360 Guide: Make smart container hosting decisions for enterprise IT Article 1 of 4

Prepare container infrastructure that's dynamic and stable

IT innovations need a solid foundation, and containers are no exception. As a lightweight OS-level isolation technology that enables independently scaled, distributed app components, containers are only as good as the underlying stack.

Organizations must address container infrastructure, namely storage, security and networking, as pilot projects move to large-scale production. For many enterprises, 2018 is the year for this ramp up. Container management investments are in store for 31% of infrastructure-focused respondents to the TechTarget IT Priorities Survey, compared to 2017, when only 15% of survey takers expected to deploy containers. Check out more research in the infographic of "Container adoption stats reveal a ramp up in production."

What's in store

Containers, though inherently stateless, cannot escape the persistence in enterprise applications. Organizations must coordinate storage for container application data or they will lose scaling and portability. Of the IT Priorities Survey's storage-focused respondents, 11% cited containers as the specific reason for infrastructure investments. Storage modernization takes many forms, and organizations are delving into them all: Nearly 29% of all IT infrastructure-focused respondents plan to invest in software-defined storage in 2018, and a total of 41% of respondents are considering converged or hyper-converged infrastructure. Dig into the storage problem in analyst Mike Matchett's "Persistent data storage in containerized environments."

Net gains

Portable, scalable containers also put new demands on back-end networking. Software-defined networking (SDN) suits container hosting thanks to automatic resource provisioning and easy adaptation to changing traffic patterns. SDN and other virtualization capabilities are on the 2018 roadmaps of a total of 44% of IT Priorities infrastructure survey respondents. Learn more about the connection between network and containers from Doyle Research in "Benefits of containers seep into software-based networking."

Lock it down

Storage and networking are critical in successful container hosting, but there are other factors at play. Security and isolation work differently for containers, which share an OS, than they do with VMs, which each encapsulate a whole OS. Monitoring within and around the containers also requires fresh attention. And many organizations use containers in concert with public or hybrid cloud, necessitating conversations about hosting priorities and tradeoffs, and management tools. Read the rest of the articles in this guide to build a comprehensive plan for container infrastructure.

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