When one thinks of containers, one thinks of the obvious – software applications: Kubernetes, Mesos, and of course – Docker.

Containers are here today and they are definitely the future: Containers are an extremely efficient, secure means of porting a “digital asset” – software from one person to another, and from one location to another. They are well used in software development operations “DevOps” and can even be used for applications in production that are not necessarily connected to software development.

Containers represent great change: typically a company can run 4X the number of containers vs. virtual machines for the same workload/capacity. Containers and VMs can also run together, depending on need.

They are a vital element of the future of software development operations and helping companies go digital better, faster, more cost-effectively. Where the container industry (software and tools) is rapidly maturing, adoption continues to follow and is picking up quickly.

And that’s something hardware manufacturers need to think about. While people typically talk about applications and function in DevOps, hardware is rarely considered. But hardware is critical because if you don’t watch out adding “bare metal” can add up to a FAT data center (with better tools) than we had in the 2000’s. Density and software tools that manage hardware is key.

The Lenovo Approach to Containers

Lenovo’s approach is largely centered on the hybrid-cloud -- and the enablement of elastic workloads enabling customers to obtain the workloads from the most cost-effective source when it’s needed and the source that can provide the required resources no matter where they physically reside. We work with container users to provide x86 server and storage solutions – to get them the hardware they need for a successful business outcome. If our clients need to run containers, we want them to run it on the hardware platform that best fits them to meet their goals.

Whether it’s bare metal, converged (CX series), hyperconverged (HX series) or hyperscale., with containers at play, we can bolt our solutions into a customer’s legacy and traditional 3-tier infrastructure to let them get the most out of those investments.

As older products age, we’re able to continue scaling-out our customers’ infrastructures powering with Intel (INTC) in a “pay-as-you-grow” model” – making sure we’re securing positive business outcomes for our partners and clients.

The DevOps View: With Steve Brown

For more insights, I reached out to Steve Brown, the Lenovo WW Director of DevOps Practice & Solutions. Hailing from San Francisco, he’s in the thick of the tech center of the world and responsible for the establishment and operation of Lenovo’s fast growing DevOps Practice, DevOps Solutions, and ecosystems - the establishment of a 3rd party software partner network (software for solutions), bringing in and fostering a new Lenovo DevOps Channel Partner network and ultimately success for Lenovo-partners-customers in the solutions we design their way.

I asked Steve which container platform was his favorite.

“I like so many of the tools and software products out there and I am really excited about some of the fabulous innovation quickly upon us. I like Docker for its reliable reputation and high adoption rate and the ecosystem that has formed; Mesosphere for its orchestration, workload management and runtime, especially at mass-scale; and Kubernetes for its uses with orchestration and workload creation across premise operations, hybrid cloud and public cloud . Ultimately, I like that there’s a selection of products: so you can pick one that’s right for each unique customer situation and allow for scale. And who knows what the future holds: I’m hearing big rumblings about new container engines, beyond Linux Kernel-based products – not going to let the cat out of the bag – yet.”

And where does Steve see containers changing the future of the data center?

“Containers are probably going to replace a significant portion of virtual machines operating for production applications in the next few years. There will also be a number of Linux kernel-based container engines and VM kernel-based engines and seeing that MSFT yesterday announced the purchase of their own engine and version of Kubernetes orchestration, there is surely going to be a fabulous Windows offering from them. While there are a lot of great tools for DevOps-management and automation – I expect we will see some innovations that will blow our minds. Lenovo is looking forward to it,” says Brown.

Catch Us at DockerCon

We’re  going to be at DockerCon 2017 and we hope to see you there.

We’ll chat a bit about what we did last year (pioneering Docker containers with Docker Swarm and Mesos DC/OS on our Web-scale platform “Lenovo HX”). We’re also going to share some customer stories – including the saga of customers that saved millions by operating containers in a hybrid cloud “Web-scale” solution (vs. doing it in AWS).