Wrappers and containers and scripts! Oh my!

4466482623_6aea29d90a_b_0.jpgThe world is changing before our eyes. There are open source projects out there that aim to change the very way we run our data centers, manage complex systems and deliver software.

Just this week, I learned about Apache Mesos and a commercial company built on top of it called Mesosphere. They want to change the way you manage data centers by treating the compute power as a single entity using container technology to isolate individual processes. The idea is to provide elastic resources so that each server fills up to the extent possible before using another. This is a much more efficient way to deal with datacenter resources in general, and today's cloud-based applications, which tend to require much greater scale than applications from previous generations.

Mesosphere also created a program called Marathon, which acts a wrapper around Linux programs and according to an article on Enterprise Tech, "gives those Linux applications the resilience, scalability, and fault tolerance that Mesos delivers." According to TechTarget, "In programming, a wrapper is a program or script that sets the stage and makes possible the running of another, more important program."

I also learned about Docker, a project that places applications inside a container --there's that word again --and allows developers to make changes to the program sitting inside the container without altering the way it's way it's delivered. The end result is that when you make a change, instead of breaking what you have, it updates the system smoothly pleasing IT because it ensures stability and developers because they can make changes without fear of breaking things.

On Tuesday, Red Hat released Red Hat Enterprise LInux 7.0. It boasts scripts to help automate moving from an older version or Red Hat to the latest version, identifying areas that could be problems and giving guidance on what you need to fix before pulling the trigger. What's more it includes deployment templates with different resources based on particular usage profiles to get you the resources you need for a given deployment type.

All of these tools have one thing in common. They provide a way to deliver software and services or manage the datacenter more efficiently with less effort. They help remove complexity and help IT pros, sys admins and developers work smarter, and they help balance the needs of Dev and Ops.

In today's world, these two entities are supposed to be working more closely than ever, but that's not always the case in reality. The more tools that they can access to bridge their differences, the smoother the relationship is likely to be.

The common thread among these many tools is open source, which gives companies and individuals equal access to the underlying technology. Given the opportunity to build things, people tend to step up because there isn't anything in their way.

And when that happens, everybody wins. While proprietary vendors try to keep tight control of the product, open source products welcome outside help and that drives innovation. And that innovation is changing the way we do business in fairly dramatic ways.

Photo by Michael Himbeault on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons 2.0 license.