Want to be more agile? Get containers for your apps

Containers are about to revolutionize the way organizations deliver services to end users.

By using containers, companies can develop and run applications separately from their infrastructure. This allows them to deploy new software more quickly.

This platform is becoming a key tool for digital transformation. Gartner predicts that by 2022, more than 75 per cent of global organizations will run containerized applications, as compared to the 30 per cent that use them today.

“If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you have to embrace containers,” said Albert Kramer, Technical Director with Trend Micro, at a recent ITWC webinar. “To stay alive, you need to keep up with the pack or your competitors will be more agile.”

How containers improve agility

Containers have been created in the last few years as organizations look for ways to introduce applications in a faster and more flexible way, said Kramer. They’re looking to break down monolithic architectures which make it difficult to update applications. “We almost treated our old apps as pets, and had to take care of them for years,” said Kramer.

Container solutions for applications are like shipping containers, said Kramer. It’s easy to change out services without a big impact. This significantly reduces the delay between writing code and running it into production. “It’s great for delivering new services to users,” Kramer said. “It used to take months or more to introduce new apps into production. Now it can be done in minutes.” It makes a continuous development pipeline possible.

Most organizations use Docker files with containers and store Docker images in a central repository. To update an application, developers simply add a couple of lines of code in the Docker file, said Kramer. When organizations are developing new applications, they can look online for ready-made Docker images to use. “It’s fantastic because you can deploy so much faster,” he said.

Another advantage of containers is that they can run anywhere – in legacy, mixed or cloud environments.  As the number of containers increase, organizations may choose to use a management solution like Kubernetes or Jenkins.

Ensure container security with automation

Using containers can create security risks, said Kramer. In a Tripwire survey, 60 per cent of respondents reported container security incidents in the past year. Compliance checks are necessary because pre-made images in open repositories may be out-of-date or infected with malicious code.

The solution is to train and empower developers with automated tools, said Kramer.  Trend Micro Deep Security provides full stack protection for containers and operating systems. It automates compliance checks and scans at every step of the process from writing the code to ongoing operations.

“It is a constant process all done automatically as the developer pushes the container through. The earlier you can find issues, the cheaper it is to resolve,” said Kramer. The security solution uses the latest threat intelligence and, if it finds an issue, it will stop the process and provide a report back to the developer outlining the vulnerability and how to fix it.

The automated security solution can be easily deployed in a container as well, said Kramer. “It is a big benefit to help developers quickly deliver secure apps.”

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Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.

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