DockerCon 18: Why developers are more critical than ever before

...and how to empower them for success

As the fog clears over San Francisco Bay so concludes DockerCon 18, perhaps the most highly anticipated container conference on the IT event calendar. The show brought together the full range of open-source community members from inquiring students, to Docker novices, to full-fledged captains. And while DockerCon has served as the epicenter for container hype for the past few years, this crowd seemed cautiously aware of the work ahead before their organization realized its container ambitions.

The Container Journey

The benefits of containers are very real. The promise of predictable, consistent environments that can run virtually anywhere is certainly enough to support mainstream container adoption. Most modern IT companies are either fully committed to microservices or are at least experimenting with hybrid strategies. Yet, in talking to customers, it was obvious that many are at very different stages of their container journey.

According to CA Technologies’ survey of 97 DockerCon 18 attendees…

  • 43% are still in the Researching or Dev/Test phase
  • Meanwhile 40% are using containers in production
  • And just 12% report deploying containers at scale

 

Clearly many are not as far along as they would like to be. Why might this be the case?

DockerCon 18 – Container Challenges

Dialogue with attendees unveiled a range of container-related challenges.

Some are struggling to migrate existing legacy applications. Others are unsure about how to properly test, secure and observe their microservices. As you might expect, enterprise players were concerned about scaling, questioning if their containers are indeed ready for prime-time.

The distribution of challenges was fairly even. Roughly 12% of attendees identified development, testing, deploying or scaling container apps as their primary concern, respectively.

Security however, led the way at 28%. As expected, this is a critical need for many companies. Yet, a surprising number of respondents admitted to not even having a comprehensive security plan in place. Some were even conducting manual tests.

The Kingmakers: Your Developers

One common theme around these challenges is that they fall on the shoulders of developers. With shift-left practices, developers have become increasingly responsible for ensuring application success by taking proactive measures earlier in the DevOps lifecycle. App testing, securing and observing are no longer acceptable after the fact. These processes must be baked into the CI/CD pipeline.

So how are devs handling these added pressures? Many we talked to are struggling to find solutions that enable them to conduct these quality checks, while still focusing on their day job. After all, coding is what developers do best. Unfortunately, many testing, security and monitoring tools are built for IT Ops or Security teams. Developers need more lightweight options that won’t slow them down, or require a culture change.

Conclusions

The success of companies’ container initiatives will likely hinge on the ability of developers to execute shift-left quality checks easily and efficiently. This means organizations need to prioritize dev-first solutions that make app testing, security and observation easy, rather than a major hurdle on the road to deployment. With shift-left development key to success, perhaps it’s time to ask the dev team for their tooling wish list…

In the words of CA Technologies’ CTO, Otto Berkes, “The future of companies lays in the hands of their developers.”

 

If you’d like to view CA Technologies’ portfolio of developer products, visit developer.ca.com.


Kyle Curry is a product marketing manager at CA Technologies, supporting the project teams in…

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