Why businesses develop a container-first approach for success: SUSE’s view
The acquisition of Rancher by SUSE earlier this year has brought the global open-source enterprise-focused business into many headlines worldwide.
The new addition to the SUSE family puts the duo firmly on the table for organizations looking to deploy Kubernetes-based containers into production. It sets it apart from the other players in the enterprise technology space as a company that is looking to the future — a significant portion of the future’s critical applications and services will run on microservices.
Tech Wire Asia spoke exclusively to Phillip Miltiades, President of Asia Pacific & Japan, SUSE. We turned first to how SUSE might position the capabilities of its new acquisition among its offerings.
“The acquisition of Rancher has expanded SUSE’s portfolio and created the opportunity to revisit our offerings to best serve our customers. Among the many stakeholders we serve, application developers remain key to our go-to-market strategy, and we want to continue providing the best possible experience for them.
Our Rancher plus native Kubernetes-based CI/CD and GitOps offerings represent a superior alternative by providing developers with a richer toolset and greater flexibility. Our goal is to give real freedom to developers to use the tools they feel comfortable with and still get the efficiencies of container-based deployments at scale for the modern era.
That’s the combined value of SUSE and Rancher: staying truly open whilst providing the tools to innovate everywhere.”
In our conversation, the development community’s role came up several times. Phillip was quick to name-check developers:
“Software developers, or Innovation Heroes as I like to call them, are the life blood of open source. The creation and evolution of products, such as Linux, that benefit the many are only possible due to this community […] SUSE has always had a strong developer focus, and now with our acquisition of Rancher and ongoing commitment to openness, we will expand our focus on next generation projects, supporting the development of new products for the enterprise.”
As a leading platform for Kubernetes-based container deployment and management, Rancher comes to SUSE with a highly active user base numbering over 37,000, with 100 million downloads of the platform to date.
Rancher’s advantages include the ability to deploy complete software stacks regardless of infrastructure, across on-premise, public and private clouds. This flexibility echoes the agile stance that businesses want to adopt innovation in product design and will chime well with companies not committing 100% to cloud-only.
But if organizations are remaining conservative regarding a move to a cloud-only topology, surely the same conservatism applies to deploying new technologies in production, like containers & microservices? Phillip countered this opinion:
“There is no doubt container adoption will grow significantly. According to Gartner, ‘by 2025, more than 85% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, which is a significant increase from fewer than 35% in 2019.’
“This rapid adoption is driven by the efficacy of containers in deploying and maintaining applications that are not dependent on baseline infrastructure or need very little compute power to perform. Put simply, containers and Kubernetes are the future of IT Application Lifecycle management.”
Assuming containers’ versatility, scalability, and ease of deployment will begin to dominate the enterprise application space, we asked Miltiades why organizations would choose Rancher in this regard? After all, there are several battle-proven container orchestration platforms in use.
“Well, first, Rancher is a market leader having been recognized as such by Forrester Research in their recent Multi-Cloud Container Development Platforms Wave report. And, with over 100 million downloads it is certainly the most widely adopted.
Secondly, no one wants to be locked into a single vendor approach, SUSE is about flexibility, openness and scalability – it enables our customers to innovate where they like without the headaches of being locked into one way of doing things.”
Phillip then touched on the fact that Rancher runs on any certified Kubernetes distribution. This means new users can start with any distribution and get all the benefits of Rancher. Plus, the platform can deploy Kubernetes on-premises, in the cloud, on the edge, safely, with no lock-in to one vendor’s technology.
The question of safety has come up several times in recent years, such as when a deep dive into the Docker repositories found many malware instances among unmaintained containers in the archives. We asked Phillip about changes that might be necessary to a company’s cybersecurity posture when deploying container technology at large:
“Cybersecurity remains a core tenet of SUSE’s strategy for both our Linux and Kubernetes solutions. Cybersecurity in a cloud native world is vastly different from traditional IT security and needs to be handled across the entire lifecycle of the user experience.
“IT can no longer look at specific layers or choke points that hackers exploit but must take an approach to assemble the entire cloud stack from the Operating System, to containers and Kubernetes, to the application and through to the user itself.”
The SUSE offering, now with Rancher, provides significant advantages from the security standpoint alone. But there are business “wins” of an even grander scale.
Rancher is the only solution to provide full lifecycle management of public cloud distributions. Users can leverage the best of all public clouds without being tied to any single cloud. Furthermore, for edge environments, Rancher is the only solution designed to support very large clusters of up to a million instances, making it possible for users to develop, deploy, and manage edge applications at a massive scale.
As many enterprises look to more localized nodes for faster, lower latency provision of services, it’s this type of forward-thinking that many will find attractive. Positive “customer experiences” start with speed and responsiveness of software, so putting services close-by will make increasing sense in the next few years; and Rancher and SUSE are pushing that vision already today.
To find out more about how SUSE helps organizations like yours deploy quickly, safely and at scale on enterprise-grade OS and platforms, get in touch with a representative near you.