Plotting a Container-Centric Future. Part Two

What to look for in a partner

Containers offer huge advantages over traditional architecture and application development models. Getting the best from this new way of working however, requires detailed knowledge of how to deploy them and the benefits of doing so. To avoid making bad decisions – which could impact the ability to move to containers quickly and effectively – organisations should seek out guidance from experienced experts before jumping in. 

A little assistance during the early phases of a cloud migration, or application refactoring, will pay huge dividends when moving to containers. If you are able to find and work with an experienced partner the benefits will be realised faster, with less risk. Here are some of the essential things to look for in a partner:

Sourcing the Right Expertise

Once you’ve selected your container distribution (e.g. Rancher, Docker, OpenShift…), the adoption of new technology can be disruptive. Not just to your technology ecosystem, but to your teams and culture too. 

Another stumbling block is that the on-premise IT services methodologies, traditionally supporting COTS applications, struggle to translate to the new model of containers, microservices and cloud environments. Care should be taken to ensure that any service provider is suitably skilled and experienced in Rancher, Kubernetes and Docker to enable you on your journey.

Take the time to ask how long they have been working with the technologies, how extensive their training is, and what certifications they hold. Key decisions about application architecture and environment design will be made early in the life of your modern applications – it’s crucial to make the right ones. Seek advice from those with the scars and medals of previous battles in this arena if you want to get ahead of your competition.

Finding the Right Support

You will gain the most from a partner if you are able to engage with engineers who will work in close partnership with you. You want a partner that will collaborate to design and build robust, flexible and cost-efficient cloud provisioning, orchestration and deployment solutions for your modern applications. Take the time to identify a partner who can place automation at the heart of what they do, leveraging the latest industry tooling and techniques including system immutability, infrastructure-as-code and container orchestrators.

What’s more, you will want to work with a qualified professional services team who can provide the architecture design, pre-staging, deployment, integration, training and support requirements for each project they undertake – you could  avoid costly mistakes common in the absence of this help.

An Agnostic Approach

You should ideally find a partner who is technology-agnostic and able to give honest advice, tailored for you – rather than making recommendations on one particular technology stack. You are going to be working with them on strategic elements of your business, so leverage their experience to avoid common design and implementation pitfalls – it will save you a lot of time, and a lot of money.

Lastly, find a partner who is invested in your success. Sounds simple, but finding a partner that looks beyond the surface requirements is a rare feat, but a rewarding one. Look beyond the sticker on the tin and instead focus on how your partner can help you make changes with longevity. Our own partners – such as Rancher – achieve this by upskilling our consultants in their latest technologies and tools so we can better serve our clients. We then pay this forward to our clients by upskilling their teams as part of our Pods offering. Technology isn’t about squeezing lemons, it’s about creating a sustainable innovation that benefits all, and we pride ourselves on enabling teams to make the most of the new technologies that will need to be mastered as they start their DevOps journey. 

Lead by Example

ECS Digital are experts in the deployment of containerised applications, and we provide exactly this type of assistance to organisations of all kinds. We are service delivery and training providers for many of the leaders in the DevOps toolchain, such as Rancher, Docker, HashiCorp, Puppet, Sonatype, New Relic, CloudBees and GitHub. Click here to find out more and get in touch.

If you missed Part One of the series, you can find it here.

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About the author

Morgan Atkins is the container technology lead at ECS Digital, and spends his time working with the leading container tools and related technology. You will find him on site with customers from many industries, explaining how to adopt products such as Rancher, Docker and Kubernetes. Morgan is a certified Docker trainer and consultant, and is one of the leading consultants for containerised applications in the UK.

About ECS Digital

ECS Digital is a leading DevOps and Digital Transformation consultancy based in London, Singapore and Edinburgh. Being deeply embedded in the world of DevOps and the tooling that this movement is driving, ECS Digital is proud to partner with the leading software vendors in this space, including Rancher, Docker, CloudBees, Aqua, Sonatype, HashiCorp, New Relic and ServiceNow.

Morgan AtkinsPlotting a Container-Centric Future. Part Two