Pushing Containers Past the Experimentation Phase at OpenStack Silicon Valley

So you think you want to use containers in production? The world of DevOps is being disrupted at an amazingly fast rate, much of which is being driven by the introduction of containers into enterprise infrastructure. Containers have deep roots in the developer community, but if containers are going to make their way past the experimentation phase and into production environments, then a fundamental shift needs to occur that promotes an equilibrium of control between DevOps having what they want and ITOps having the safety and trust they need.

This week I'll be participating in a panel discussion atOpenStack Silicon Valleyalongside executives from Rackspace, Rancher Labs and Pivotal for a reality check into the future of containers.

For instance, there have been grumblings in the industry that containers are going to kill VMs. Whether or not this will actually occur is yet to be determined, but there's nothing to say that the two couldn't peacefully coexist with one another for the time being. And who knows, if the container is the nail in the coffin for the VM—logically that means there will also come a day when the container prepares to meet its maker. The more important question to ask likely isn't will containers replace VMs, but rather how are containers fundamentally changing the way people construct systems, and how does this directly impact how things must be approached differently to achieve business value?

My co-panelists will also debate other polarizing questions pertaining to containers, such as what will a Docker+OpenStack super-ecosystem look like? (a.k.a., industry overkill), or do enterprises actually care about underlying container technologies? (really depends on what view of the world you are looking through, DevOps or ITOps.)

If you look at the current landscape and break it into the IT-minded folks and developers, you'll see that the true drivers of containers in the enterprise are the developers who care deeply about containers and the underlying technology. ITOps wants a way to solve problems and doesn't necessarily care about the genesis of the specific pain point. As Docker and the container industry as a whole continues to mature, the ability to scale containerized applications—particularly for production environments—is a necessity.

OpenStack has an opportunity to embrace this new container-based world, but things will need to be done differently. I'm looking forward to bringing up the poignant questions of when and how to best push containers past the experimental phase and into mainstream infrastructure later this week at OpenStack Silicon Valley.

See Derek discuss his ideas in more detail at OpenStack Silicon Valley, this Thursday, August 27 from 9:10-9:40 AM PT during theContainers: A Rapid-Fire Reality Check panel discussion moderated by TechCrunch's Frederic Lardinois.