By Tim Clark
November 1, 2016
Apcera has announced its new container management platform with a goal of repositioning itself as a container management platform. One might ask why, given the competitive dynamics of a market already brimming with names like Amazon Web Services, Red Hat, Cloud Foundry, CoreOS, Rancher and more.
Apcera positions its refreshed offering as “the first enterprise-grade” container platform, meaning that it covers both cloud-native and legacy (Linux) applications. Apcera also has expanded integration features to further support Amazon EC2 Container Service (Amazon ECS), Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure, allowing workloads to move seamlessly across virtually any infrastructure.
Why the container management platform positioning? Enterprise Strategy Group, in a research brief on the news, noted that similar platforms to date have emphasized issues relevant to developers and DevOps, not operations. As such, Apcera “was designed from the start to run new and legacy (source code or binary) workloads with trust.”
Trust has multiple dimensions, ESG notes, including security, compliance, performance and automated translation of policy into infrastructure operations. “Automation is the key part of delivering scalable and reliable applications,” the core focus of operations. Apcera and its rivals “may encounter resistance based on IT operations’ traditional reluctance to implement any new platforms,” ESG adds.
Apcera describes its change of marketing focus: “The market is evolving rapidly. A year ago, it would have been PaaS (Platform as a Service), but now that’s being subsumed into the container management platform,” said Eric Leach, Apcera’s new VP of product. “We are clarifying [Apcera’s positioning] for our benefit and the benefit of the market.”
In Apcera’s world view, competing platforms include Red Hat’s OpenShift, Cloud Foundry and Tectonic from CoreOS. Kubernetes and Mesos don’t qualify as platforms because they are open source projects and require specific expertise to implement. Also implied: Apcera’s platform cannot be installed on top of either open source project, Mesos or Kubernetes.
“Apcera has an enterprise-first approach to container management, and customers regularly turn to us to help modernize legacy applications as well as to run Docker securely and at scale,” Mark Thiele, Apcera’s chief strategy officer, said in a statement. “This announcement underscores our commitment to delivering a practical, real-world solution for container management that addresses the needs of enterprise IT as they increasingly move workloads to the cloud.”
Apcera has some distance to go in the container platform race. Cloud Foundry Foundation in June released its Containers in 2016 Global Perception Study, based on research in the first quarter of 2016. The multi-national study (US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, China, Japan, South Korea) had 711 respondents, although only 323 responded to the question about top container management platforms:
- Cloud Foundry (42%)
- Amazon Web Services (32%)
- Microsoft Azure (31%)
- Oracle (Java/database) (19%)
- Google App Engine (16%)
- Salesforce Force.com (16%)
Apcera finished with 1%, but that came before it had a product in the category. Its 2.4 release is slated for general availability Nov. 14.