By now you may have heard of a three-year old tech startup called Docker, valued at over a billion dollars, and the new tech market it created called containers.
But what you may not realize is that the insane popularity of containers, a tech used by computer programmers, promises to completely change the multi-trillion-dollar enterprise software market, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst tells us.
"It is a whole shift in how applications are built, deployed, managed," Whitehurst says. "It's going to create winners and losers."
Containers allow programmers to set up management features, like security and network settings, that travel with the app as it runs on different computers or in the cloud. That means that programmers can write code on their laptops, test it there, and when they publish it to servers, it works the same as it did on the laptops. They don't have to spend hours debugging and fixing that stuff.
"It’s like the iPhone App Store for enterprise," Whitehurst says, meaning containers are as significant to enterprise app developers as the app store is to consumer app developers. "It makes it dramatically easier to develop technology. It literally can double the productivity of your development staff."
Docker is perhaps the biggest and best known startup offering containers because it was the first to commercialize the idea, but it's no longer the only one. A notable competitor is CoreOS.
The containers themselves aren't creating this big market. The opportunity is in helping companies and developers manage the millions upon millions of containers they're pumping into the world.
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