The arrival of 2015 should bring with it a more disciplined approach to building mobile computing applications in the enterprise by relying more on back-end-as-a-service (BaaS) platforms that, thanks to Docker containers, will soon be more portable between different operating systems.
Cathal McGloin, vice president of mobile platforms for Red Hat, says that now that Red Hat has embraced Docker containers, it’s only a matter of time before the FeedHenry BaaS platform that Red Hat acquired in 2014 gets deployed on top of multiple operating systems via a Docker container architecture.
That capability, says McGloin, will be critical in terms of imposing more structure on how mobile applications are built across the enterprise. Today most organizations are still building mobile applications one at a time, which results in a considerable increase in mobile application development backlog. By employing a more platform-centric approach that relies on RESTful APIs, organizations will be able to build more mobile applications significantly faster, says McGloin.
Part of the challenge that enterprise IT organizations face today is that they are building mobile applications that need to access back-end applications and services running on multiple operating systems. Now that Microsoft has signaled its intention to support Docker containers on Windows Server 2012, McGloin notes it will soon be possible to more easily deploy a common BaaS platform across both Windows Server and Linux environments.
Instead of rushing headlong into mobile application development projects, McGloin says IT organizations would be well advised in 2015 to set a more deliberate pace. As part of that strategy, IT organizations need to provide ways to more consistently access back-end services to both professional and “citizen developers” alike, says McGloin. In fact, he says that unless organizations find a way to empower citizen developers and integrators, it’s unlikely they will make progress on reducing their mobile application development backlogs in 2015.
Ultimately, McGloin says we’re heading into a bimodal era of IT where systems of engagement are going to be created much more aggressively in the cloud. Those systems in turn will be integrated with traditional systems of record applications that historically have been deployed on premises. RESTful APIs, integrated platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) and microservices based on Docker containers will provide the glue through which these bimodal enterprise IT architectures will be unified, he says.
The result, says McGloin, will be a much more agile enterprise IT environment capable of supporting new business realities being driven primarily by the rise of mobile computing.