7 Ways to Get More from Your Containers

7 Ways to Get More from Your Containers

You’ve implemented container technology; that’s great!

Yet, nothing much seems to be happening. You aren’t seeing a more efficient IT organization. None of your key performance indicators (KPIs) are moving. How’s that possible? There are several possible explanations, both technical and non-technical.

First, realize something. Failing to get immediate benefits from container technology doesn’t make you a bad IT manager. It’s quite common, actually. Implementing new technology requires courage and a desire to persevere through implementation problems.

Ways to Get More from Your Containers

Use the following as a resource as you work through to success with containers. Do these 7 things and you’ll be well on your way to container success.

1. Expand from your pilot department

Some organizations like to launch new technology with a small group of adventurous users. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s a good way to mitigate risk. However, a small group is limited in terms of the results you can expect. For instance, if you have 100 developers in your organization and only 10 have access to containers, the next step to success is clear. You need to equip more users to use containers in their daily work.

Resource: If you’re still planning your implementation, check out our implementation tips first: “Before You Implement Containers, Read These 5 Questions.”

2. Using an unknown container technology

In 2019, Docker container is the most popular option on the market. That market leadership role means access to training, resources, and consultants. What if you choose one of the lesser-known container options such as BSD Jails or Solaris Zones? You can make those platforms work, but it’s going to be more difficult.

If you want to accelerate your container results, we recommend switching to the most popular container technology. This tip will be easiest to implement if you’re in the planning or pilot stage of your container implementation.

3. Evaluate your persistent data storage situation

Containers are powerful, but they do have limitations. For example, provisioning persistent storage in containers is difficult. That’s not an issue if you’re running simple front-end web interfaces in a container. However, what if you want to run data-intensive services such as databases and Big Data analytics in the cloud? Well, it’s going to be challenging to make that happen.

The solution to this barrier is to stop trying to beat container technology into submission. Instead, you have two options to consider. You can focus your container technology on other use cases. Alternatively, you can look into storage vendors to handle your data challenges.

4. Review your change management plan

Aside from early adopters, few people get excited about new technology just because it’s new. This reality has implications for your container technology initiative. If you expect your staff to use containers, they need support. If you see low adoption, it’s time to reevaluate your change management. We recommend looking at the following issues:

  • Leadership support: Did you as the IT leader provide clear support? If not, your staff may perceive container technology to be relatively unimportant.
  • Training support: Did you offer “just in time” container tech training? That’s a critical way to increase adoption.
  • Quick wins: Simply knowing that container technology is available isn’t enough. You need to provide a tangible quick win. Ask staff to provide suggestions on where and how to use containers to improve productivity.

5. Increase Adoption with Improved Security

If container technology is viewed as less secure, your technical professionals are less likely to use it, because they already have enough headaches with weak cybersecurity. Just think of all the audits, vendor reviews, and mandatory training that IT staff members have to work through annually.

There’s a path to increased adoption: use Identity Anywhere as a way to systematize identity management. Built with container technology in mind, Identity Anywhere has native login built in. That means you don’t have to waste time setting up and administering new user accounts.

6. Dive deeper to revitalize IT operations

One driver for container success has nothing to do with the technology itself; it comes down to the engagement and morale of your IT operations team. If the department has been starved of resources or suffered through major turnover, that has an impact. There’s going to be stress and minimal appetite to support new technologies such as containers.

Turning around a demoralized department is a major difficulty. One way to address that problem is to offer container technology as a new challenge to tackle. This approach works best when the staff morale issues are caused by boredom and lack of attention. Asking your IT operations team to support a new container implementation may be just the kick they need.

7. Get more from containers with third-party providers

Sending your staff away to earn certifications in container technology from Docker or other organizations is a good long-term strategy to build expertise. However, what if you need to deliver more results this quarter? In that case, you’ll need to look at alternative strategies, such as leveraging third-party experts. There are at least three kinds of third parties to leverage:

  • Software/Platforms: Get in touch with your account managers or customer success contacts and tell them about your desire to get more from containers. New plugins, add-ons, and integrations are launched every month, after all.
  • Training support: Bringing an expert trainer to your company for a few days is one way to obtain expertise faster. Taking this approach makes sense if you have a larger training budget that you haven’t used yet.
  • Staff augmentation: Leverage traditional contractors to come in and help you through an implementation. This is a good method to use if you’re working on tight timelines and don’t have time for training.

What If You Don’t Have Container Technology Implemented?

Some of you may be excited by the possibilities of container technology, only to find out there’s no executive support to implement it. In that case, you need to work on developing a business case. To get the process started, read our article: “7 Productivity Benefits of Using Containers.”

Written by Nelson Cicchitto