Why mobile and containers are better together

Containers are the next stop on enterprise IT's mobile journey
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CIO Mobile

Mobile is no longer a new, shiny object for many enterprises as they evolve their digital business strategies. It is increasingly recognized as playing a critical role in enabling greater employee productivity, generating new revenue streams, and transforming business models. It is also a leading force shaping the future of enterprise IT and the modernization efforts behind digital transformation initiatives.

Industry analyst firm Gartner predicts that “by 2022, 70 percent of software interactions in enterprises will occur on mobile devices.” Even today, we see how many organizations have matured in their approach to mobile, from siloed one-off projects towards a more integrated and strategic approach that underpins all aspects of their digital journey – including culture, processes, technology, and business models. As mobile becomes table stakes, however, there are many considerations under the surface that need to be addressed by business and IT.

Mobile alone is not sufficient in driving today’s digital business. Rather, it is the interaction and synergy between new and existing technologies that help realize the promises of digital business success. For example, the intersection of cloud and mobile technologies has been a disruptive force, overturning traditional business models and putting users at the center of market demand. Additionally, consider the power of integrating mobile, intelligent devices, machine learning, and business process management: Together, they create unprecedented opportunities to create greater business value.

When containers meet mobile

The cloud emerged as a perfect pairing in the early stages of mobile adoption, supporting the agility, performance, and scalability required by enterprise-grade mobile apps. Now, container technologies take this a step further by supporting mobile workloads, which can run and be managed alongside other enterprise application workloads.

Rather than treating mobile as a separate or special project with a dedicated technology stack, containers enable mobile to become part of modern enterprise application development. This enables mobile to run in its own environment in a container alongside other containerized workloads, such as integration, Internet of Things, web, business automation, and other workloads.

This means the development, integration, delivery, and management of a complex ecosystem of applications that need to be created and adapted at the speed of digital business is simplified and unified. 

But why are containers so important? Containers are technologies that allow applications to be packaged and isolated with their entire runtime environment — all dependencies, libraries, and configuration files needed to run, bundled into one convenient package, providing abstraction from the underlying infrastructure. They provide a neat solution to the problem of how to get software to run reliably when moved from one computing environment to another, e.g. from a developer’s laptop to a test environment, from staging to production, or from a physical machine in a data center to a virtual machine in a public or private cloud. 

Transformation tools

Like mobile, containers alone are not sufficient to support true modern application development. Rather, it is the intersection of many game-changing technologies, processes, and platforms that offer long-term value in how applications are developed, deployed and managed throughout their lifecycles. Container-based platforms, such as Red Hat's OpenShift Container Platform, have emerged for exactly this reason. They support organizations in the mammoth task of digital transformation and modernization while enabling greater developer focus and efficiency, security, and more streamlined operational deployments – encompassing the game-changing practices of DevOps and the shift from monolithic architecture to microservices. 

Organizations will continue to invest more in mobile, IoT, AI and other emerging technologies as part of their larger digital transformation and in order to drive greater productivity, improved customer engagement and service, and market competitiveness. Developing, deploying and scaling such modern application solutions that integrate these technologies will increasingly rely on modern enterprise-grade platform technologies based on containers, cloud infrastructure, and modern application development approaches that position the organization for the future of digital business.

The organizations that outdo their competitors in the next year and beyond will be able to marry cloud, container technologies, and modern application practices, such as DevOps and microservices architecture, to fully realize the benefits of technology and succeed with digital transformation.

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Clare Grant has over 20 years of experience in mobile software, telecommunications and hi-tech electronics markets and is responsible for Red Hat’s global business strategy for its leading mobile application platform. Clare joined Red Hat as part of the acquisition of FeedHenry in October 2014 where she was VP of Marketing.