Dynamic industry demands and business expectations to achieve innovation, growth and competitive advantage are forcing organizations to adopt agile IT to deliver digital transformation and superior customer experience.
Along with ensuring seamless business operations, digital leaders have a new mandate: implement an outside-in strategy to roll out new business and operating models and drive innovative customer interactions across omni-channel touchpoints.
Built-in agility at the core to deliver aggressive time-to-market, rapid functionality releases, and ability to make rapid product and infrastructure changes are business priorities today. This is in striking contrast to erstwhile priorities of lowering costs, improving service quality and reducing risk.
Businesses need the IT and operational culture to be aligned with the rapid pace of modern markets. IT infrastructure needs to complement and deliver similar agility at its core by enabling event-driven responses.
Programmable software defined infrastructure is key to achieving this goal. This means, businesses must shift from “Cloud-first” to a “Cloud-only” strategy, taking care to enable cloud agnostic application development to achieve the “App-anywhere” concept. Another trend that is gaining traction is to directly develop or modernize legacy application architecture on container technology to deliver microservices. This approach is usually host-agnostic and provides agility in the form of rapid spin-up/down, enabling on-demand scalability.
Applications based on containers deliver faster and easier customer deployment through automation, provide instant portability, and enable advanced development leveraging crowd sourcing. According to Gartner¹, by 2020, more than 50% of global organizations will be running D containerized applications in production, up from less than 20% today.
It’s little wonder organizations are adopting cloud native app development and investing in IT infrastructure automation framework that allows developers to build the required environment on-demand, so developers can concentrate on the development task rather than operations.
However, currently organizations and provider solutions are at different maturity states and lack the automation required to fully adopt the PaaS and container ecosystem. The paper discusses how leveraging platform services from ISVs and cloud service providers instead of building the solutions on premise leads to better results for enterprises. It also explores the value System Integrators (SIs) bring in addressing the overall complexity involved in deploying a unified solution and delivering solutions on an as-a-Service model.
Creating a container platform strategy: The gateway to Agile IT
The IT industry is gearing up to match the pace of business by offering Infrastructure-as-aService (IaaS) combined with the platform environment to deliver workloads with ready-to-use environment libraries and middleware. To develop highly scalable applications, IT needs to leverage application containers. IaaS solutions are available either as-a-Service on premise or on cloud to enable certain application parts to scale selectively, without affecting other parts. While widespread adoption of application containers could take some time, demands for business agility and scale are aggressively driving the shift. CIOs, CDOs, CMOs, application developers, infrastructure and operations leaders need to join hands to develop a container and platform strategy that can deliver on agile business expectations.
However, the challenge lies in the way organizations typically approach cloud. Most enterprises deploy private, public or hybrid cloud solutions on VM instances, resulting in the headache of coordinating various teams.
Application container comprises respective application components, and necessary files, environment variables and libraries.
Integrating PaaS and leveraging containers: The new approach
The new approach of integrating PaaS and leveraging containers is the most natural choice as containers provide the level of isolation required for achieving self-sufficient environments to run application stacks. It provides an opportunity to enhance developer productivity and agility, drive application modernization, and deliver cloud native applications.
Leveraging this approach, application virtualization can follow the infrastructure virtualization model. Applications can be developed (or migrated) in an independent container isolated from the host’s operating system. Application container comprises respective application components, and necessary files, environment variables and libraries. This makes application containers highly portable to compatible OS and orchestrators.
Modern CIOs are increasingly promoting container services to deliver basic PaaS functions like:
a) Source code and executable packaging and distribution
b) Reliable and zero downtime roll out of software versions and healing
c) Auto-scaling and load balancing
Container registries are becoming the ideal way to distribute applications across the world. Reliable software rollout is achieved using orchestrator concepts like Deployment in Kubernetes and service healing.
Here are a few key benefits of integrating PaaS with container adoption:
PayPal, for instance, uses Docker containers-based solution to enhance productivity and agility for their developers. The company processes more than 1 billion payment transactions on mobile and other payment platforms.
Managed services: Simplifying container deployments at scale with SDx
While the strategic need for PaaS and containers is clear, managing container deployments at scale requires significant management capabilities and expertise. Given the rapid pace of developments in Kubernetes community and application development, it is challenging for customers to continuously upgrade and maintain these environments. A system integrator and managed services provider can bridge this gap by providing an overall framework to maintain all aspects of the PaaS and container ecosystem, freeing developers to focus solely on their core competence. The benefits of partnering with the right managed services provider include:
Multi-cloud focus with SDx ecosystem
Completely API-driven easy-to-use multi-tenant UI
Differentiated monitoring and managed services
Strategizing the solution for Enterprise applications with micro services and containers delivered on PaaS and fully Programable software defined infrastructure (SDx)
1 Gartner, Smarter With Gartner, “6 Best Practices for Creating a Container Platform Strategy ”, Christy Pettey, October 31, 2017
Mayur Shah - SDx Theme Leader, Wipro Limited.
Mayur Shah Mayur Shah is SDx theme leader at Wipro. He has a track record of incubating and nurturing emerging technology practices. In his current role as Theme Owner and Practice Head - Software Defined Everything (SDx), his charter includes driving overall SDx strategy and priorities at Wipro. He has spent over 15 of his 18+ years in Wipro, being part of niche practices and offerings. He has rich experience in strategy and operations entailing building the solution architecture and new business development. Mayur’s sound understanding of Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing (ITO) has helped Wipro acquire new business while handling many deals of varying sizes. He has broad exposure of developing solutions for several industry verticals in both domestic and global markets.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 5 SDx Theme Leader, Wipro Limited.