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Cloud Computing: Article

How HPE and Docker together accelerate and automate hybrid cloud adoption

Containers move beyond legacy virtualization and to provide both developers and IT operators more choice

The next BriefingsDirect hybrid cloud strategies discussion examines how the use of containers has moved from developer infatuation to mainstream enterprise adoption.

As part of the wave of interest in containerization technology, Docker, Inc. has emerged as a leader in the field and has greased the skids for management and ease of use.

Meanwhile, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has embraced containers as a way to move beyond legacy virtualization and to provide both developers and IT operators more choice and efficiency as they seek new hybrid cloud deployment scenarios.

Like the proverbial chocolate and peanut butter coming together -- or as I like to say, with Docker and HPE, fish and chips -- the two make a highly productive alliance and cloud ecosystem tag team.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy.

Here to describe exactly how the Docker and HPE alliance accelerates modern and agile hybrid architectures, we are joined by two executives, Betty Junod, Senior Director of Product and Partner Marketing at Docker, and Jeff Carlat, Senior Director of Global Alliances at HPE. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Jeff, how do containers -- and how does Docker specifically -- help data center architects achieve their goals?

Carlat: When you look at the advent of where technology has gone, through virtualization of applications, we are moving into a whole new era where we need much more agility in in applications -- and IT operations.

We believe that our modern infrastructure and our partnership with Docker -- specifically around containers and container orchestration -- provides businesses of all sizes much lower acquisition cost of deploying infrastructure, and ongoing operation costs. And, of course, the game from a business standpoint is all about driving profitability and shareholder stock value.

Second, there is huge value when it comes to Docker and containers around extending the life of legacy applications. Modernizing traditional apps and being able to extend their life and bring them forward to a new modern architecture -- that drives greater efficiencies and lower risk.

Gardner: Betty, how do you see the alignment between what HPE’s long-term vision for hybrid computing and edge-to-core computing and what Docker and containerization can do? How do these align?

Align your apps

Junod: It’s actually a wonderful alignment because what we look at from a Docker perspective is specifically at the application layer and bringing choice, agility, and security at the application layer in a way that can be married with what HPE is doing on the infrastructure layer across the hybrid cloud.

Our customers are saying, “We want to go to cloud, but we know the world is hybrid. We are going to be hybrid. So how do we do that in a way that doesn’t blow up all of our compliance if we make a change? Is this all for new apps? Or what do I do with all the stuff that I have accrued over the decades that’s eating into all of my budget?”

When it comes to transformation, it is not just an infrastructure story. It's not just an applications story. It's how do I use those two together in a way that's highly efficient and also very agile for managing the stuff I already have today. Can I make that cheaper, better, stronger -- and how do I enable the developers to build all the new services for the future that are going to provide more services, or better engage with my customers?

Gardner: How does DevOps, in particular, align? There is a lot of the developer allegiance to a Docker value proposition. But IT operators are also very much interested in what HPE is bringing to market, such as better management, better efficiency, and automation.

How are your two companies an accelerant to DevOps?

The future is Agile

Junod: DevOps is interesting in that it's a word that's been used a lot, along with Agile development. It all stems from the desire for companies to be faster, right? They want to be faster in everything -- faster in delivering new services, faster in time-to-market, as well as faster in responses so they can deliver the best service-level agreements (SLAs) to the customer. It’s very much about how application teams and infrastructure teams work together.

What's great is that Docker brings the ability for developers andoperations teams to have a common language, to be able to do their own thing on their timelines without messing up the other side of the house. No more of that Waterfall. Developers can keep developing, shipping, and not break something that the infrastructure teams have set up, and vice versa.

No more of that Waterfall. Developers can keep developing and shipping, and not break something that the infrastructure teams have set up.

Carlat: Let’s be clear, the world is moving to Agile. I mean, companies are delivering continuous releases and ongoing builds. Those companies that can adopt and embrace that are going to get a leg up on their competition and provide better service levels. So the DevOps community and what we are doing is a perfect match. What Docker and HPE are delivering is ideal for that Devorthe Ops environments.

Gardner: When you have the fungibility of moving workloads around the operators benefit, because they get to finally gain more choice about what keeps the trains running on time regardless of who is inside those trains, so to speak.

Let's look at some of the hurdles. What prevents organizations from adopting these hybrid cloud and containerization benefits? What else needs to happen?

Make hybrid happen

Junod: One of the biggest things we hear from our customers is, “Where should I go when it comes to cloud, and how?” They want to make sure that what they do is future-proof. The want to spend their time being beholden to what their application and customer needs are -- and not specifically a cloud A or cloud B.

Learn more about the Docker

Enterprise Container Platform

Because with the new regulations regarding data privacy and data sovereignty, if you are a multinational company, your data sets are going to have to live in a bunch of different places. People want the ability to have things hybrid. But that presents an application and an infrastructure operational challenge.

