Cornell Uses Docker Datacenter To Simplify Production Deployments

Background

Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is an ivy league educational institution that was founded April 27, 1865. The university has just about 30,000 students and faculty and has an online library called Arxiv.org that receives close to 1.5 million hits per day, with 14 million papers downloaded per month.


Challenges

Their were several challenges that the school needed to solve for. One of the biggest challenges that Cornell University's IT team faced was that they were spending too much time and money taking care of their "pets." They needed to utilize immutable infrastructure that could be easily torn down once processes were complete. They were also looking for the ability to have true portability across their application lifecycle which included everything from development to production. Lastly they were worried about the adoption of new microservices applications. When considering them, Cornell University asked themselves over and over again"how would we manage so many little services?" and "how would we every keep them in sync?"


Solution

Currently Cornell uses several Docker tools to help them address these challenges. These tools include: Docker engine, Docker Trusted Registry, Support from Docker and Docker Swarm. With a commercial subscription from Docker, the university is able to utilize previous releases of the Docker engine, instead of having to update to the newest release of the Docker engine each quarter (a speed at which they could not maintain). This general stability of Docker via support provides peace of mind for their team, and allows them to simply pick up the phone in times of need and give the Docker Customer Success team a call. When their teams finds bugs within their application Docker helps them address them quickly. Docker Trusted Registry allows them to host their Docker images in a central location, while allowing multiple organizations to access them, securely. Since Docker Trusted Registry provides high availability via DTR replicas, they can also ensure that their dockerized applications are continuously available, even if an instance were to go down. The secure image storage with DTR allows the university to comply with their industry standards. The portability of Docker containers helps their workloads move across multiple environments, streamlining their application development, and deployment processes. In fact, the team is now able to deploy applications 13x faster than in the past by leveraging reusable architecture patterns and simplified build and deployment processes.


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  • I urge you to consider Docker when looking at your legacy and vendor applications. You will be surprised by the efficiencies you find. Also do yourself a favor and look at the Docker commercial product Docker Datacenter. We have benefited greatly from Docker’s commercial support and the relationships we have made within Docker the company.

    Shawn Bower Cloud Architect at Cornell University