We’ve talked a lot about how containers make developers’ lives easier, but let’s not ignore the fact that a developer is not always a container expert. Lack of experience certainly doesn’t mean that a team or an organization should shy away from containers. However, it’s important to evaluate your current environment, your team’s skill level, and tools to make this transition as seamless and productive as possible.
1. Leadership Team: Are we prepared culturally for a shift to containers?
Let’s first consider what a strong foundation for working with containers looks like. If your teams are already operating in a continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD) model, containers will assimilate far more easily into your environment. If you’re not familiar, CI/CD essentially means establishing a consistent and repeatable (read: automated) way to build, test, and deliver applications within the desired infrastructure environment.
Teams are more likely to collaborate in a CI/CD workflow since they’re committing code changes on a much more regular basis. Development and infrastructure operations teams will become familiar with each other’s practices and work together to ensure their code is tested and deployed efficiently. A lot has been said about the cultural shift to DevOps, but it requires a culture of trust and bottom-up empowerment--not to mention testing and continuous improvement.
2. DevOps Teams: Do we have container skills or can we train for them?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks on the path to effectively deploying containers is how new the technology is - not all teams or orgs have deep experience with containers yet. The majority of developers and infrastructure operations professionals are in the early stages of utilizing this technology and true container experts can be hard to come by.
However, it’s starting to become easier to get talent up to speed. Not only are there numerous resources for training your teams on everything from microservices architecture to the fundamentals of the cloud to the ins and out of Kubernetes, but the technology decisions you make can also impact how your teams ramp up on containers. For example, training your teams in an easy-to-use container platform allows them to more easily and effectively work with containers. A multi-cloud solution takes this even further, letting users leverage a single platform to get work done across multiple Cloud environments, even ones they aren’t a deep SME in.
3. Everyone: Can containers help retain talent?
Let’s put containers aside for a moment--it’s no secret that there is a broad technology talent shortage. According to Forbes, the tech sector has the highest turnover rate, 13.2%, out of every single business sector. This same article cites “lack of opportunities for advancement and professional development” as a top reasons that employees change companies.
So why not give your teams the opportunity to work with containers? Gaining experience with a cutting edge technology that helps make the tedious and manual parts of their work easier is both fulfilling and efficient. While it will take time and effort for people to get up to speed with something new, it should really pay off in the long run.
Ready to Transition to Containers?
Preparation is perhaps the most important part of ensuring a successful transition to containers. If your team has the culture, skills and willingness to learn, you may be ready to develop applications in a containerized infrastructure environment. As with many other DevOps initiatives, having the right tools and automation in place can provide an additional layer of assurance that containers are properly set up, configured, and deployed into production.