Extracting Maximum Value from Containers with Smart Availability Software

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Click to learn more about author Don Boxley.

Across vertical industries, containers are revered for their capacity to significantly impact the software and application development process. These portable execution environments enable a host of enterprise benefits readily codified into the following three areas:

  • Scale Out: Containers scale out quickly, allowing any number of users to access the same image from the same starting point without monopolizing a large amount of IT resources.
  • Read-Only: Although stateful storage can be added, containers are initially read-only—a value-additive attribute for their lightweight, flexible nature. Users can freely manipulate the software or applications they contain without worrying about saving changes, which fuels innovation and creativity.
  • DevOps: Containers are ideal tools for DevOps personnel because they effectively isolate applications and software in settings relying on a common operating system kernel. Thus, whether innovating new features or ensuring apps are functioning at optimal levels, containers provide a suitable environment in which DevOps teams can work.

What’s noteworthy about each of these boons is they’re substantially improved by pairing containers with Smart Availability software for recurring benefits throughout the enterprise. By enabling the dynamic transfer of network resources between nodes in the cloud, on-premises, in Windows, in Linux, and in Docker containers, this software considerably adds to the portability of containers’ and their scale out capability.

The Smart Availability approach also implements highly available, stateful storage of containers. When users need to save changes to system data in containers, Smart Availability software writes the data to disks that are transported and accessed wherever the container is opened.

When one considers the additional advantages of Smart Availability’s penchant for providing automatic failovers for business continuity, it’s apparent this software is a necessary element for maximizing containers’ ROI—and that of the numerous applications and software they support.

Container Portability

The capital value proposition of containers is their lightweight, flexible nature is designed to scale out across organizations. Smart Availability software drastically increases this benefit by adding real-time transferability of Docker containers across multiple environments. Business units aren’t always located in the same geographic location in today’s decentralized data landscape. It’s frequently necessary to access IT resources like containers in various settings spanning the cloud, on-premises environments, and respective operating systems. Smart Availability software makes containers truly mobile across these settings so they’re equally accessible to developers coding in Linux or IT teams tweaking performance in Windows. The real-time positioning of these application resources fosters the sort of collaboration on which DevOps teams are founded. With Smart Availability software, containers become a node much like any other that’s accessible virtually anywhere an organization’s IT resources extend. Thus, the natural portability of containers’ scale out capabilities is transformed into full-fledged mobility.

Read-Only and Stateful Storage

The other defining attribute of containers pertains to their read-only capabilities. By combining this trait with their propensity for scaling out, these execution environments are swiftly spun up, worked on, and closed without negatively impacting the current state of the software or applications. Everything within a container is intact when its various clones are shut down, which includes the same initial image of the components required for the software or application. However, the system data (which users could have altered) is not stored or written to disk, yet another attribute that encourages innovation and chance-taking.

However, with Smart Availability software users can endow containers with stateful storage so they preserve the system data. By tying system data to disks that are transported wherever containers are moved, Smart Availability software supports use cases in which application changes are worth saving. Therefore, DevOps teams can choose whether to cultivate free form innovation or to capture the results of that innovation by storing system changes on disk. For instance, stateful storage becomes an immediate asset when a developer is working on a container with a bank teller application and devises an innovation that affects the bank’s back office, end of day clearinghouse activity. With Smart Availability software, organizations can readily store the system data affected by the developer’s efforts to assist the back office processing. Without it, the developer’s changes to that data—and their end of day effects—would be lost. Smart Availability software gives organizations the choice between stateful storage and read-only capabilities.

Reduced Infrastructure Costs

Ultimately, improving containers with Smart Availability software also results in decreased costs for physical infrastructure. Organizations can readily democratize the DevOps process by involving as many developers and IT personnel as possible without having to worry about overhead for disks. The instances in which stateful storage is required won’t negate the financial advantages of having multiple team members in geographically distributed locations work on the same application at the same time. The cost benefits of using fewer disks are magnified by the reality that organizations will also need less machines with storage. This advantage is critical when working with data at scale. Thus, even small and midsize organizations can deploy containers on Big Data applications without significantly affecting their storage costs. The decreased costs and increased mobility (courtesy of Smart Availability) allow DevOps teams to involve as many team members as possible in the software and application development process for a focus on teamwork and collaboration. The result is a streamlining of DevOps resources that makes these teams more cost-effective while enhancing their productivity with the geographic portability of Smart Availability.

Increasing ROI

Smart Availability software exponentially expands the overall value containers provide the enterprise. It enhances their capacity to scale out with a dynamic, geographically distributed mobility across virtually any IT setting. It augments containers’ read-only capabilities with stateful storage to preserve valuable system data when needed. By reducing costs for disks and storage, containers maximize the involvement of DevOps team members—especially when Smart Availability’s dynamic mobility transports them across locations and environments. Above all, Smart Availability software ensures that containers automatically failover to alternative settings for disaster recovery and business continuity, making it an essential element of maximizing the yield of these vital tools.

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