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Finally! A Valid Reason To Consider Containerization

So the “Where In The World is Philippe Winthrop?” game has taken a very brief pause.  I’ve been home a whopping – wait for it – SIX days!  During that time, I have had the opportunity to watch some amazing Boston sports wins.  Literally, as we speak, I am watching the Boston Red Sox play against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.  If you’re watching the game with me, and you see that it’s the bottom of the 3rd inning, you understand why I have opened up my computer as opposed to focus on the game.  Sigh.

In any case, I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts on a certain subject for a while, but have simply not had the time.  What better time than when your favorite team is playing poorly, your wife who is sitting not 2 feet away from you is reviewing a client contract and your awesome daughter is fast asleep to do so.  I want to talk again about containers.

I’ve commented a number of times about why I think containers are less than optimal solutions.  Actually, for the record, I have been historically far less diplomatic about my views on 3rd party container solutions than just saying “less than optimal” because by definition they go against the user experience that has been created by the platform vendor (i.e., Apple, BlackBerry, Google, Microsoft).  For the record, feel free to reach out to my wife to get her thoughts on the container solution her company uses (It isn’t good).

So containers are bad and they should never be used. Right?  Wrong.

I’ve actually – all joking aside – FINALLY figured out a use case where a container makes PERFECT sense…and I want to share it with you.

It’s about consultants.  Yes, the people who travel even more than I do.  The ones who leave each and every Sunday and get home each and every Thursday night.  They work for a company but are spending the overwhelming majority of their time on client site.  In fact, they are so entrenched in the client environment that they need to have an email address that is on the client’s domain…and they also need access to files and data that are proprietary to the client.

But hold on – they also work for the consultant and they’re going to need to have access to employer mail, intranet files and all that other “stuff.”  How do you reconcile the two?


Forget BYOD….or should I say VoEM.  There’s a real (as opposed to marketing) use case for containerization.  Your mobile devices are accessing your employer’s systems and are managed by said employer (with a certificate).  Your devices can’t handle two certificates at once but your client insists not only that you have your (their) data secured but that you are “on their systems.”  I can’t think of any way other than via containerization that you can use both at the same time.

So what does this really mean?  First of all, I have finally decided to agree that there is a (limited) place for containers.  Second, the best use of containers is actually IN CONJUNCTION with native enterprise mobility management capabilities and that you will find in your EMM vendor of choice.  It’s no longer a question of container vs. no container, but rather how does your enterprise mobility management solution provider COMBINE both native and container solutions.

It’s now the bottom of the 4th and the Red Sox have extended their deficit – this is not a good thing – which means I need to go yell at the TV.


  1. Posted October 17, 2013 at 07:14 | Permalink

    Go Sox!

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  2. Posted November 8, 2013 at 21:32 | Permalink

    Agree , we can see Container as an Enterprise Robot in the device. It can be tuned for access security, storage security, data policy enforcements, app level controls to the deepest depths, they can be seen as single access point to enterprise.

    As I always say the best way to solve ABYOD myth is make apps BYOD aware; than devices. Container concept is the best way we can achieve this ..

    My view is in Mobility Containers get to a reputation as Run time VMs in the world, folks though they will be slow, but now we ignore that they exist :) This is a technology space that will go places

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    • Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:57 | Permalink

      I agree that containers do have a place in the mobility landscape, and that they will go places, but most of today’s iterations leave me wanting more. The space will evolve and get refined over time, as it is clearly an immature space in its current form.

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      • Posted November 9, 2013 at 23:18 | Permalink

        Agree, fragmentation is kind creating confusion, duplication of capabilities make things even more confusing. My view is some sort of standardization has to happen. Right now they all are good at doing 4-5 things out of 10 we all want. But it is a great potential space for innovation..

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