Container technologies allow enterprises to create highly differentiated apps and services faster, with better quality and geographic reach, to create compelling customer experiences. They have quickly become an important element of digital business transformation for EA pros because they promise faster software delivery, tremendous scale, higher resiliency, greater flexibility, and broader implementation options. Everything about enterprise app infrastructures, development styles, and architectures is changing, and containers play a key role in each area.

However, Forrester’s TechRadar™ for business technology infrastructure found that containers and container management technologies are still in the Creation stage, meaning that some container components and management tools are immature and changing quickly. Companies must navigate a complex landscape of technology components to build, package, and deploy containers. To help tech management pros accelerate cloud evolution, I’ve recently published a report with Dave Bartoletti focusing on the software landscape for each layer in a typical container management software architecture. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Container strategies are critical to digital business. Container technology sits at the center of cloud-native applications and platforms and provides business and architectural benefits, such as improvement of DevOps-style software delivery to accelerate innovation, as well as performance advantages for infrastructure automation and efficiency. Containers have become nearly ubiquitous in cloud platforms — both on-premises and in the public cloud and for both Linux and Windows environments. EA pros must define their container strategy to accelerate digital transformation.
  • Container-based application platforms are key to container strategies. We outline two platform architecture categories: container-native and integrated-platform. Each provides unique advantages — container-native architecture is lightweight but requires some assembly, while integrated-platform architecture is more mature and full-featured. Open source components play an important role in both, and the reference architecture of container-based application platforms spans from container infrastructure to operations management.
  • The container software vendor landscape is diversified and growing fast. Container software options consist of both open source and commercial software on each layer of container-based application platforms. EA pros have a key role to play in helping navigate the fast-moving landscape of container solutions from infrastructure software vendors, open source communities, container-native solution providers, PaaS vendors, and public cloud platform providers. They should also pay attention to fast-growing vendors in China.

What’s your opinion on container technology? Tell us how you’re leveraging containers to accelerate your cloud evolution and digital transformation.