The pace of customers switching to containerized applications is accelerating. Containerization is becoming more widespread as it offers a significant speed gain, especially for development. However, the team on the operations side is experiencing problems because instead of one large application, they suddenly have to manage a hundred small ones. Moreover, instead of one cluster for development, several clusters (or container platforms) must be managed at once… such as environments for production, testing, acceptance, both on-premise and in the public and private cloud.
“With that growth, organizations and their leaders suddenly face a major 'day two' challenge,” says IBM Cloud Advocate Marc Loos . “That is to say: The correct governance and policies for all applications and clusters. IBM Cloud Pak for Multi-cloud Management provides much-needed standardization.”
Journey to the cloud
First of all, it is important to distinguish three technology layers. To begin with, the containerized applications themselves. These in turn run within a container platform such as OpenShift for the direction and decoupling of the infrastructure, so that you are no longer tied to clouds of certain providers. OpenShift is part of the IBM Cloud Paks, which comprise IBM's complete software portfolio in container form: applications, data management, security, analytics, artificial intelligence, process automation and so on.
To make the journey to cloud as simple as possible, all options are offered in bundles. IBM Cloud Paks is thus a complete collection of integrated solutions for building, renewing, containerizing, migrating, managing and enriching a microservices architecture in the cloud.
“Within the various Paks, customers can select exactly the application that is most suitable for the specific environment,” continues Marc Loos. “Application A can therefore be exchanged for application B without additional costs, if that is more appropriate. This 'swapping' of licenses makes it very accessible to try out various applications within the Cloud Pak - even with broadly comparable functionality. It makes everything eminently consumable.”
As mentioned, a hybrid multi-cloud is often complex to manage. “With containerization and microservices, you can manage distributed elements across many different environments,” says Kees Pompe, IBM Lead Software Specialist at SoftwareONE. “Cloud Paks for Multicloud Management takes three steps at once: Insight into the infrastructure and automation of operations and governance. This makes the journey to the public cloud a lot easier. ”
By standardizing, the user experiences all container platforms and / or virtual machines as a whole. Developers no longer deploy to specific clusters or cloud platforms, but centrally via the multi-cloud management environment. Based on the policies and rules laid down therein, the application lands exactly where this operation fits best. For example in a public or private cloud, and on-premise if desired.
With IBM Cloud Paks for Multicloud Management you can develop, test and run workloads where it suits best in terms of costs and performance. “Including the governance of all roles and users within the organization; developers, people from operations and the people who ensure that everything is properly linked and continues to run,” says Marc Loos.
When one of the external cloud clusters has a security problem, all affected applications can be automatically moved to alternative locations. Setting up, managing and, if desired, breaking down new clusters across multiple clouds can be done with the Cloud Automation Manager included in the bundle. “You can use it to set up the infrastructure according to the correct standards. You can offer development a bit of self-service while you remain in control as an operations. "
IBM Cloud Paks are easy to deploy on the IBM Cloud. This usually means that experiments and proof of concepts can be started within 24 hours. “We have significantly lowered the threshold”, Marc Loos continues. “The level at which customers enter depends on their own cloud maturity. 'We measure you where you are', regardless of where you are in your journey.”
That can be at the very beginning, before running VMs in the cloud, in the middle with a limited containerized infrastructure, or with a fully cloud-native landscape. “IBM has also taken this route itself. So we literally know from our own experience which steps need to be taken. It also illustrates an enormous commitment to this technology.”
IBM is also fully transparent about the openness or the closed nature of the bundled elements. In terms of tooling, the customer almost always has the choice of an open source alternative.
To give customers greater help, there is also the Garage formula: A concept in which they are supported in a workshop-like way to work differently. Kees Pompe: “With the support of a broad team - from developers and operations to management - in a pressure cooker from ideation to a minimum viable product (MVP). Everyone tries to learn from each other, to help each other and to work together as well as possible towards a common goal. ”
Because all stakeholders are at the table, adoption is going very fast. Kees continues: “It is a constant search for balance. To be able to realize change, developers need the stability of the compliance officers. "
Insight into the considerations and behavior of other teams will help you achieve results faster. “Developers are involved at an early stage in the wishes and requirements of those responsible for operations and security,” says Marc Loos. “Initially, that is a huge eye-opener for the developers. Suddenly they understand why certain things cannot or should not be done. On the other hand, the wishes and requirements from security and compliance are becoming more in line with the actual necessity. Bringing these three groups together as a team speeds up the process enormously. The traditional silos thus become a unit that can grow.”