In the modern era of cloud-native applications, most organizations are under ever-increasing pressure to deliver their offerings with speed and agility. To remain competitive, application development and testing teams have been considering and adopting new technologies like containers. Container technology is simple and agile to use, thus saving the hassle of complex IT operations.
A 2017 study by Forrester reveals that organizations that have adopted container technologies have reported varying advantages (based on their requirements and implementation), including a moderate or significant increase in speed (experienced by 75 percent organizations adopting containers), better security (67 percent of organizations), consistent deployment processes (73 percent), and higher developer efficiencies (66 percent). Containers are also turning out to be a cost-effective solution for organizations compared to virtualization as many container instances can be packed onto a single server instance.
Here are seven companies that have benefited from the switch to container technology:
1. Ticketmaster adopts CoreOS Tectonic
Ticketmaster, the California-based ticket sales and distribution company, has been using digital platforms to sell tickets of high-profile global events for several decades. It operates more than 21 ticket systems through its seven datacenters and in the AWS Public Cloud. With traffic of around 80 million unique visitors per month, they were often spending more time in developing software to deploy other software rather than developing their core business applications. To prevent the relevant issues (like system outages), and to concentrate on their core applications, they decided to automate their deployment-related operations.
Ticketmaster chose CoreOS Tectonic — an enterprise-ready Kubernetes platform — as the container orchestration layer to host their applications. With Tectonic, Ticketmaster was able to automate its deployment needs using Kubernetes stack, where the developers could develop and deploy their applications without having to worry about its deployment optimization. They were able to reduce the overall deployment time from 20 minutes to just 60 seconds.
2. Barclays adopts Red Hat OpenShift Container
Barclays, one of the world’s leading financial-services provider, needed to be more responsive to the upcoming market trends, which was putting massive pressure on its existing resources. Its employees frequently demanded some dynamic ways to develop and deliver applications to serve its millions of customers worldwide. To meet all these requirements, the UK-based firm needed to modernize its infrastructure.
Barclays adopted a cloud container-based strategy and adopted Red Hat OpenShift container platform-based middleware. This helped them reduce the overall environment provisioning time from days to hours, and also helped them utilize their resources efficiently. They achieved a 70 percent reduction in time, and 80 percent rise in resource utilization, along with a reduction in overall expenses.
3. Box adopts Kubernetes
Box, the California-based enterprise content management company, has more than 50 million users globally. For these customers, the company initially had a bare metal-based datacenter, along with a monolithic PHP code base. To meet the demands of global customers more effectively, the company sought after ways to run the workloads across different cloud infrastructures in an efficient manner.
Box was an early adopter and contributor to Kubernetes container orchestration. With this, they were able to develop and deliver a consistent set of services and portability across all clouds. The microservices deployment time got reduced from six months to less than five days.
4. Splunk joins hands with Docker
Splunk, the San Francisco-based data-analytics MNC, has been an early adopter of container technologies. Splunk has been on the top charts of several analysts and agencies and has been recognized several times as a valuable and powerful company on various parameters. To continue its rapid growth, Splunk demanded a dynamic infrastructure to host its software testing and operational requirements. They were looking for DevOps practices with commercial support for major operating system platforms, including Windows and Linux.
Splunk decided to implement containers at its data centers. To optimize and automate their testing environment, they leveraged Docker containers as the foundation for their continuous integration and continuous delivery infrastructure. They also used Jenkins automation server to automate their performance testing cycles. And the results were very fruitful for Splunk.
With preconfigured Splunk images, testers could quickly spin up an instance for their testing or other requirements. They could even leverage the preconfigured images of Splunk Enterprise and the Universal Forwarder, saving a considerable amount of time and resources. With support for 2,000 concurrent jobs running on the same containerized infrastructure, they were able to gain 75 percent improvements in the CPU utilization.
6. Visa adopts Docker
Visa, the world’s largest retail electronic payments network, processes $5.8 trillion in Visa payments every year. To remain competitive, Visa had made some investments in virtualization technology by setting up a private cloud a few years ago. But statistics suggested that the utilization of the private cloud was below 15 percent, as frequent maintenance and time-taking deployment cycles accounted for reduced productivity and resource utilization. Visa needed a new strategy to improve developer productivity and optimize its resource utilization.
Visa implemented container platform and refactored two of its payment processing applications on Docker Enterprise. With this, Visa is now able to carry out over millions of transactions per day on the Docker-based platform. Overall, Visa achieved around 10-times increase in scalability for its critical applications running on Docker Containers.
7. Nextdoor uses containers on AWS
Nextdoor, the San Francisco-based localized social networking service, provides private social networks for more than 70 percent of neighborhoods. Since its founding in 2008, Nextdoor has its entire platform set up across more than 300 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and it uses 30 AWS Services to support its social networking website. Nextdoor aims at delivering time-critical updates about disaster recovery, local events, or other crime and safety-related notifications to its members and city agencies. Nextdoor needed to ensure security and flexibility for its applications while fostering innovation.
For this, Nextdoor moved to containers using Route53 and the Elastic Load Balancer to execute its red or black deployments of application across a microservices architecture. Nextdoor used machine learning models, powered by Docker Containers using Amazon E2 Container Service and several other services, to create a “trending post” feature, notifying users about top daily discussions in their neighborhood. Nextdoor said that it had achieved a 10-times improvement in the deployment times using Amazon ECS.
Container technology: Only the beginning
For container technology, the pilot projects taken up by the initial adopters have started showing fruitful results, and now analysts are expecting a good momentum toward its adoption in the near future. According to an estimate from Gartner, more than 75 percent of the global organization will be working with containerized applications by 2022, a sharp rise from the current 30 percent. Also expected is the growth in the overall size of deployment by the large organizations. At present, more than 63 percent of enterprises are running more than 100 instances of containers, while 82 percent are expected to scale it to more than 100 instances in the next two years.
Though a relatively new phenomenon, containers have become integral to the building and shipping of applications. The interesting thing is that it’s not just startups. Rather, it’s the large enterprises that are leading the way in innovation around containers. This is a positive trend and shows that container adoption is going in the right direction. Container technology vendors have already started focusing on addressing the challenges of container adoption, like security, data management, cost, scalability, and reliability. But one look at the companies mentioned here and you’ll agree that we have moved well past the most basic challenges with containers and are now enjoying the benefits they bring.
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