Next-Gen IT Monitoring: Get Docker Containers Under Control

If you manage servers or cloud applications, here's a big riddle you'll need to solve in 2015 -- or sooner: How do you manage Docker software containers? Fail to answer that question, and you're not keeping pace with one of the biggest trends in servers, application development and cloud computing. Here's why.

First, the good news: Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure each have vowed to support Docker -- an open source "container" technology that makes it easier for developers and businesses to build, test, launch and move applications from one server (or cloud) to another.

Just like the earlier Linux wave, many companies are lining up to support Docker. Some pundits think Docker will free companies from expensive virtualization technologies. Others think Docker will speed application development and deployments. 

Managing, Monitoring Docker?

The big question: How can you manager Docker? Some answers are starting to emerge. GroundWork, for instance, has launched BoxSpy -- a monitoring system for Docker and Linux container environments. GroundWork claims BoxSpy, based on Google's cAdvisor container monitoring technology:

  • Works with GroundWork's existing monitoring platform -- and an API makes it compatible with third-party monitoring technologies.
  • Actually lives "in" the container and can therefore monitor other containers on the same system.
  • Works with both DevOps and production environments.
  • Correlates Docker performance with the rest of a company's IT environment, so that you can make holistic conclusions about what's right -- and wrong -- with an IT system's performance.
  • Is dynamic and can automatically monitor new containers as you spin them up.

Let the Stampede Begin

Over the next few weeks, it's  a safe bet dozens of traditional and next-gen IT monitoring platforms will add some sort of Docker support.

After all, one good revolution (Docker) deserves another (Docker management).

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