From chaos to containers


Tech always comes in waves. The last big enterprise technology development wave crested in 2015, and ever since then potential adopters have been busily downloading bits, grappling with new ideas, and trying to determine which tech to bank on.

The great part of being in the wake of this latest wave is that we have a pretty coherent picture of the future of applications: Microservices running in Docker containers orchestrated by Kubernetes. This is the basic “cloud native” vision, where distributed applications are continuously monitored and improved, and new ones can be designed and spun up much faster than before.

But mind the gap between that vision and the current state of affairs in most enterprises. It’s always amusing to see the reaction of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest when they encounter the real world of the enterprise datacenter. Ben Sigelman, CEO of the distributed system reliability management startup Lightstep, described it as “chaos” in a recent panel hosted by the VC firm Redpoint.

His comment came on the heels of a presentation by Bindi Belanger, an executive program director at Ticketmaster. She described her company’s new Kubernetes deployment amid an infrastructure strewn with a hodgepodge of legacy tech, including an emulated version of VAX software.