What's great in our partnership is that we are saying we are going to provide you the safest way to do hybrid; the fastest way to get there. With the Docker layer on top of that, no matter what cloud you pick to marry with your HPE on-premises infrastructure, it’s seamless portability -- and you can have the same operational governance.

Carlat: We also see enterprises, as they move to gain efficiencies, are on a journey. And the journey around containerization and containers in our modern infrastructure can be daunting at times.

One of the barriers, or prohibitions, to active adoption movement is complexity, of not knowing where to start. This is where we are partnering deeply; essentially around the services capabilities, to be able to bring in our consultative capabilities with Pointnext and do assessments and help customers establish that journey and get them through the maturity of testing and development, and progressing into full production-level environments.

Gardner: Is Cloud Technology Partners, a recent HPE acquisition, also a big plus given that they have been of, by, and for cloud -- and very heavily into containers?

Carlat: Yes. That snaps in naturally with the choice in our hybrid strategy. It's a great bridge, if you will, between what applications you may want on-premises and also using Cloud Technology Partners for leveraging an agnostic set of public cloud providers.

Gardner: Betty, when we think about adoption, sometimes too much of a good thing too soon can provide challenges. Is there anything about people adopting containers too rapidly without doing the groundwork -- the blocking and tackling, around management and orchestration, and even automation -- that becomes a negative? And how does HPE factor into that?

Too much transformation, too soon

Junod: We have learned over these last few years, across 500 different customers, what does and doesn't work. It has a consistent pattern. The companies that say they want to do DevOps, and cloud, and microservices -- and they put all the buzzwords in – and they want to do it all right now for transformation -- those organizations tend to fail. That’s because it's too much change at once, like you mentioned.

What we have worked out by collaborating tightly with our partners as well as our customers is that we say, “Pick one, and maybe not the most complicated application you have. Because you might be deploying on a new infrastructure. You are using a new container model. You are going to need to evolve some of your processes internally.”

And if you are going to do hybrid, when is it hybrid? Is it during the development and test in the cloud, and then to on-premises for production? Or is it cloud bursting for scale up? Or is it for failover replication? If you don't have some of that sorted out before you go, well, then you are just stuck with too much stuff, too much of a good thing.

The companies that say they want to do DevOps, cloud, microservices, and do it all right now -- those organizations tend to fail.

What we have partnered with HPE on -- and especially HPE Pointnext from a services standpoint -- is very much an advisory role, to say let's look at your landscape of applications that you have today and let's assess them. Let’s put them in buckets for you and we can pick one or two to start with. Then, let’s outline what’s going to happen with those. How does this inform your new platform choices?

And then once we get some of those kinks worked out and try some of the operational processes that evolve, then after that it’s almost like a factory. They can just start funneling more in.

Gardner: Jeff, lot of what HPE has been doing is around management and monitoring, governance, being mindful of security and compliance issues. So things like HPE Synergy, things like HPE OneView that have been in the market for a long time, and newer products like HPE OneSphere, how are they factoring into allowing containers to be what they should be without getting out of control?

Hand in glove

Carlat: We have seen containerization evolve. And the modern architectures such as HPE Synergy and OneView are designed and built for bare metal deployment or containers or virtualization. It's all designed -- you say, it's like fish and chips, or it's like a hand in glove in my analogy – to allow customers choice, agility, and flexibility.

Our modern infrastructure is not purely designed for containers. We see a lot of virtualization, and Docker runs great in a virtualized environment as well. So it’s not one or the other. So again, it's like a hand in glove.

Gardner: By the way, I know that the Docker whale isn’t technically a fish, but I like to use it anyway.

Let's talk about the rapid adoption now around hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). How is HCI helping move forward hybrid cloud and particularly for you on the Docker side? Are you seeing it as an accelerant?

Learn how to extend Docker containers

Across your entire enterprise

Junod: What you are seeing with some of the hyperconverged -- and especially if you relate that over to what's going on with the adoption of containers -- it's all about agility. They want speed and they want to be able to spin things out fast, whether it's compute resources or whether it's application resources. I think it's a nice marriage of where the entire industry wants to go, and what companies are looking for to deliver services faster to our customers.

Carlat: Specifically, hyperconverged represents one of the fastest growing segments in the market for us. And the folks that are adopting hyperconverged clearly want the choice, agility, and rapid simplicity -- and rapid deployment -- of their applications.

Where we are partnering with Docker is taking HPE SimpliVity, our hyperconverged infrastructure, in building out solutions for either test or development and using scripting to be able to deploy this all in a complete environment in 30 minutes or less.

Yes, we are perfectly aligned, and we see hyperconverged as a great area for dropping in infrastructure and testing and development, as well as for midsize IT environments.

Gardner: Recently DockerCon wrapped up. Betty, what was some of the big news there, and how has that had an impact on going to market with a partner like HPE?

