At Emerging Technology Advisors (ETA), we help organizations identify and apply the right modern technologies to address the specific mission need. In recent months, we have seen tremendous benefit from providing a container-based fabric that allows for rapid technological experimentation and enablement within enterprises of various scale. In some organizations, this is known as a DevOps transformation, others refer to it as embracing Shadow IT, and others still refer to it as “re-inspiring the workforce”. Regardless of the name, there is one clear sentiment – the enterprise needs to embrace modern tools and processes in order to move faster, which in turn allows them to outpace the competition, regardless of market share or industry position.

Docker Data Center

Docker Data Center

In order to gain that much needed agility, enterprise organizations need a fast and flexible manner to experiment with new technologies that won’t compromise their posture of security and stability that has established them as an industry leader or otherwise compromise customer trust. Most enterprise IT organizations are caught in the struggle to keep up with virtualization and “cloud” enhancements and the need to stay current with continually shifting technical landscapes while continuing to meet evolving business requirements.

A key problem in IT infrastructure is that the virtual machine (VM) model provides too much flexibility and capability to the application provider which in turn necessitates the operations team to be intimately involved with the deployment and maintenance process. Furthermore, the VM model leaves a sprawling security attack surface area which raises serious concerns about adding any new software systems to the domain, slowing the adoption and integration of any new and unknown technologies and services.

We have found that implementing a container fabric, specifically with Docker Datacenter, provides the speed and agility that businesses need while retaining, if not improving, the process and security that the business requires. A container fabric provides the basis for self-service technology enablement for the enterprise that enables new and updated systems to be deployed with little to no operations oversight or involvement. With a fabric, both formal IT and shadow IT can deploy using standardized shared resources with ease, regardless of the chosen implementation paths (e.g. Windows service, Node.js, .NET, Java, Go).

In Docker Datacenter, we found the perfect mixture of dashboard driven operations, push button or fully automated deployment cycles, and system flexibility that affords any variant of deployment from development to production. Reinforced with virtualized overlay networks, Control Groups, built-in high-availability (HA), and end-to-end PKI security, there is a clean partition between the application systems and the operational stance and management of those systems. This allows the enterprise IT organization to provide the acceleration of a startup with the structure and security of an enterprise, all while reducing overhead and costs.

To provide a real-world use case, many organizations seek to leverage more nimble programming languages like Node.js and Go, but are worried about the downstream effects including:

  • How do we host this application?
  • What are the security ramifications?
  • How do we patch and maintain?
  • How do we update if all we have used is Java/.NET?
  • How do we monitor the application?

In the container fabric, these questions are all answered through a combination of how containers work and the core benefits of Docker Datacenter. By integrating a container fabric into the existing enterprise IT network, the formal and shadow IT organizations are able to gradually transition from a VM-based ecosystem to a fully container-based ecosystem, without downtime or degradation of services. This allows for development teams, both locally and remote, to rapidly adopt new technology trends like the transition from monolith to microservices and new technology stacks like Node.js and Go.

In the transformations that ETA has assisted with, the resulting containerized services and applications are better architected for long term growth, development, and maintenance. By reducing the friction between development and operations, developers are able to understand the results and outcomes of infrastructure and system design decisions. Conversely, the operations team is able to make critical, real-time business decisions without having to confer with the development team about “will this work”. This powerful combination is necessary to allow enterprise organizations to operate and evolve independently, yet unify in progressing forward to embrace modern tools and methods. This enablement is critical to address and leverage the rise of newer technologies including software automation and artificial intelligence.

With the recent updates in the latest version of Docker combined with Docker Datacenter, the enterprise finally has a container fabric that is easy to use, implement, and leverage. With the support and services available from Docker and its partners, like ETA, your team can be the champions and providers of the necessary enterprise IT transformation. Regardless of if your operating environment is a regulated or cleared environment, the combined team of Docker and ETA are available to support you.

For more information about how your organization can move faster with container fabric using Docker Datacenter, please contact [email protected]