While hybrid cloud computing is the ultimate goal for many IT organizations, the road they take to get there may wind up being be much different than the one they initially started on.
A new survey of 745 IT professionals commissioned by StackEngine, a provider of management software for Docker containers, finds that the top reason IT organizations are adopting Docker containers is to build a hybrid cloud. Roughly 45 percent of the respondents said they plan to build a hybrid cloud, and 20 percent report that they have already deployed Docker containers in a production application.
Managing Docker containers
But how are those organizations intending to manage all those Docker containers? Because containers can run on physical servers, virtual machines, or within a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment. IT organizations have the option of either managing them with their existing frameworks or deploying new ones that are designed from the ground up for Docker containers.
In the StackEngine survey, 45 percent of the respondents said they would prefer to use their existing tools, while 24 percent said they would prefer to have a new management framework. The other 23 percent said they would be open to both options.
Two of the primary reasons that Docker containers are so popular is that they are easy to provision and when they run natively on a server, they consume much less compute horsepower than a virtual machine. However, opting to run a Docker container on a virtual machine provides better isolation of the workload running on that container and presents additional security benefits.
Increased spending and opportunity for MSPs
As a result, there is a case to be made for running Docker containers on top of virtual machines. The millions of dollars that organizations have already spent on virtualization management software makes it clear to see why there is a great divide in the IT community when it comes to managing Docker containers.
For IT service providers, the rise of Docker containers is likely to be a double-edged sword. IT infrastructure should by definition become more efficient. But a proliferation of Docker containers is also likely to lead to Docker container sprawl that will make managing virtual machine sprawl seem like child’s play. Of course, the more difficult the IT environment becomes to manage, the more likely it is that IT organizations will look outside their organization for help.
Docker containers are not likely to replace traditional virtual machines any time soon, so IT service providers may be looking at managing Docker containers alongside virtual machines for years to come. But the one thing that is certain is that Docker containers are not going away any time soon. That means IT service providers need to start figuring out how to manage Docker containers now, because when IT organizations finally figure out that they have a problem, they won’t be willing to wait for an IT service provider to get up to speed on the technology.