Containers Today 2019 recap by Wiebe de Roos

Containers Today recap by Wiebe de Roos – Containers Today 2019 has just ended. Hope you were there, just like me. This one-day event took place on June 27th in The Hague (The Netherlands). With over 12 breakout sessions and 3 keynotes – this was the biggest container event in The Netherlands. Read on to get the highlights. This is my personal view on the event.

Fokker Terminal

Keynotes

After a warm welcome at the Fokker Terminal, Docker’s Kal De kicked off by presenting the latest improvements of Docker Enterprise (the commercial solution of Docker).

One of the core concepts of the presentation was “the higher order bit”. As Kal explained it: People don’t want to buy a tool to drill a hole in the wall, they want the hole in the wall itself or even better: they want to hang something at the wall. It’s about the higher order bit. 

This is just like application development: developers want to work on new features – not on the things that are needed to ship and deploy an application. There is a shift from platform centric to product centric. Docker Enterprise follows this principle by improving Docker.Next and The Cloud Native Application Bundle (CNAB).

Dennis Ekkelenkamp explained why T-Mobile was forced to containerize everything. A tip from the success factors of the organizational perspective: “Go big or go home…;-)”. Another one from the tech perspective: “Clear policy of base images”. This also reflects what has been described in “Containers as artifacts”.

T-Mobile's presentation at Containers Today 2019
Source: slides T-mobile

In the last keynote Eric Han of Portworx compared the different types of power adapters with containers and cloud provides. Their phrase: “Containers are the multicloud plug” which emphasizes the big advantage of containers in a multi cloud environment.

All of these keynotes were highly informative and inspirational. It was a very good start of the day to get ready for the break-out sessions.

Break-out sessions

The break-out sessions were presented by companies who adopted container technology on a large scale and vendors who offer solutions for containerized environments.

Similar to last year, the sessions are split into three different tracks: the business, developer and the operations track. During the day, sessions ran in parallel across those 3 tracks. In between the sessions everyone had the possibility to shake hands, exchange tips & tricks and to meet and greet the presenters.

Trends in adoption

There is a clear trend towards the adoption of containers within organizations. A lot of companies started off with small initiatives a couple of years ago. As of now, companies are rolling out containers on an enterprise scale. Containers are not just used for test environments, but also in production. It looks like the fear has been overcome. However the top 3 concerns for containers in production remains: security, data management and the handling multi-cloud and hybrid deployment models.

A lot of presenters highlighted that it is important to have a container strategy in place. Roald Ruchti from Docker made it clear in his presentation which was about accelerating innovation through the use of containers.

Container platforms

Because of the enterprise vision of containers and the container strategies, container platforms are getting more attention. Multiple companies like Alm Brand and ABN AMRO presented their solutions and experiences. ABN AMRO created their own platform based on Managed Kubernetes by AWS (EKS) complemented by specialized (Cloud Native) tools for specific use cases: compliance as code, consistent deployment patterns and container run-time security.

According to ABN AMRO it is crucial to make the platform compliant and secure. This ensures it supports all kinds of sensitive and highly demanding workloads – now and in the future. Alm Brands builds their container platform on top of Docker to reap the benefits of the enterprise features which are being offered by Docker Inc.

Persistent storage

Containers are stateless: once they have done their job, they should be removed. What about the data that needs to be preserved? Multiple companies offered persistent storage for containers. Pure storage, Portworx and StorageOS presented their cases on this relatively new topic. Some core concepts are: Storage configuration should be defined “as code” just like other infrastructure components, application development teams should not not matter (too much) on implementation details and storage should be “always on” and extremely reliable.

With so many companies offering these services on such a high level, it’s clear that persistent storage solutions are getting more mature. This is a true benefit for using containers which require stateful workloads (storage).

Other sessions

The day continued with more interesting sessions all focusing on specific topics. A short summary to get you aligned:

  • Topicus & CZ talked about containerizing Windows workloads in an enterprise project. The integration of containers in Windows is increasing. Containers are used in the Azure cloud to deploy Windows based applications.
  • Sysdig is a well known container security company. Their presentation was all about the life-cycle of containers from source code to running containers and the other way around. A big focus on the “not so happy flow”.
Sysdig's presentation at Containers Today 2019
Source: slides Sysdig
  • Alm Brand presented their redesigned pipeline flow focusing on Docker compose. This approach differs from traditional pipelines: they provide a low barrier for developers to start adopting these kind of pipelines and workflows. In the end it supports faster and more reliable delivery of applications.
  • F5 Networks emphasized the importance of infrastructure automation. Key points in this story are to automate everything and keep infrastructure easy and reliable to reproduce. Split the pipelines which are needed to deliver new versions of the software applications: a Continuous Integration pipeline and a Continuous Deployment pipeline.

    Conclusion

    Looking back I can conclude this was a successful and joyful event all dedicated to container technology. It has brought us great presentations and inspiring ideas from a lot of companies which are successfully adopting and implementing container technology on an enterprise scale. Be sure to check out the website of Containers Today to get all of the details. Hope to see you (again) next year!