Containers Survival Guide for Infrastructure

Containers are coming! Get ready now (if you haven’t already).


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Your Challenge

  • The major impediments to containers in a production environment adoption are concerns over security and management at scale.
  • Organizations have already made significant investments in machine virtualization (virtual infrastructure) and are unlikely to abandon that investment.
  • Non-containerized applications and services will continue to need to be hosted and serviced into the future.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Containers don’t replace VMs, yet: It will be beneficial for all near term to adopt containers on virtualized infrastructure.
  • The future of software packaging: You will need to adopt containers in the near future. Software will soon begin to ship in containers, and you will be required to host them.
  • Not just a technology change: Containers require a change in people and process, with different/new development and operations roles and responsibilities in new agile processes.

Impact and Result

  • IT infrastructure groups should resolve to create container-ready infrastructure that will meet both the requirements of developers and apps managers and the availability, recoverability, and security requirements of the enterprise.
  • In the short term, the best solution is likely to be hosting containers on container-ready VMs running Linux and a container engine like Docker. This may not be optimal for performance but will be optimal for securing and assuring availability for the underlying infrastructure.
  • Longer term, enterprises should pilot running containers on bare metal to become familiar with the emerging tools for managing containers. The future is likely a hybrid of virtualized infrastructure and bare metal container infrastructure.


  • Brandon Philips, CTO, CoreOS
  • Daniel Walsh, Consulting Engineer – Containers/Docker Team Lead, Red Hat
  • David Aronchick, Product Manager, Google
  • David Messina, VP Marketing, Docker
  • Kim Weins, VP Marketing, RightScale
  • Mathew Lodge, COO, Weaveworks
  • Sean Chittenden, Engineering Manager, HashiCorp
  • Shannon Williams, VP Sales and Marketing, Rancher Labs
  • Sheng Liang, CEO, Rancher Labs
  • Tim Miller, VP Engineering, RightScale
  • 1 anonymous contributor

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Get to Action

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should adopt application containers, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

  1. Analyze the business case for containers

    Identify the enterprise benefits of containers, and evaluate the extent of the business and infrastructure container needs.

  2. Develop a container adoption strategy

    Develop a short-term and long-term container adoption strategy that aligns with enterprise and workload needs, and assemble a customized container software ecosystem.

  3. Develop and communicate the container infrastructure roadmap

    Roadmap and communicate the journey to adopting containers, and develop a collective agreements document to govern the development and deployment of containers.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is an eight call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Analyze the business case for containers

  • Call #1: Identify key stakeholders, and explore how containers can benefit your organization.

  • Call #2: Assess your need for containers by examining the deployment needs of your applications and workloads

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Develop a container adoption strategy

  • Call #1: Explore the differences between the various application and workload deployment models.

  • Call #2: Develop a plan for piloting containers on bare-metal infrastructure.

  • Call #3: Assemble the ideal container software ecosystem.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Develop and communicate the roadmap

  • Call #1: Establish best practices between development and operations; build a collective agreements document.

  • Call #2: Build roadmap and identify container adoption timeline for milestones.

  • Call #3: Assemble and executive communications report for stakeholder communication.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Identify the Need for Containers

The Purpose

  • Discuss the anticipated benefits/concerns with containers with stakeholders.
  • Assess enterprise workloads to identify deployment needs.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Establish a need for containers in the enterprise.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Explore business benefits of containers.
  • List of container adoption benefits
1.2 Discuss container pain points/concerns.
  • List of container adoption concerns
1.3 Assess container use in your organization.
  • Shortlist of systems that might want containerization
1.4 Complete Containers Assessment Workbook.
  • Data that will be used to decide on container deployment needs

Module 2: Develop a Container Adoption Strategy

The Purpose

  • Develop a short-term and long-term container adoption strategy.
  • Assemble the ideal container software ecosystem.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Utilize current infrastructure for containers.
  • Test container native infrastructure.
  • Adopt a container software ecosystem that fits your organizational needs.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Compare containers and VMs
  • A list of pros and cons associated with containers and VMs
2.2 Explore workload deployment needs.
  • An understanding of your deployment needs
2.3 List initiatives to adopt containers on VM.
  • List of initiatives for adopting a containers on VMs model
2.4 Develop a bare-metal container pilot.
  • List of requirements and initiatives for piloting container-native infrastructure

Module 3: Roadmap Your Container Adoption Plans

The Purpose

  • Identify the tools needed to adopt containers.
  • Prioritize initiatives for adopting containers.
  • Build the Container Adoption Roadmap.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Select the tools that best fit your organization.
  • Manage timelines for completing container adoption initiatives.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Assemble ideal container ecosystem.
  • Container ecosystem custom fit to your needs
3.2 Build collective agreements document.
  • Document to govern container development and deployment
3.3 Build container adoption roadmap.
  • Roadmap to communicate journey
3.4 Prioritize roadmap initiatives.
  • Initiatives and target dates to include in roadmap

Module 4: Assemble the Containers Executive Communications Report

The Purpose

  • Assemble a Containers Executive Communications Report for stakeholders.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Effectively communicate your journey to adopting containers.

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Identify and assemble the components of the Containers Executive Communications Report.
  • Containers Executive Communications Report

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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