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Docker news shaped the IT and DevOps industry in 2016

Docker, and tools to manage it, led to a DevOps-heavy year in 2016. Here are the 10 stories that IT admins must know before 2017.

We just can't stop talking about Docker.

Docker news featured heavily in the top IT industry stories of 2016, as did updates to tools such as Kubernetes and virtualization platforms such as VMware, which give IT organizations the management capabilities to bring containers into production. Microsoft shook things up with microservices and container moves, as well.

In the midst of IT's ongoing war against silos, containerization introduced a way to release applications and manage IT resources with fewer restrictions from dev to ops. DevOps news stories beyond containers caught the IT industry's attention throughout the year, as well, including new automation capabilities from Ansible, ServiceNow and other vendors. IT professionals avidly researched DevOps skills and careers.

Read these top 10 news stories on IT operations from 2016, presented in chronological order, and get ready for what 2017 has in store.

1. Tools are useless without skills

DevOps requires new skills from systems administrators, infrastructure managers and other traditional IT roles. No tool chain -- no matter how open its APIs -- will function without a team well-versed in DevOps skills. As more companies, big and small, adopted DevOps in 2016, IT professionals adapted their change management and process control knowledge to increase automation and collaboration.

2. Container ops debate plays out on live servers

Containers may be the new way to virtualize, but when it comes to production IT, they're stuck inside the VM box. At least in these early days of Docker in production, IT teams rely on a virtual machine layer for easier integration and management. Bare-metal Docker, however, isn't far behind.

3. Docker lures enterprises with native tooling

IT shops rely on container orchestration to bring the benefits of Docker to production, but which orchestration platform is best? Docker integrated its Swarm cluster management and scheduling capabilities into Docker Engine in 2016, challenging third-party tools from the likes of Google Kubernetes, Mesosphere and others. Docker news about the push and pull between open and proprietary code didn't end there, with Docker open-sourcing containerd at the end of 2016.

4. Ansible updates aim to make ops easier

The Ansible configuration management tool saw major back-end updates and integration with other Red Hat systems management tools in version 2. The tool and its playbook templates create automation from developer to operations to cloud admin to network engineer.

5. Microservices shake up more than the app

Microsoft's product portfolio includes a range of new and evolving tools to manage containerized and virtualized IT infrastructure -- but Service Fabric isn't one of them. Instead, the platform-level tool automates how apps provision and scale IT resources. It's a tough choice between infrastructure- or platform-level management for enterprises with ops expertise.

6. ITSM is dead -- long live ITSM

ServiceNow's IT operations management platform provides a way for IT teams to automate and manage workflows, and IT service management adherents will recognize core elements, such as a configuration management database for IT assets. It also correlates the data in the configuration management database to the business services that they support. This move beyond IT service management is worth the buy-in cost for some enterprises.

7. Airbnb's DevOps news takes a surprising turn

VMware is synonymous with data center virtualization; Amazon Web Services is synonymous with public cloud. Most would expect DevOps to jive more with AWS, but for Airbnb, some applications made more sense to migrate on premises and manage with VMware DevOps tools.

8. How to standardize in the container ecosystem

We haven't seen any Docker news about a fork of its containerization software -- at least not yet. But with the mid-2016 move to integrate Docker Swarm and Engine, the industry buzzed about the appeal of a "simple, boring" container implementation that wouldn't be as affected by how Docker packages proprietary technologies.

9. Microsoft, Docker and Kubernetes -- oh my!

Microsoft went on a tear supporting Docker and containers generally with the release of Windows Server 2016. With Docker support on Windows servers, IT shops can more confidently move containers into production. One interface will manage Linux- and Windows-based app containers.

Just before the New Year, enterprises saw a reciprocal move from Google Kubernetes, a container management and scheduling platform. Kubernetes 1.5 introduced native Windows Server and Windows Containers and Hyper-V Containers support. In 2017, IT shops will have more choices than ever when evaluating a container tool set.

10. Docker bets on persistent storage

More Docker news? The containerization giant showed no signs of quietly drifting into 2017. At the end of the year, Docker acquired persistent storage startup Infinit. The buy adds credibility to the claim that containerization will benefit stateful apps as the technology matures.

Next Steps

These 10 news stories captured major changes in the IT industry in one year. Looking over the next five years, these 10 IT trends -- from containers to IT as a service -- will shape the industry in new and ongoing ways.

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