Has your company adopted containers yet? Although, thanks to legacy IT with legacy skills, many enterprise businesses have hesitated to transition from traditional monolithic applications and application stacks to containers. Why? Cost is a big reason. And when you examine SMBs and startups, you'll be surprised to find that more are making the transition because they see such technologies as a huge differentiator to help them get ahead of the competition. Because of that, they're willing to spend money on such adoptions.
Of course, when you look at even smaller businesses (which are often the heart of entrepreneurial business), you'll find that the adoption of containers is less likely.
Why? Barrier to Entry!
According to Investopedia, Barrier to Entry means the following:
Barriers to entry is an economics and business term describing factors that can prevent or impede newcomers into a market or industry sector, and so limit competition. These can include high start-up costs, regulatory hurdles, or other obstacles that prevent new competitors from easily entering a business sector. Barriers to entry benefit existing firms because they protect their market share and ability to generate revenues and profits.
The above definition applies to businesses just starting or those possibly shifting from one sector or another. Those barriers to entry can be overwhelming.
But what about businesses already running and wanting to adopt new technologies to help them optimize their workflows and processes or get a leg-up over the competition? The definition could be tweaked to include the complexity of new technology, a lack of staff with the necessary skills to overcome those complexities, and the inability to define how those new technologies can help a company.
Containers are a perfect example of this.
Large enterprise companies that have been deploying containerized applications for some time have extensive development and DevOps teams that either already fully understand the complexities of containers or they have the time and budget to get a team (or multiple teams) up to speed without worrying about their business processes could fail as those teams learn the intricacies of transforming current tech stacks over to containerized apps and services.
Given the considerable challenges containers can pose, many small and mid-sized businesses are justified in hesitancy. Unfortunately, those businesses must take advantage of a technology they could greatly benefit from. But what makes containers such a barrier to entry for these businesses? There are several issues surrounding this technology, such as:
- A lack of skilled staff who fully understand how containers work and how to deploy them successfully
- Performance can be unpredictable
- Breakdown of communication between developers and admins
- Deploying across disparate and/or remote infrastructure
- Enforcing policies across all deployments
This list alone is enough to make the barrier to entry too great for many organizations. You might be surprised, however, by just how easy it is to knock down those barriers to entry with a single management console.
Lack of skilled staff
Yes, containers seem challenging, but they don't have to be. Even those large enterprises with legacy technology and staff can benefit from Portainer, which strips away many of the complexities associated with containerization. Any IT staff member can deploy applications and services with little ramp-up time using Portainer. As they learn, they can evolve the way they use Portainer to take advantage of more advanced tools and techniques while remaining within a well-designed, easy-to-use GUI.
One of the issues with containerizing your applications is that manifests must be carefully crafted to now improperly use resources such as compute, storage, and networking. Formulating each of the requirements in a text-based manifest can be a challenge. When those manifests are carefully configured, performance can degrade quickly. With Portainer, you don't have to worry so much about crafting the perfect manifest, as those containers can be appropriately crafted with the help of forms, templates, and even Helm charts.
Breakdown of communication
Although no single application can guarantee your teams won't have any problem communicating, with Portainer, you don't have to worry so much about it, as you can define users, roles, and teams to ensure every member has specific access to the application. You can create administrators, operators, helpdesk, read-only users, and standard users with roles. Doing this means you don't have to worry that every team member has full access to everything.
Deploying across infrastructure
Portainer makes this very easy by allowing you to create multiple environments. With this feature, you can add environments from within the same network or across different locations. This can be done with either Docker or Kubernetes, significantly reducing the complexity of managing multiple deployment environments.
This relates to communication breakdown, as you can create teams and roles that function across environments to control who can do what. You can even assign environments to different groups and users to other groups to enforce role-based policies.
Security is also an issue with containers. A malformed YAML manifest can be a severe security risk. An improperly deployed container can put your entire cluster at risk. And if you're worried about developers using flawed container images, you can create a custom image repository that contains only the images you want available to your teams. And, again, Portainer makes it considerably easier to secure your environments by giving you control over who can do what. With Portainer, you'll have centralized access to logs from the associated cluster and provide backup and restore capabilities for the Portainer database.
Your teams won't have to spend nearly as much time on those deployments (compared to command-line based deployments). You can also count on team members, regardless of experience, to be able to assist in deployments (instead of depending on only the upper echelon of developers and team members).
If you're serious about employing modern workflows to get your business on par with the competition, containers might be your best bet. To do this quickly and with confidence, Portainer is an excellent option. You can explore Community Edition or Business Edition to see how either can help solve your Container Management needs.