The Role of Containers in Building a Digital Foundation | HCL Blogs

The Role of Containers in Building a Digital Foundation

The Role of Containers in Building a Digital Foundation
February 09, 2021

Our world has changed forever, with some challenges remaining a constant for enterprises across the globe, especially with the prevalence of digital technologies. By July 2020, per research, the average share of products or services that were either partially or fully digitized rose to an all-time high of 55% globally. This digitization is a strong indication that the enterprise-wide adoption of digital technologies, processes, and workflows is accelerating across all industries. Furthermore, spurred by the global pandemic, this tsunami of consumer behavior that compulsorily prefers digital experiences to physical in-person ones, has changed the momentum of this digital-first trend irrevocably. As a result of this state of global flux, enterprises are struggling even more to maintain their brand awareness, customer loyalty, and business performance. After all, digital experiences are becoming more accessible; changing your mind and signing up to something new in a digital world is only a tap, click, or swipe away!

Hence, few will disagree that at this point, the writing is on the wall— and permanently, too. The enterprise of tomorrow must embrace a culture of digitization with a robust digital foundation if they wish to thrive with resilience. For many organizations, the key to this transformation for digitization lies in leveraging cloud-native solutions, allowing them to deliver applications rapidly and reliably. This digitization-backed modern architecture is built using microservices available through a containerized application development process, packaged in deployable containers.

Attaining Digital Efficiency with Containerization

Digital maturity has a singular and easy to understand goal— to significantly improve customer experience and the IT operations in tandem. This mandates the availability of an agile environment with a virtualized infrastructure that promises flexibility, portability, and easy management. In other words, the journey toward digital maturity must start with the right investments toward fortifying a digital technology backbone. But this is actually a two-pronged approach. The first part entails investing in operating model changes that enhance decision-making, collaboration, and talent management. The second part of the investment deals with the core IT infrastructure that is essential to fostering digital capabilities. Enter containers technology.

Containerization provides these desired benefits, packaging it along with security and scalability. In short, adoption of container technology can prove to be a game changer for enterprises speeding toward their digital reincarnation.

Publicly available research infers that adopting containers can enable faster innovation and improved development and deployment cycles. This has the ability to reduce the development time by 15 to 30%, and an initial cost saving of 5 to 15% due to efficient hardware and processes.

Containers are packaged with codes and dependencies that can run in different computing environments quickly and reliably. Moreover, the greater portability offered by containers improves the scalability and flexibility of any IT architecture, while acting as a steppingstone toward more advanced cloud-focused architectures. Given the myriad benefits, container adoption is expected to grow throughout the application life cycle. Independent analyst firms forecast that 70% of organizations, globally, would be running more than two containerized applications in production by 2023, a staggering jump from less than 20% in 2019.

And while this helps enterprises secure their present goals of digitization, it also holds the potential to create a productive and resilient future. Companies are slowly but resolutely moving beyond the traditional usages of containerization toward a wider spectrum of usage. Containerization is moving past web applications to updating more traditional applications such as databases, custom applications, and Business Intelligence/Analytics. At the same time, early adopters that prioritized easy-to-containerize applications, such as microservices, are increasingly using containerization for transforming and modernizing older, monolithic applications as well.

As containerized applications have established benefits of enhanced portability, simplicity, and the streamlining of installation, upgrade, and rollback processes, this will improve the adaptability and cost efficiency of the legacy applications. For example, Dell Inc. has successfully used Docker containers to containerize a monolithic systems management tool that was over two decades old. The update process with Docker containers was carried out while the system was fully functional, leaving no additional footprint on the host.

To sum up, containers technology and containerization as a process can serve as a way forward for enterprises that are attempting to induce efficiency, scalability, and flexibility into their workflows. While this will go a long way in their quest for attaining digitization, the responsibility lies just as squarely on the business leaders to make the right choices to ensure that they leverage these advantages and meet their business goals.

Containers technology and containerization as a process can definitely serve as a way forward for enterprises that are attempting to induce efficiency, scalability, and flexibility into their workflows

Countering Challenges with Red Hat

The primary challenge for enterprises is to align container implementation with their organizational structure and objectives. Red Hat is an open-source, open standards-based, community-driven technology company. As a result, it can assist organizations implement containerization by participating in and innovating from within open-source communities. This is the best way to accelerate innovation and benefit from open-source development models and principles that helped shape the technology.

Furthermore, Red Hat provides an integrated container platform that can be implemented in two ways—as a fully orchestrated and multi-container application as well as a standard workload. Red Hat can be instrumental in helping enterprises develop the practices, culture, and tools that are needed to modernize existing applications and build new ones efficiently and effectively.

The HCL Approach

The containerization team at HCL has been carefully curated with the perfect mix of experience and expertise. As a Kubernetes certified provider and a CNCF gold member, the HCL team is trained, accredited, and certified on Red Hat and several other container platform technologies, such as OpenShift and Tanzu. Our dedicated COE is focused on Red Hat Openshift, Public Cloud K8S offerings, and associated products.

We have the digital capabilities to design, build, migrate, and operate OpenShift platform deployed to on-premise or public/hybrid cloud. We also offer flexible delivery models that are highly customizable per specific requirements. And finally, our strong presence in large customer account bases has helped numerous organizations through their container platform journey. Our torchbearers can lead organizations toward a fortified digital foundation and enrich their digital experiences with next-gen implementations of digital technologies.