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@DevOpsSummit: Interview

ClusterHQ CEO: All Enterprises Will Use Containers

Luke Marsden Provides an Overview of Flocker Data Migration

I saw a projection the other day of continued 30% annual market growth for Linux containers, as a function of ever-growing cloud computing installations and use of PaaS in particular. ClusterHQ is one company that is working to seize this opportunity, with the announcement of its open-source Flocker container management program.

The company aims to support database deployment and migration, cloning, and failover through a customer's hybrid cloud (including bare metal) with persistence. ClusterHQ CEO Luke Marsden (pictured below) gave us a general overview:

Cloud Computing Journal: What sorts of enterprises will be using Linux containers and Docker, and is Flocker designed to reach all of them?

Luke Marsden: We believe that containers will become as ubiquitous in the enterprise as virtual machines. This won't happen overnight, and I don't believe that VMs will ever go away completely, but since containers are lighter in weight than VMs, they lend themselves to workloads where speed and agility are paramount.

All enterprises will find a use for containers over the next five years, and they'll be used even in mission-critical applications. Because data is at the heart of every application, we are building Flocker to support these mission-critical workloads. In fact, because lack of support for data-backed services is a major barrier to adoption of containers and PaaS more generally, we believe that Flocker will actually move us more quickly to a world in which containers are as central to enterprise IT as VMs.

CCJ: What sorts of skills does an enterprise IT department need to take advantage of your approach and product?

Luke: Flocker builds on the devops skills that enterprises have been developing over the last several years. Application configuration management tools like Chef and Puppet, and the ubiquity of cloud APIs have taught enterprises how to treat their infrastructure as code.

Flocker, with its easy-to-use application and deployment manifests that lets enterprises define their app and deploy it in and across different data centers, continues down that path. The devops journey for most enterprises in not yet complete, but we're excited to be helping continue that movement forward.

CCJ: You mention several public and private cloud platforms. Is this really designed to work in multi-cloud/hybrid environments in addition to single-cloud environments?

Luke: Yes, Flocker is made to work in and across all public and private cloud platforms. The promise of Docker is true application portability, freeing enterprises from being locked into a single-cloud vendor. However, due to the operational complexity of running databases and other data-backed services inside Docker containers, this application portability has only gone so far.

By opening up data services to run inside Docker containers, Flocker removes a major barrier to enterprise adoption of containers, and moves us all closer to a world in which our apps truly aren't tied to any particular infrastructure vendor or location.

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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