Being part of the C- level suite in the IT space, wondering about 3-5-year technology roadmap can be daunting. Technology has become complex not simple. Legacy systems cannot be abandoned for the sake of adopting modern technology nor you can completely depend on legacy itself. Software development is not technology companies’ expertise anymore, but it is a core expertise needed for all enterprises. Organizations across domains have found it necessary to develop software for the benefit of the employees & customers

In this process, a key question would be how containerization plays a role where VMs dominate. There are no right answers or winners in this argument. The answer could be in the organization’s digital transformation goal. Given the importance of digital transformation initiatives, as a CIO container technology could play a very important role for the company to rapidly get transformed. As part of the bigger picture of Continuous delivery, being more agile and flexible, Containers are seeing an increase in Adoption. One of the biggest challenge for the CIO office is able to run the IT department with speed, simplicity and efficiency. Containers have become the go to technology to achieve this by helping developers and onboarding them rapidly and getting ready for the cloud. Hiring high quality developers who prefer to work on modern technologies have containerization as one of the preferred technology of choice.

Even though containerization comes with plenty of benefits, every CIO should have a check list to see if the organization is ready to move in this direction. Some of the key points they should consider

  • Does my team have skillset necessary to implement containers?
  • How good or mature are the tools and processes which support containerization
  • Does my team have the knowhow to orchestrate and manage the containers?
  • How about security and monitoring challenges
  • Will the container-based architecture perform as expected?
  • How will I go about designing a container-based architecture?
  • How is this aligned with business objectives
  • Who will own this initiative in your IT group, the developers or the operations team
  • What do I need to my current architecture to accommodate the distributed nature of container-based systems.

Containers are highly efficient and scalable services considering that google search engine is container based.

Why does a CIO need to look at containers?

In many enterprise problems occur when the supporting software environment is not identical, for example, testing one version of a software and running it on an upgrade version of it in production, the risk of the software collapsing is very high. If you are relying on the behavior of one version of SSL library and if some other version gets installed. When 2 different versions or OS is involved, all kinds of weird things start to happen. Most of the enterprises will have different eco-systems, platforms & OS running in parallel.

How can CIO’s use containers to solve this problem?

Containers help CIOs in getting the software to run reliably when moved from one computing environment to another.  Whether it is the developer’s laptop to a test environment or a staging environment to production. Even this could be from physical machine in a data center to a cloud-based environment. It is not just a software issue even when the network environment or security policies are different, containers are very useful.

Containers consists of an entire runtime environment, an application and all the bells & whistles than come with it including the dependencies, libraries and configuration files needed to run. All in one package. By containerizing the above, it eliminates the dependency on OS and the underlying infrastructure.

Some of the other benefits of containers are it needs only few tens of megabytes whereas VMs requirement goes into gigabytes. Containers boots up fast and can be used whenever its needed and can be removed when not required freeing up storage space. Containerization allows for greater modularity by splitting the application into modules instead of running the entire application in a single container. This leads to better management of the applications as the modules simple enough without having to rebuild the whole applications. These modules can be called upon only when needed and is available instantly

If your IT road map includes accelerated development process, empowering developer creativity, partial to Service oriented architecture and eliminate environment variables, containers can be an ideal fit.