals of tomorrow.

My peripeteia moment in coming to the conclusion that it is important to start to learn and understand about containers and 3rd platform applications came when I asked a couple of local software developers (who are quiet accomplished) about Docker and if they had done any container development…to my surprise the response I got was…”What are Containers and what is Docker?

Now, before the conclusion is drawn that the devs in question where out of touch…consider this. When this particular generation of developers went through university they may have started coding in Pascal (as I did), but more likely started in Java or C++…they also didn’t have virutalization in their lives until the mid to late 2000’s…When they where writing code for projects it wasn’t being uploaded and run off AWS based instances or anything to do with Cloud.

We live in a “legacy” world today because the generation of coders that create and produce the applications we consume today know about how best to exploit the tools they learnt with…There will be a shift…and I believe a dramatic one to 3rd platform apps when the current generation of university students graduate and get out in to the world and start to develop and create applications based on what they know best.

So yes, lets be aware of containers and ensure we are ready to host and consume 3rd Platform apps…but lets not go nuts and say that the current way we consume IT services and applications is dead and will be going away anytime too soon…

One comment

  • Interesting view point, but have you stopped to consider that legacy core apps all have something in common? They are surrounded in middlewear, 3rd party integration modules, web front ends, etc etc; also many organisations invest heavily in digital marketing, whereby they create their own apps to engage their customers, or think about services that reside in a DMZ, most of which are stateless gateways..

    You dont actually need to develop specifically for Docker, you can take any web based app and deploy it into a container, and for stateless services, the 3 second reboot and instant scaling of Containers is very beneficial.

    So whilst i agree, there is still a long way to go before containers are mainstream for core apps, they are already making waves in the 90% of servers that surround a core app.