Choice, Agility, Security

Junod: At DockerCon we reemphasized our core pillars: choice, agility, and security, because it's choice in what you want to build. You should as an organization be able to build the best applications with the best components that you feel are right for your application -- and then be able to run that anywhere, in whatever scenario.

Agility is really around speed for delivering new applications, as well as speed for operations teams. Back to DevOps, those two sides have to exist together and in partnership. One can't be fast and the other slow. We want to enable both to be fast together.

And lastly, security. It's really about driving security throughout the lifecycle, from development to production. We want to make sure that we have security built into the entire stack that's supporting the application.

Organizations should be able to build the best applications with the best components and run them anywhere, in any scenario.

We just advanced the platform along those lines. Docker Enterprise Edition 2.0 really started a couple of months ago, so 2.0 is out. But we announced as part of that some technology preview capabilities. We introduced the integration of Kubernetes, which is a very popular container orchestration engine, to allow into our core Enterprise Edition platform and then we added being able to do that all with Windows as well.

So back to choice; it's a Linux and Windows world. You should be able to use any orchestration you like as part of that.

No more kicking the tires

Carlat: One thing I really noticed at DockerCon was not necessarily just about what Docker did, but the significance of major enterprises -- Fortune 500, Fortune 100 enterprises – that are truly pivoting to the use of containers and Docker specifically on HPE.

No longer are they kicking the tires and evaluating. We are seeing full-scale production roll outs in major, major, major enterprises. The time is right for customers to modernize, embrace, and adopt containers and container orchestration and drop that onto a modern infrastructure or architecture. They can then gain the benefits of the efficiencies, agility, and the security that we have talked about. That is paramount.

Learn more about the Docker

Enterprise Container Platform

Gardner: Along those lines, do you have examples that show how the combination of what HPE brings to the table and what Docker brings to the table combine in a way that satisfies significant requirements and needs in the market?

Junod: I can highlight two customers. One is Bosch, a major manufacturer in Europe, as well as DaVita healthcare.

What’s interesting is that Bosch began with a lot of organic use of Docker by their developers, spread all over the place. But they said, “Hang on a second, because developers are working with corporate intellectual property (IP), we need to find a way to centralize that, so it better scales for them -- and it’s also secure for us.”

This is one of the first accounts that Docker and HPE worked on together to bring them an integrated solution. They implemented a new development pipeline. Central IT at Bosch is doing the governance, management, and the security around the images and content. But each application development team, no matter where they are around the world, is able to spin up their own separate clusters and then be able to do the development and continuous integration on their own, and then publish the software to a centralized pipeline.

Containers at the intelligent edge

Carlat: There are use cases across the board and in all industry verticals; healthcare, manufacturing. We are seeing strong interest in adoption outside of the data center and we call that the intelligent edge.

We see that containers, and containers-as-a-service, are joining more compute, data, and analytics at the edge. As we move forward, the same level of choice, agility, and security there is paramount. We see containers as a perfect complement, if you will, at the edge.

Gardner: Right; bringing down the necessary runtime for those edge apps -- but not any more than the necessary runtime. Let’s unpack that a little bit. What is it about container and edge devices, like an HPE Edgeline server, for example, that makes so much sense?

Junod: There is a broad spectrum on the edge. You will have like things like remote offices and retail locations. You will also see things like Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). There you have very small devices for data ingest that feed into a distributed server that then ultimately feeds into the core, or the cloud, to do large-scale data analytics. Together this provides real-time insights, and this is an area we have been partnering and working with some of our customers on right now.

Security is actually paramount because -- if you start thinking about the data ingest devices -- we are not talking about, “Oh, hey, I have 100 small offices.” We are talking about millions and millions of very small devices out there that need to run a workload. They have minimal compute resources and they are going to run one or two workloads to collect data. If not sufficiently secured, they can be risk areas for attack.

So, what's really important from a Docker perspective is the security; integrated security that goes from the core -- all the way to the edge. Our ability, from a software layer, to provide trusted transport and digital signatures and the locking down of the runtime along the way means that these tiny sensor devices have one container on them. And it's been encrypted and locked with keys that can’t be attacked.

Learn how to extend Docker containers

Across your entire enterprise

That’s very important, because now if someone did attack, they could also start getting access into the network. So security is even more paramount as you get closer to the edge.

Gardner: Any other forward-looking implications for your alliance? What should we be thinking about in terms of analyzing that data and bringing machine learning (ML) to the edge? Is there something that between your two companies will help facilitate that?

Carlat: The world of containers and agile cloud-native applications is not going away. When I think about the future, enterprises need to pivot. Yet change is hard for all enterprises, and they need help.

They are likely going to turn to trusted partners. HPE and Docker are perfectly aligned, we have been bellwethers in the industry, and we will be there to help on that journey.

Gardner: Yes, this seems like a long-term relationship.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

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