6 Problems with Container Technology


Everyone is talking about containers, yet there’s many people that don’t understand containers and even more that don’t know how to transition container technology into the enterprise. Docker, Google, CoreOS, and their competitors are working to overcome this by building an enterprise-ready ecosystem.

But there’s a problem, a big one. Most enterprises have traditional infrastructure with significant investment and very mature process that run the systems that make the world go round. At the same time, there is an amazingly fast moving development and DevOps community trying to deploy and scale apps at a record pace. These positions are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum and that is coming to a head now.

6 Problems with Container Technology in the Enterprise

Containers as a technology make it really easy to deploy and build an environment, but they’re stateless. This makes it difficult for enterprise organizations to ensure they are compliant and secure. It also introduces a complex issue – and storage is core to this. There are six main reasons for this:

1.Stateless containers do not support integrated enterprise requirements

Containers were designed to be stateless. The impact to the enterprise is that they must build parallel systems using legacy technology for their databases, instrumentation systems, message queues and stateful data.

2. Legacy storage architectures are complex and lack API functionality to support modern automation

The legacy infrastructures that exist don’t provide direct connectivity to the container ecosystem and they don’t have the level of API integration that the container ecosystem needs.

3. Storage does not scale with apps and performance is unpredictable

Other approaches to do this – gateways and distributed container systems – have performance issues and challenges around scalability.

4. It is very difficult to move data securely between locations and/or cloud providers

Everyone’s looking to run things in different locations. You need encryption, portability and integration that doesn’t yet exist in those spaces or span multiple environments.

5. Management and performance toolsets are lacking

The level of storage management for containers is lacking. If you have an application that needs to cope with web scale – infinite scalability, high performance, security and complete application control, in a single powerful platform – being able to manage storage and grow and plan that environment is very difficult.

6. Cost model is geared towards fork lift CAPEX spikes, vendor lock-in and complex refresh cycles

The cost models of these legacy infrastructures are difficult because people expect to pay for things as they use them and that’s not the way the infrastructure was built. In the enterprise, you have the fact that there is significant investment and they cannot just throw out what they’ve had today and reuse it.

Time to Embrace the Container Ecosystem in the Enterprise

Cloud has changed the world and changed expectations. DevOps and developers looking at building an environment expect:

  • things to happen immediately
  • new resources to come online
  • to start using these tools without reading the manual

They’re expecting it to work on the first click, wherever they want to do it. Infrastructure managers are under pressure to deliver to these expectations but are concerned about security, and complexity. But they also want to use containers.

A majority of companies (53%) surveyed by Cloudfoundry had either deployed (22%) or were in the process of evaluating (31%) containers. Organizations are moving rapidly to explore and adopt containers. Of the 53% who have deployed or are evaluating containers, 16% have “already mainstreamed” their use. Another 64% expect to mainstream the use of containers in the next year. The survey said:

As container adoption increases in an organization, administrators must contend with container sprawl. The #1 challenge of containers, according to the 53% of respondents who are either using or evaluating containers, is “container management.” “Container management,” by a large percentage, is considered a more significant challenge to organizations today than “monitoring,” “persistent storage,” or even “security/isolation.” This reinforces the complexity challenges organizations face managing containers at scale.

DevOps and developers need a way to leverage the container ecosystem in an enterprise context. These organizations need to extend the stability and flexibility they are used to into the container ecosystem with a container based storage array.

At Ondat, we are looking to shift the vision of the enterprise datacenter by allowing developers and DevOps to easily build and manage self-service and scalable enterprise storage at the application level. We want to move storage away from a CAPEX model to an OPEX. And we want to build control into the system that hasn’t existed to date.

Our mission is to help people extend the enterprise nature of the datacenter into this new container ecosystem using their existing infrastructure, in bare-metal environments they’re building to run containers, in their virtualization layer they are currently deploying and in the cloud – all while managing control and security in the platform. We are delivering agile storage for your modern datacenter.

You can find out more by watching our TechFieldDay presentation on enabling enterprise storage. 


written by:
Chris Brandon
I am an executive leader with over twenty-five years of experience building and growing technology businesses. I have led numerous successful, global, large-scale, enterprise transformations in the financial services and service provider sectors. I have expert technical depth in Cloud, Storage, Containers, End User Computing, Enterprise Architecture Design, and Operations.

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