MetLife Uses Docker Enterprise Edition to Self Fund Containerization

Betty Junod

Oct 27 2017

MetLife is a 150 year old company in the business of securing promises and the information management of over 100M customers and their insurance policies. As a global company, MetLife delivers promises into every corner of the world – some of them built to last a lifetime. With this rich legacy comes a diverse portfolio of IT infrastructure to maintain those promises.

In April, Aaron Aedes from MetLife spoke about their first foray into Docker containerization with a new application, GSSP, delivered through Azure. Six months later, MetLife returns to the DockerCon stage to share their journey since this initial deployment motivated them to find other ways to leverage Docker Enterprise Edition [EE] within MetLife.

Jeff Murr, Director of Engineering for Containers and Open Source at MetLife spoke in the Day 1 DockerCon keynote session about how they are looking to scale containerization with Docker as they scale . He states that new technology typically adds more cost and overhead to an already taxed IT budget. But the Docker Modernize Traditional Apps [MTA] Program presented an opportunity to reduce the costs of their existing applications.

The MTA project at MetLife started with a single Linux Java-based application that handled the “Do Not Call / Opt out” process, a simple but important application in handling the customer experience. The app was containerized with Docker EE in a single day and they immediately saw improvements in the time to deploy and scale the application in addition to the amount of resources the app now required as a Docker EE container.

Metlife MTA

The Business Case for Traditional Apps in Docker EE

After a successful MTA POC, Jeff’s team looked at the rest of their application landscape to find other applications that were candidates for modernization.. Of the almost 6,000 applications at MetLife, 593 of them (roughly 10%) used the same technology stack as the application from the MTA POC. The resulting analysis projected a 66% total cost savings for those 593 applications. This savings represents not only the infrastructure efficiency gains but also the time saved in maintaining and supporting the application — for their US operations only. This represents tens of millions of dollars in savings for MetLife – and it all started with a single application.

Metlife MTA

“The do-not-call app wasn’t an exciting app – it is pretty exciting now.” Jeff Murr, MetLife

For Jeff’s team, this project has created a repeatable model to offer to the various application teams within MetLife whether the applications are Windows or Linux. Docker EE created a unique opportunity where the disruption itself is self-funded while providing a platform to innovate at scale. With Docker and by migrating to the cloud,MetLife is able to   flip the 80/20 maintenance-to-innovation ratio on its head.

Begin Your Journey

Companies looking to get started with Docker Enterprise Edition can take some tips from the experience at MetLife with both containerizing an existing application as well as building and deploying new microservices. The key is to start small and incrementally innovate with one app, one technology stack at a time and ease the operational changes over time, establish a pattern, rinse and repeat.

Docker EE at Metlife

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