The SignalFx team returned last week from Dockercon in Austin where we spent three amazing days engaging with over 5,000 people in the quickly growing Docker ecosystem and community. SignalFx has been running Docker containers in production since the start of our company in 2013; every application we manage executes within a Docker container. And we’ve never missed a Dockercon. We’re proud to be part of the Docker community. 

A main theme at Dockercon ‘17 was how enterprise organizations are utilizing containers as a means to achieve their digital transformation initiative or, as Metlife put it, moving “from the fountain pen to the cloud.” In fact, a highlight of the Day 2 Keynote was hearing from Metlife, the 150 year old insurance co, who showcased their journey from legacy to containers as “wrap, tap & scrap.” The approach, as they described it, can be summarized as WRAP legacy apps in a container, TAP the data in the app through APIs and finally SCRAP old legacy machines and apps. Aaron Ades, Assistant VP, Solutions Engineering at MetLife, said key benefits are their ability to use the public cloud while reducing the number of Virtual Machines used by 70 percent. Further, “DevOps is transformative, you can move faster and you’re more nimble and that, my friends, is competitive advantage.”


Visa, which was founded in 1958, similarly shared their journey to a microservices-based architecture and the resulting benefits, the biggest of which was speed. “Deployment is not bimodal. There is only one mode you need: Fast.” As enterprises like Visa make plans to move their developers and application groups to “container-first” microservices-based architectures, new approaches to monitoring must be adopted to enable developers to innovate at high speed without compromising the performance of their applications and environments.


We also learned a few things in both our discussions at the booth and in the hallway track. First, organizations looking to scale their existing Docker containers to clustered Docker had questions about orchestrators. From Swarm, and swarmkit to Kubernetes, Rancher and ECS the options are varied and organizations are weighing those options. The second thing we learned was that not every organization is a Metlife or a Visa — yet. Docker and others in the ecosystem are introducing initiatives and tools to help organizations of all size move towards containers in production. As it becomes easier and easier to achieve this vision, it also becomes more and more important to have visibility into your entire architecture stack. To learn more, join us as we discuss these issues and more on Tuesday, May 16th at 10am PT for a webinar, The New Challenges in Monitoring a Microservices Environment.

About the authors

Melanie Flores Salman

Melanie works in marketing at SignalFx. Previously she worked with PagerDuty and Loggly.

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