Chris Hines

5 Tales from the Docker Crypt

(Cue the Halloween music)

Welcome to my crypt. This is the Docker crypt keeper speaking and I’ll be your spirit guide on your journey through the dangerous and frightening world of IT applications. Today you will learn about 5 spooky application stories covering everything from cobweb covered legacy processes to shattered CI/CD pipelines. As these stories unfold, you will hear  how Docker helped banish cost, complexity and chaos.

Tale 1 – “Demo Demons”

Splunk was on a mission to enable their employees and partners across the globe to deliver demos of their software regardless of where they’re located in the world, and have each demo function consistently. These business critical demos include everything from Splunk security, to web analytics and IT service intelligence. This vision proved to be quite complex to execute. At times their SEs would be in customer meetings, but their demos would sometimes fail. They needed to ensure that each of their 30 production demos within their Splunk Oxygen demo platform could live forever in eternal greatness.

To ensure their demos were working smoothly with their customers, Splunk uses Docker Datacenter, our on-premises solution that brings container management and deployment services to the enterprise via an integrated platform. Images are stored within the on-premises Docker Trusted Registry and are connected  to their Active Directory server so that users have the correct role-based access to the images. These images are publicly accessible to people who are authenticated but are outside of the corporate firewall. Their sales engineers can now pull the images from DTR and give the demo offline ensuring that anyone who goes out and represents the Splunk brand, can demo without demise.

Tale 2 – “Monster Maintenance”

Cornell University’s IT team was spending too many resources taking care of their installation of Confluence. Their team spent 1,770 hours maintaining applications over a six month period and were in need of utilizing immutable infrastructure that could be easily torn down once processes were complete. Portability across their application lifecycle, which included everything from development, to production, was also a challenge.

With a Docker Datacenter (DDC) commercial subscription from Docker, they now host their Docker images in a central location, allowing multiple organizations to access them securely. Docker Trusted Registry provides high availability via DTR replicas, ensuring that their dockerized apps are continuously available, even if a node fails. With Docker, they experience a 10X reduction in maintenance time. Additionally, he portability of Docker containers helps their workloads move across multiple environments, streamlining their application development, and deployment processes. The team is now able to deploy applications 13X faster than in the past by leveraging reusable architecture patterns and simplified build and deployment processes.

Tale 3 – “Managing Menacing Monoliths and Microservices!”

SA Home Loans, a mortgage firm located in South Africa was experiencing slow application deployment speeds. It took them 2 weeks just to get their newly developed applications over to their testing environment, slowing innovation. These issues extended to production as well. Their main home loan servicing software, a mixture of monolithic Windows services and IIS applications, was complex and difficult to update,placing a strain on the business. Even scarier was that when they deployed new features or fixes, they didn’t have an easy or reliable roll back plan if something went wrong (no blue/green deployment). In addition, their company decided to adopt a microservices architecture. They soon realized that upon completion of this project they’d have over 50 separate services across their Dockerized nodes in production! Orchestration now presented itself as a new challenge.

To solve their issues, SA Home Loans trusts in Docker Datacenter. SA Home Loans can now deploy apps 30 times more often! The solution also provides the production-ready container orchestration solution that they were looking for. Since DDC has embedded swarm within it, it shares the Docker engine APIs, and is one less complex thing to learn. The Docker Datacenter solution provides ease of use and familiar frontend for the ops team.

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Tale 4 – “Unearthly Labor”

USDA’s legacy website platform consisted of seven manually managed monolithic application servers that implemented technologies using traditional labor-intensive techniques that required expensive resources. Their systems administrators had to SSH into individual systems deploying updates and configuration one-by-one. USDA discovered that this approach lacked the flexibility and scalability to provide the services necessary for supporting their large number of diverse apps built with PHP, Ruby, and Java – namely Drupal, Jekyll, and Jira. A different approach would be required to fulfill the shared platform goals of USDA.

USDA now uses Docker and has expedited their project and modernized their entire development process. In just 5 weeks. they launched four government websites on their new dockerized  platform to production. Later, an additional four websites were launched including one for the first Lady, Michelle Obama, without any  additional hardware costs. By using Docker, the USDA saved  upwards of $150,000 in technology infrastructure costs alone. Because they could leverage a shared infrastructure model, they were also able to reduce  labor costs as well. Using Docker provided the USDA with the  agility needed  to develop, test, secure, and even deploy modern software in a high-security federal government datacenter environment.

Tale 5 – “An Apparition of CI/CD”

Healthdirect dubbed their original applications development process “anti CI/CD” as it was broken, and difficult to create a secure end-to-end CI/CD pipeline. They had a CI/CD process for the infrastructure team, but were unable to repeat the process across multiple business units. The team wanted repeatability but lacked the ability to deploy their apps and provide 100% hands-off automation. .

Today Healthdirect is using Docker Datacenter. Now their developers are empowered in the release process and the code developed locally ships to production without changes. With Docker, Healthdirect was able to  innovate faster and deploy their applications to production, with ease.

So there they are. 5 spooky tales for you on this Halloween day.To learn more about Docker Datacenter check out this demo.

Now, be gone from my crypt. It’s time for me to retire back to my coffin.

Oh and one more thing….Happy Halloween!!

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Chris Hines

5 Tales from the Docker Crypt


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