It’s incredible that we can order just about anything online, from anywhere in the world, and it gets delivered to our door in a matter of hours/days. There are two important aspects to the postal/courier industry that make this work: packaging (where does the item need to go) and logistics (how does the item get to where it needs to go).
Thankfully we have a global standard for packaging, namely a format to articulate building, number, street, city, state, postcode and country. Having this global standard creates an open and competitive logistics industry for the delivery of packages to anywhere in the world, adding differentiation through automation, governance and economics applied to the logistics process itself.
Bringing this example to cloud computing then, it was great to see the announcement of the Open Container Project (OCP) at DockerCon last week. The ambition of OCP is to produce a container standard for a common runtime and image format across the various container specifications, including Docker and CoreOS. Using the postal/courier example, this is the global standard for packaging, applied to application containers.
- “The goal [of OCP] is really to get agreement on some low-level things that we all want to standardize so we can innovate on the more exciting things above it. We’re agreeing on width of the rails so that we can focus on building a faster engine. … We’re finalizing the dimensions of the box where the hooks and holes go, so we can build better ships and trucks and cranes” said Docker chief executive Ben Golub in a recent Venturebeat interview.
Why is this important? Portability & Interoperability.
The adoption of containers in production is accelerating, bringing greater levels of portability, consistency and modularity to the application development and delivery process. But what is missing is a common container standard (the packaging) to allow interoperability and openness for applications once deployed in containers.
Today when an enterprise adopts containers, it has to choose between different container vendor standards (e.g. Docker or CoreOS). Likewise, cloud computing platform providers today also need to build their automation and governance capabilities to support multiple container vendor standards, or make a choice of preferred defacto standard. VHS, Betamax anyone?
An open container standard is required and will take agility, portability and consistency of applications to the next level.
What does this mean? More Governance Needed.
Increased application portability will place greater emphasis on the need for automation and governance of containers across multiple cloud infrastructures. Think security, data management and networking.
Ericsson is a big supporter of open standards, and is excited to be part of the Open Container Project (OCP) through our partnership and investment in Apcera. Apcera are fast becoming a force behind container standardization (check out Kurma), helping to solve the end-to-end problem of orchestration and governance for diverse workloads (including containers) across multiple distributed cloud infrastructures.
For as containers become more portable, so do enterprise workloads and data assets.
To learn more, check out the following screencast: A Modern Cloud Platform.