Microservices built on Containers are continuing to gather momentum and enterprise level maturity in 2017, as enterprises invested in Cloud now explore on extracting value out of the platform through rapid software delivery, low administrative overhead and increased decoupling of software components to reduce operational complexity and portability of applications.
Considering the protracted time to adoption (since inception) for emerging technologies within the enterprise, Containers’ rapid rise to acclaim and adoption has been unprecedented . Since the popularization of Containers with Docker over the last 4 years, many enterprises and startups have experimented with the technology to learn what ticks in production. The lessons have been fed back to vendors and as a result the core technology has gotten better and fueled a flurry of activity within the ecosystem to fill the gaps, or generate new technology frontiers, such as Serverless.
In recent years, hyper-scale cloud providers have made significant investments to offer Containers-as-a-Service (CaaS). However, that convenience and simplicity does not come without trade-offs. The level of customization, technology selection and insight will vary across these cloud platforms. Additionally, while the technology is gaining rapid adoption, it is still young and it might be prudent to have options.
Furthermore, there is growing interest in deploying Containers on “bare-metal” physical machines, running minimal operating systems like Rancher, or CoreOS. In short, if you want to keep your options open and divest your risk, or perhaps have a hybrid IT/cloud strategy then your best bet would be to leverage automation in a such a way that it treats infrastructure as code and completely obfuscates the target platform (cloud or not).
In that regard, Dimension Data has done a good amount of work in creating automation assets that you can leverage via DevOps tools such as Terraform, Mantl & Ansible to deploy and operate containers on platforms such as Rancher, OpenShift and Docker Swarm. Over time the company plans to add to this inventory with other popular tools and platforms.
Its no surprise that DevOps will continue to play a significant role in digitizing your enterprise and to mitigate risk. So once you have experimented with CaaS offerings to get over the initial learning curve, you will likely need automation to string together your containers together across people, platforms and processes as you transition your containers to production.