Kiran Kamity, CEO @ ContainerX
The Emotional IT ‘Buyer’
I was told once that every single human being is an emotional buyer. Even us techies, who live and die by logic every single day, are, at the bottom of our hearts, emotional buyers! I am using the word ‘buy’ here, not to necessarily indicate money, but to indicate an IT person’s approval of a piece of technology. In this first ContainerX blog, I am hoping to appeal to the emotions of the enterprise IT leader, rather than focussing purely on the nuts & bolts of the product features.
Container Infrastructure Platforms Are Still In Their Infancy
We started ContainerX (@ContainerXinc) a little over a year ago, and have been fortunate to have had a great launch at DockerCon Barcelona in Nov ‘15. We’ve had a chance to talk to a number of enterprises, small and big, over the course of the last year. Here’s what we learnt: The ‘early adopter’ developers have thoroughly recognized the agility and scale that containers offer and are starting to create containerized applications. They then expect IT to provide a ‘corporate blessed’ environment to run them . Barring a few ISVs building web scale apps and financials who have set up their own infrastructure, most IT departments do not have the time or resources to build a container platform. Typically, IT hands over a few VMs to dev/ops, who then install Docker manually and try to wire together a homegrown container platform with minimal control over the enterprise’s storage & networking, which typically IT owns. This homegrown container platform is good as a proof-of-concept, but certainly not good enough to provide any level of confidence to the CIO that their production apps can run in containers, because their environment isn’t ready for primetime.
Parallels To Big Data
Remember the early days of big data, before Cloudera or MapR came along, when people were manually setting up Hadoop and tying things together. I think we are in a similar territory today (early 2016) in the world of containers. Some enterprises certainly embraced the Do-It-Yourself route, but a good majority of them went with a plug-and-play setup and support offered by a software provider, enabling their teams to focus on the core business of the enterprise rather than building custom infrastructures. While there certainly will be a handful of DIY efforts, I think we will see vendor offerings spread in the enterprise over the next few years.
Team Pic From ContainerX Holiday Party Feb 2016
The ContainerX Team
Need to throw in a humble brag here, but this is an all-star team! We have been living and breathing enterprise infrastructure for the last decade and a half. We have repeat entrepreneurs who’ve built and sold enterprise startups, several folks with PhDs and years of enterprise infrastructure experience having worked at companies like VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and HP. Add to that, investor backing from folks like Steve Herrod at General Catalyst, ex-VMware CTO, any enterprise startup would kill to have a core team like this!
What Is ContainerX?
As this two minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_4WYd_9MKs explains, ContainerX is an all-inclusive ready-to-go container platform designed for enterprise IT to administer as easily as they’ve administered VMware vSphere or Microsoft HyperV over the years, with dev and ops self service. Enterprise IT can set up the platform in under 60 minutes, integrate with various enterprise infrastructure aspects including storage, network, orchestration, LDAP etc, create pools with resource limits, for various dev/ops teams to self service.
Why ContainerX & What Is So Unique About It?
Granted these are early days in the container infrastructure world, but there is already a crowd beginning to form…a ‘crowd’ of vendors realizing the upside of getting in early in this promising new domain, and coming at it from various angles. So what is our unique angle?
It is one of those things that is really very simple to explain but hard to do!
We are building ContainerX to provide a ‘delightfully simple’, yet ‘enterprise ready’ experience for IT, with zero change in behavior for developers as well as ops. We want enterprise IT to feel the joy when they create a cluster of compute. We want IT to have the freedom and flexibility to use any pool of compute resources, regardless of whether it is bare-metal, on-premise VMs or public cloud VMs. We want Windows to be a first class citizen. We want openness and seamless integration with existing enterprise offerings that IT is already using for storage, networking, monitoring and more. We want it to be super simple to setup and maintain. And if something goes wrong, we want to convey actionable insights.
For developers and ops, we want a super simple way to run applications. We want them to use Docker Compose or Mesos Marathon or something else they might like. We want to provide RESTful interfaces to programmatically administer the product.
Why You Should Include Us In Your Enterprise Journey?
We took a step back and re-imagined what the data centers of the future will look like when containers are a first class citizen. What we are envisioning at ContainerX is grand and ambitious. But we believe we have the team to do this right. If you are an IT leader at a company where you’d rather buy than build a container platform, we humbly hope that you will consider us. We want to be part of your enterprise infrastructure journey. We know we will not have 100% of the features you need, but we know for a fact that we will listen to you and do our best in getting close to your expectations.
Hopefully this intro blog on ContainerX gives you a taste of not just what we are building, but also who we are as a team. More technical blogs will follow from the rest of our team. We are here to make a difference, and we hope that you will like it!
We’d Love To Stay In Touch With You!