By Vidhya Srinivasan
Containers enable greater freedom and flexibility in today’s complex multi-cloud environments. Many people outside of IT, however, aren’t exactly sure what containers are, how they work, and why they should care, so let’s start there.
Docker, a prominent container platform provider, defines containers in the following way:
A container image is a lightweight, stand-alone, executable package of a piece of software that includes everything needed to run it: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries, settings. Available for both Linux and Windows based apps, containerized software will always run the same, regardless of the environment. Containers isolate software from its surroundings, for example differences between development and staging environments and help reduce conflicts between teams running different software on the same infrastructure.
CIO.com’s definition may be more accessible to non-technical folks. According to them, “Containers are a solution to the problem of how to get software to run reliably when moved from one computing environment to another… By containerizing the application platform and its dependencies, differences in OS distributions and underlying infrastructure are abstracted away.”
The container model offers a variety of benefits. Containers are significantly smaller than virtual machines, so take up less server space and can run much faster. They’re also modular. Developers can split an application into modules, such as the database, the application front-end, etc., and build and modify just the individual modules instead of the entire application (this is referred to as the micro-services approach, which you’ll often hear in conjunction with conversations about containerization.) These modules and the containers themselves are very lightweight, so can be made available as soon as they’re required.
What does all of this mean for the business? In short, more easily customized and updated applications, served up more quickly and easily, with greater flexibility and freedom of choice. Using containers as a deployment model allows IT to leverage the cloud of their choice, make changes when necessary, and never lose the power and personalization of their applications. In fact, a Forrester study revealed that 66% of organizations that adopted containers experienced accelerated developer efficiency, and 75% of companies saw a moderate to significant increase in application deployment speed.
In a different study, Why the CIO Must Care About Containers, Forrester uncovered even more benefits. By using containers, organizations were able to:
- Save 70%+ on dev/test costs
- Reduce production costs by 40%
- Operate on 80% fewer servers
It’s no surprise, then, that the adoption of containers has accelerated dramatically in recent years. By last October, Docker announced that 24 billion containers had been downloaded.
Which brings us back to BMC Helix. Containers are the means by which BMC Helix delivers everything as a service. BMC Helix takes the latest and greatest innovations of our best products, like ITSM, Discovery and Digital Workplace, and packages them in a container that can be deployed in your cloud of choice. It eliminates deployment issues while adding critical multi-cloud management, so you gain agility and speed as well as efficiency and cost-savings. End users benefit as well, with automatic updates (just like consumer apps) that keep applications running at their peak.
These capabilities enable the most powerful outcome of BMC Helix: choice. With BMC Helix, you gain the ability to choose the cloud that you want, to dial up a service at a moment’s notice, to customize your services, to deliver and scale them as required at any given time – and to change any or all of those things whenever cost, compliance, or other factors demand it.
Technology is only as good as the outcomes that it enables. By using containers as the deployment mechanism, BMC Helix helps IT deliver the speed and scale of services that business today demands.
Vidhya Srinivasan is the Head of Marketing for the Service Management Business Unit.
For more information on BMC Helix, visit https://www.bmc.com/it-solutions/helix.html.