Docker Captains interview series continues with Brian Christner

“Docker has created a new tool-set which has now become the standard for DevOps.”

JAXenter Editorial Team
© Shutterstock / Julia Waller

Docker is revolutionizing IT — you’re probably hearing this phrase quite often. Still, these questions linger: If we were to look beyond the hype, what’s so disruptive about Docker technology? What are the differences between Docker and a virtual machine? What is hype and where does the real added value lie? We talked with Brian Christner about all this and more.

Docker manages to insert itself into all our conversations — why? Because it is extremely helpful and everyone loves it. There’s a lot going on in the Docker world (for example, the Docker platform and Moby Project are now integrating support for Kubernetes) but this is not why we’re doing this interview series with Docker Captains.

We’d like to hear more about their love stories with Docker, their likes and dislikes, their battle scars and more. Without further ado, we’d like to introduce Brian Christner, Cloud Advocate/Architect and Docker Captain. 

JAXenter: Can you tell us a little bit about your first contact with Docker? When was it? In what context? Was it love at first sight?

Brian Christner: I found out about Docker from a friend about 5 – 6 months after Docker first came available. I was blown away about the possibilities about this new level of abstraction with such an easy interface. At first, I was just poking around to see what it was about. As soon as I figured out how it worked, I started working on moving my monitoring work over to Docker which then got me in touch with Docker and the awesome Docker staff and community which formed.

JAXenter: Docker is revolutionizing IT – that is what we read and hear very often. Do you think this is true? If we were to look beyond the hype, what’s so disruptive about Docker technology ?

Brian Christner: I really believe Docker has created a new tool-set which has now become the standard for DevOps.

JAXenter: How is Docker different from a normal virtual machine?

Brian Christner: This is a question that comes up again and again. I really like to point out  that VM’s are built for applications that are usually more static and don’t change very often. Whereas containers are more flexible and makes it possible to easily and frequently update your containers. The line between VM’s and containers comes down to use case. But in the same breath I also mention that we run all of our apps in containers and VM’s so they actually compliment each other very well.

JAXenter: How do you use Docker in your daily work? Can you describe your personal use cases?

Brian Christner: I personally use Docker for every new project I’m working on. My personal blog runs Docker, monitoring projects I’m working on to creating applications for IoT on RasperryPi’s. At work Docker is being used across several teams. We use it to provision our Database as a Service offerings  and for development purposes. It is very vesatile and used across multiple verticals within our company. Here is one of our use cases that is on Docker’s website.

JAXenter: What issues do you experience when working with Docker? What are the current challenges?

Brian Christner: I still find it difficult to convince legacy application stake holders to convert to containers. However, once I have walked them through the benefits and demo’d some different use cases the adoption becomes almost immediate. It is also challenging as it is not just introducing containers to a company or a department but everything that comes along with containers from logging, monitoring, to CI/CD pipelines.

JAXenter: Talking about the evolution of the Docker ecosystem: How do you comment on Docker’s decision to donate the containerd runtime to the Open Container Initiative?

Brian Christner: These core components should be available for everyone. This will help drive container adoption across multiple platforms making it easier for new people to enter to containers as well as switch between platforms removing vendor lock-in.

JAXenter: Is there a special feature you would like to see in one of the next Docker releases?

Brian Christner: This is difficult as many of the features I have asked for have been already introduced. However, if I would like to see more of something is more IoT integrations as I see containers + IoT as great use case for the millions of connected devices.

JAXenter: Could you share one of your favorite tips when using Docker?

Brian Christner: I share all my favorite tips via my blog

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