Being Customer First with Containers and Data Services

Dec 07, 2017

Somik Behera


5 min read

At Mesosphere, being customer-first is one of our core values. To us, being customer-first is listening deeply and empathetically to our customers in order to truly understand what they need to be successful, and then working backward to help them achieve success.
Throughout this process, we relentlessly strive to create insanely great products for our customers.
Last quarter, we held our inaugural customer advisory board meeting and we are proud to share a brief overview of how far we've come together and how our customers are disrupting industries.
To start with some context, let's take a look at some container theory, specifically around port automation. As told in Containers, an 8 episode podcast by Alexis Madrigal. Port automation, moving shipping containers mechanically versus manually, was a trend that disrupted shipping industry forever. Long before the onset of the Docker or software-based containerization!
In the 1960s, the trend of port automation led to a shifting of the shipping market away from the Port of San Francisco to Port of Oakland. Due to Port of Oakland's role in supplying American troops during the Vietnam War, the Port of Oakland embraced containerization and port automation. This resulted in stealing much of the business away from the nearby Port of San Francisco, which still manually handled cargo. By 1969, nearly 90% of dockworkers had lost their jobs. The port and freight industry experienced massive change within 15 years after the arrival of the containerization and the port automation revolution.
Furthermore, this trend of port automation and containerization led to the downfall of famous ports such as the ports of San Francisco, New York and London as they were late to adopt the paradigm changing technology of port automation. They simply couldn't compete with the faster and more efficient processes and equipment adopted by other ports.
Enabling Pioneers to Disrupt Industries Globally
Members of the Mesosphere Customer Advisory Board (CAB) are a disruptive bunch that spans nearly every industry. Each one a pioneer in its own right with a deep understanding of the containerized software and data revolution. Members of our CAB don't want to be behind like the Port of San Francisco in the 1960's, getting left behind during the freight containerization revolution, but rather want to embrace automation just like the Port of Oakland.
We are privileged to work with leading companies in virtually every industry vertical as they transform their industries. Every Mesosphere customer increases the value of DC/OS and it is truly impressive to see the diverse array of industry-defining use cases and architectures that are being adopted by our CAB members, their teams and the broader base of DC/OS customers.
Use Cases enabling Enterprise Transformation
Above you see a small set of use cases directly shared by our CAB members. Our CAB members partnered with Mesosphere to run DC/OS for many of the above use-cases, such as microservices and data services. This partnership enables them to disrupt their respective industries and drive innovation at the rate of leading hyper-scale companies.
When we dove-in, it came as no surprise that the top reason customers choose to standardize on Mesosphere DC/OS is DC/OS's ability to help them achieve business outcomes around data agility using data services built on the SMACK stack, which consists of Apache Spark, Mesos, Akka, Cassandra and Kafka. The SMACK stack enables business to work with real-time data at scale. Also high on the list were reasons related to operational agility such as container-as-a-service, deployment speed and operational efficiency, all of which leverage containers to enable their developers to quickly and easily write and deploy code across any infrastructure.
While the combination of microservices and container orchestration remain the most prevalent customer initiative to adopt Mesosphere technologies, distributed stateful services together with modern analytics and AI/ML frameworks is a big reason why our customers are DC/OS first. It also became clear that in an environment where "Software is eating the world", our customers want to move faster with greater agility and transform their way of doing business before their business too is disrupted by software.
Disruptors are Embracing an AI-first World
With an estimated 75% of Mesosphere CAB members deploying or being in production with Machine Learning (ML) technologies such as Google Tensorflow on DC/OS, we are certain the CAB members are one of the most leading-edge disruptive bunch. Leaders across industries are rapidly adopting AI technologies to power scalable applications and services that rely on real-time data analytics.
When we asked which distributed systems frameworks our CAB members leverage to realize the insights from their data in order to make intelligent business decisions, TensorFlow and Caffe came out in the top as the leading platforms being leveraged by our AI-First pioneers. This is significant because Tensorflow with 79,733 Github stars is clearly democratizing AI and enabling Enterprises of all sizes including our key customers who are leveraging DC/OS to provide improved real time customer experience & customer insight platforms.
Let's circle back to the 1960's freight container and port automation story from the beginning of this article and reflect on the image above that shows that today there is an automation revolution at work.
In the 1960's, the port automation revolution was physical and relied on new freight containers and equipment, while this time the revolution is being propelled by software-driven automation. The above graphic shows the results of the Port of Rotterdam's rapid adoption of software-based automation and how it is giving the previously pioneering Port of Oakland a run for its money. We want all of our customers to the Port of Rotterdam within their respective industry.
At Mesosphere, we build software that enables companies to deliver data-intensive applications and services on any datacenter or cloud. Our goal is to build insanely great software that our customers can use to be the insanely great organizations leading the software-driven digital transformation revolution. Together we're paving the way towards a more efficient and agile data-driven tomorrow, and we are proud to partner with amazing customers across all industries worldwide that are doing just that!

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