IT shouldn’t be a cost-center with Docker

IT is critical for every big and small organization. It touches all the business processes and data in every company. Every year organization allocates budget to keep the “Lights On”. The #1 priority of IT is to make sure that the business is running as usual. That means that it reinforces the view of IT as a cost-center. Every aspect in the IT is focused on minimizing downtime rather than providing value to the organization. And that is the how things are and that is how every company is being run. All the “C-Suite” bosses are happy to cut the fat checks and are content with it. There is nothing wrong with that. Except that you can’t improvise on that and can’t convert that cost-center into a profit-center.

If you are running a data center of your own or outsourcing it to cloud services or running a hybrid cloud, then you need a whole ensemble of a team to manage your systems, networks, databases, infrastructures etc. They will babysit your infrastructure, perform changes and do maintenances. Any change to the state of production would require long maintenance window involving all the stakeholders, tons of overtime pay, increased frustration and no family life. It is not only the people and processes, but you will also accumulate computing power along the way and keep on piling your racks in the data centers. You will tons of wasted resources and would hardly be using even 20% of the computing power that you have available. Unfortunately, this is the sorry state of affair for most of IT departments in majority of the companies.

Alas! IT Gods have finally smiled upon us. Things doesn’t have to be same like before with the advent of technologies like docker. Docker and its ecosystem have unleashed myriad range of technologies that lets you put your systems and infrastructure on an auto-pilot. Docker ecosystem provides you with the tools and technologies that allows your IT to add value to your business. I am not claiming we will be able to solve all the issues with old-school IT but there are already tools at our disposal which when combine with docker can help us solve real complex IT solutions that we have been dreading all these years. Much has been talked about docker being a developer’s friend, but it can truly help alleviate IT Ops problem and can help us run a real lean DevOps IT organization.

Using docker successfully to manage and run part of our IT operations at YellowPages, we have leveraged its capabilities with technologies like push based metrics, service discovery in ephemeral environment, orchestration tools, build pipeline and message queues to solve real world IT problems. There were lots of new challenges that we overcame doing that. Also, there is a lot of work that needs to be done for docker to become a IT department’s best friend. In short, things are looking up and we can do quite a few things with docker which will help us evolve the eco-system to make IT a truly profit center.

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