How containers transform the DevOps Journey
Serverless computing and Container driven development is becoming mainstream and the idea that operating systems can be virtualized to run individual pieces of applications is transforming how computing is evolving. It is important for any organization to understand the process of adopting containers in their firm and how it will affect the technological and cultural transformation.Containers can be imagined as a single unit of software which comprises many codes, algorithms, and dependencies. The applications on a shared operating system are segregated by containers. Each container can run one complete web application. This takes us to another positive of containers which is scalability and modular development. Creation of any container is identical to the creation of a service or a web app if this perspective is taken from an application point of view.
The segregation provided by containers between Dev and Ops is one of the most important bullet points to answer how they transform the DevOps journey. Containers are the foundation for DevOps collaboration.
It is the very nature of the containers, to bring developers and IT operations closer together by solving and eliminating various environment conflicts. Containers facilitate easier and effective collaboration, they simplify the tedious processes of the build/test/deploy pipelines in DevOps making the more complex configurations obsolete. Adopting the container workflow is the obvious answer and the next step in DevOps progression which many customers seek.
In equivalence to real-world shipping containers, the containers maintain the classified nature of its contents. Thus, the developers and architects need not concern themselves with logistics while still building and possessing ownership of the data. On the other hand, IT operations teams can solely focus on monitoring and manage the environment, infrastructure and scalability of the transport mechanisms without dealing with the actual constituents of the container. All this leads to seamless collaboration between developers and end users with IT operations acting as the catalyst.
A deployment manifest defines the correlation between the multiple containers. With containers, the developers and designers not only hold ownership to what is within the container but also decide the interaction of the containers and services as a program in its entirety.
Taking a more detailed look at the container workflow, the first step requires the developers/designers to use Docker for Windows or Mac to write and run code locally in containers. They use a file to create the functioning of the code which dictates the basic operating system as well as the steps for building their code into an image. Next comes laying out the specifications for the file which will control the interactions between the one or more images. Once the developers complete their designs locally, they push their application code including the Docker configuration to the code repository of their choice.
The DevOps then uses the file present in the code repository to build the Continuous Integration (CI) pipelines. It is the function of this CI system that pulls the required container images from the selected registry to create the application’s custom images. These images are then verified and pushed to the registry responsible for deployment to multiple domains.
It is then the work of IT operations teams to overview and manage these deployed container applications and their infrastructure in production using container orchestrators. The IT teams also monitor the app and its domain to provide valuable insights to improve and provide better services to the customer.
The developers own the container’s contents itself alongside its operating system and the container interdependencies, whereas the IT operations run and hold authority over the monitoring and management of the app itself and its various environments. The two teams are thereby focusing on their respective functions and collaborating effectively on a common platform to provide end users with the expected outcome. Containers provide a great foundation for developers and IT teams on which to build, run and manage an application together while greatly improving the application life cycle.
The DevOps workflow is not a mere technology but the next step to cultural and technological evolution. Practicing DevOps workflow enables teams to cope with competitive pressures by eliminating errors and responding faster and with compliant quality standards. It drives continuous improvement by increasing transparency as well as early defect detection resulting in controlled costs and minimum security risks. DevOps should be considered a foundation for firms which is implemented properly will lead to exponential growth, success, and evolution.
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Shyam Visamsetty is founder & director at Navtech, a technology consulting company with widespread experience in building platforms with high-velocity project teams. He is the technology & entrepreneurial enthusiast who likes to provide technology solutions for core problems. He pursued his masters at Virginia Tech specializing in Software Engineering process management & has tremendous experience in Project & Product Management.