A few weeks ago, we hosted representatives from dozens of leading independent software vendors (ISVs) at the first Atomic Application Forum. For application containers to take off in the enterprise, a vibrant partner and technology ecosystem is essential. We hosted the Forum to pull this important group together to discuss many critical topics around containerizing applications, from certification to performance. During the Atomic Application Forum, several key ideas emerged that should resonate not only with our own ecosystem, but with the industry as a whole as interest in container technologies grows:
Helping partners to to deliver a secure container strategy is of the utmost importance. Containers alone don't contain – but the real question is: does anyone care? What it means for containers to be truly "secure" is still being hashed out, but Red Hat and its partners are in agreement that container architecture requires a secure foundation. Indeed, from our perspective, this is why the operating system matters (even more) in a containerized world.
Simply dropping an application into a container and launching it on a host is not an ideal containerized application deployment strategy. Alongside our partners, Red Hat is working to develop best practices for not only building application containers but also helping these applications run as intended in host environments. We’re committed to bringing the tuning and application performance know-how we’ve learned from Red Hat Enterprise Linux to help partners to deliver expected performance levels with the containerized applications of the future.
While container development is still a new process for many Red Hat customers and partners, we expect that it will soon be as simple as spinning up a new virtual machine. With this in mind, orchestration and management are rapidly becoming key issues, especially if container sprawl comes even close to (or surpasses) that of virtualization. Through the Kubernetes project, Red Hat is working to help create an effective, scalable management solution for containerized applications, helping to contain sprawl without sacrificing the flexibility and portability of containers.
Partners and customers agree that provenance, or origin, of containers matters - but it’s more than just knowing what’s "in the box." While it is important to have a clear packing list of a container’s contents, just as important is understanding the impact that a container will have on a given set of systems. An effective certification program helps address both of these concerns, giving customers a clear view into exactly what makes up a specific containerized application as well as whether or not an application is tested to work on their system. Red Hat has long engaged its partners in creating and maintaining incredibly robust certified application portfolios, and our work in the container world will be no different.
Ultimately, none of these topics should come as a surprise to IT industry veterans - these are the same concerns that have existed almost as long as enterprise IT itself. But just like Linux, virtualization and cloud computing, Red Hat intends to tackle the concerns surrounding the container world with the help of our vast network of experienced partners.