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The true potential of containers is unrealized: Indrajit Banerjee, Founder, Flockport

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Indrajit Banerjee, Founder, Flockport

Flockport, a startup based in Mumbai, India, is the only startup outside of Silicon Valley to offer an easy, simplified container management platform for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. The startup recently announced the launch of a new container platform for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. Flockport’s founder, Indrajit Banerjee, believes that existing platforms are developer-centric and introduce constraints. Flockport is looking at easing and simplifying application migration and deployment. Some edited excerpts from an interview:

What are some of the key challenges for enterprises in a multi-cloud world?

As enterprises re-imagine their software and applications in the cloud – portability, scalability and standardization are the top 3 priorities for enterprises today. Having said that, enterprises’ complex infrastructure makes the cloud transitions very challenging. While the tooling for managing existing deployments and data centers is mature there is a gap in software and tooling to manage cloud transitions.

This leads to a lack of flexibility and a risk of lock-in. This is where containers can play a key role by easing the migration, providing flexibility and avoiding lock-in to cloud providers.

So, this is one issue.

The second issue is that while containers are light weight and can be moved across servers seamlessly, currently that is not the case. Instead of using containers to reduce or remove complexity for enterprises, current container platform make it more complex.

How does Flockport seek to address some of these challenges?

Flockport is designed ground up for deployment and hybrid and multi-cloud scenarios. Flockport is designed to ease the transition from VMs so enterprises can take advantage of container technology swiftly. We provide the tooling to ease the transition to the cloud and manage and deploy applications across data centers and multiple clouds effortlessly.

Applications are mainly deployed on VMs in datacenters and in the Cloud. Flockport uses a standard OS environment in our containers and this makes migration from VM based workloads to containers seamless. Enterprises can get the benefits of containers in terms of efficiency and avoiding lock-in without any expensive re-engineering.

Compared to established solutions in the market, what kind of differentiator does Flockport offer over other players?

The main advantage of Flockport is our use of standards.  Flockport uses standard multi-process containers with a standard OS environment that enable a seamless migration of application workloads from VMs. Enterprise thus do not need to re-engineer or architect their applications and management stack and can move to containers as is. This reduces costs and management overhead and in turn enables portability and flexibility while avoiding lock-in to providers. Flockport does not enforce the use of layers and other devops specific technology that add constraints and complexity to deployment.

Flockport gives users an opportunity to step back from complexity while getting all the benefits and advantages of containers technology right away.

You have publicly spoken about container complexity and have vocally said that this complexity could derail the container deployment movement? How does Flockport differ and how can it simplify container deployment?

I believe the main problem is that in a lot of devops is developer tooling that become constraints in deployment. The use of these technologies for deployment does not meet enough technical scrutiny. There is no justification or benefit to using single process environments or layers in deployment.

At Flockport, we believe that the benefits of containers do not come from these devops specific modifications to containers but from containers themselves which are light weight portable alternatives to VMs that can be moved across servers seamlessly.

Containers were supposed to offer greater flexibility and portability compared to VMs. Somewhere along the way that promise has got derailed in the frenzy of using containers to push ‘webscale’ under the umbrella market speak of devops. While devops is good for developers, it’s not ideal for deployment. It adds constraints, complexity and costs to deployment and requires expensive devops engineers.  The true potential of containers as lightweight alternatives to VMs and their innate benefit in avoiding lock-in are thus unrealized.

Flockport has developed a new container platform to enable and accelerate migration of application workloads to the cloud? Can you give us some specific details on how faster can be the deployments be (in terms of percentage) over traditional deployments? Also, it would be helpful if you could give us some approximate numbers on the costs that can be saved when compared to traditional deployments?

This depends on the scale of deployment and will differ by customer. But because there is no re-engineering involved and applications can be moved as is from VMs to containers Flockport can accelerate deployments significantly. Alternative solutions will require significant re-architecture and deployment to fit into opinionated platforms. The key here is migrating applications to containers will give enterprises complete portability and allow migrations across servers. This in itself delivers immense value and cost efficiencies to customers.

Specific to India, what kind of opportunities do you see for your start-up?

India has some of the largest technology deployments and also have some of the largest software companies in the world who are engaged in helping their customers migrate to the cloud. Every segment and industry can benefit from the Flockport’s platform today and we are engaging with leading technology companies.

Immediately we foresee big opportunities in managing cloud transitions. We are in talks with leading SIs and global technology companies with an intention to collaborate and offer simplified, easy to deploy container platform.


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