Channel firms benefit from Docker MTA strategy

The Modernize Traditional Applications program, unveiled at DockerCon 2017, is seeing traction among customers interested in adopting container technology, Docker partners said.

IT consultants are playing an important role in Docker's Modernize Traditional Applications program, citing its "land and expand" approach as particularly beneficial for customer engagements.

The software vendor debuted the MTA program, which bundles services and Docker Enterprise Edition with hybrid cloud infrastructure from technology partners, this past April at the DockerCon 2017 conference. The aim of the Docker MTA program, the vendor said, is to support enterprise customers in modernizing their legacy applications, letting organizations start by transitioning one or more apps to containers, so they can see the benefits of containerization firsthand.

The Docker MTA program developed after the company learned the clearest high-value use case is the "ability to very quickly Dockerize applications, including traditional ones," according to David Messina, senior vice president of marketing at Docker, based in San Francisco. Dockerized applications can result in "amazing operational efficiencies," he said, such as savings from maintenance dollars that customers can then use to fund new innovations.

Alan Geary, senior director of channel alliances and sales at Docker, noted that, besides operational efficiencies, Dockerizing applications can offer customers improved agility, security enhancements and portability -- all of which partners can demonstrate rapidly through the Docker MTA  program. "You get these terrific value propositions and statements proved to the customer in a quick 30-day engagement."

Docker technology components
Review the components of Docker technology.

Partners benefit from Docker MTA strategy

Glen Tindal, practice director at Capstone Consulting, a Premier Docker partner based in Omaha, Neb., said "the whole idea" of the MTA program is a "crawl, walk and run" approach for customers.

Docker's Brandon Royal discusses the
containerization of legacy applications
at DockerCon 2017.

A customer, for example, starts by porting one to three applications to a container, Tindal said. Through this narrow engagement, customers can evaluate the fiscal and technical benefits and then decide to do further containerization projects, tapping Capstone for its expertise.

The Docker MTA program resonates with enterprise customers, "without a doubt," Tindal said.

He noted that Capstone's partnership with Docker has been exceptionally positive and collaborative since Capstone became an active partner about a year ago. "They truly understand it is a 'better together' story," he said, adding that Docker has been open with sharing its roadmap and insight into the industry, as well as receptive to partner feedback.

Engaging partners remains key strategy

When Docker updated its partner program in September 2016, the company introduced a Professional and Premier two-tier structure to distinguish partners' Docker expertise and investments. Additionally, Docker added more enablement resources, such as training and certifications.

Since then, Docker said it has added staff throughout the U.S. to engage and enable partners. "The enablement is rolled out in each region," said Alan Geary, senior director of channel alliances and sales at Docker.

"Overall, I think they have done a great job," said Chris Ciborowski, CEO of Nebulaworks, a Docker partner. "They have kept their word to their partners, especially as they worked on the channel enablement model."

Showing enterprises the benefits of containers

Nebulaworks, a technology consulting and advisory firm located in Irvine, Calif., has partnered with Docker since 2014. At the time, Nebulaworks was "just a fledgling company," but developed a symbiotic relationship with the vendor over time, said Chris Ciborowksi, Nebulaworks' co-founder and CEO.

Ciborowski said Docker thinks of Nebulaworks as a group of technical experts that can solve "the edge cases for their customers" and support customer success. "We are a set of technical experts that understand the things that [Docker] customers and our customers are trying to do beyond the scope of what the Docker team can actually service," he said, adding, Docker isn't "in the business of professional services and consulting."

The Docker MTA program shows customers 'how, one, the platform works [and,] two, how you take [traditional] applications and quickly get them into containers and ... see the benefits from a cost or performance perspective.'
Chris CiborowskiCEO of Nebulaworks

The company has also become a go-to partner for providing customers with training on Docker technologies, he said. "One of the things that we focus on as part of our go-to-market strategy in helping customers transform is upskilling people." Ciborowski said Nebulaworks' training business "has skyrocketed" and "has been a huge win."

Nebulaworks has been actively involved in the Docker MTA initiative since the program's launch. Ciborowski said the program is valuable to partners and customers because it shows "how, one, the platform works [and,] two, how you take [traditional] applications and quickly get them into containers and ... see the benefits from a cost or performance perspective."

Looking ahead at Nebulaworks' partnership with Docker, Ciborowski expects the Docker sales team to mature, resulting in more consulting business for Nebulaworks. "The tool is actually a pretty easy thing to implement and get going.  But I think the more difficult thing is integrating the tool with the rest of the DevOps toolchain and putting optimized processes in place to actually drive value using the tool. ... That is where we sit, so I am only expecting things to ramp [up] from here," he said.

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