Why These Engineers Swear by Docker

Built In Colorado spoke with two engineers to learn how Docker fits their tech stack and how it’s improved their team.
Written by Brendan Meyer
June 8, 2021Updated: June 9, 2021

First there was the wheel. Then there was sliced bread. Now, there’s Docker.

OK, that’s an extreme comparison, but Docker has exploded in popularity among engineers for its ability to streamline development processes and help teams deploy code more quickly, and like the other two examples, it really has made life easier, especially for engineers.

For example, years ago at Zen Planner, developers were in charge of setting up their own environments, a process that Josh Tischer, an SRE manager, estimated would take a seasoned veteran on a new machine several days to build and run any branch locally.

“Moving to Docker reduced that time for us to an hour or maybe two,” Tischer said.

At SumUp, Docker has similarly created consistency and accessibility no matter what development environment engineers are making changes on.

“A developer can make changes on a MacBook, and just as easily make changes on a Windows computer,” Austin Tindle, a senior engineering manager at SumUp, said. “Docker simply abstracts away the irrelevant details of whatever software you’re running. That means we don’t have to think about those problems, we can just focus on the work.”

To learn more about why Docker has made life easier for these engineers, we caught up with them to learn how Docker fits their tech stack, what their favorite aspects of it are and how it’s improved the team.

 

Austin Tindle
Senior Engineer Manager

What they do:

SumUp is a Boulder company that puts the power of card processing in your pocket and allows any business to accept debit, credit and contactless card payments.

 

How does Docker fit into your tech stack and how do you leverage it in your work?

As a global company, SumUp sees Docker as a fundamental platform because it creates consistency and accessibility no matter what development environment we’re making changes on; a developer on a MacBook can just as easily make changes on a Windows computer. Docker simply abstracts away the irrelevant details of whatever software you’re running. That means we don’t have to think about those problems, we can just focus on the work.

 

What is your favorite thing about Docker?

Given that our entire SumUp infrastructure is Kubernetes, Docker plays a big role in how we approach our development projects. It allows us to break up our platform to make quick and focused changes only to those relevant pieces of the SumUp ecosystem. Additionally, Docker lets us be really focused on specific domains so that if we need to solve a new problem, Docker allows us to just focus on those specific services.

Docker isn’t U.S.-specific, so it’s able to standardize whatever we’re working on, no matter where the team members are based.’’

 

Whats the biggest benefit or improvement your team has seen since adding Docker to your tech stack?

The fact that we don’t have to worry (or even think about) our development environments is the biggest benefit. Docker isn’t U.S.-specific, so it’s able to standardize whatever we’re working on, no matter where the team members are based. Before Docker, it would have taken weeks to onboard one new engineer to a new service ⁠— and given that we have a services-oriented architecture, if you’re a developer working on five different services, you would have spent weeks just getting up to speed. That’s part of what makes Docker such a game-changer for us.

 

What they do:

Zen Planner is a Highlands Ranch company that helps make fitness businesses successful by providing industry software, websites, digital marketing and customer service.

 

How does Docker fit into your tech stack and how do you leverage it in your work?

Containers help us solve so many issues; we use them throughout our full-stack software development lifecycle. We take full advantage of Docker's benefits, especially in regards to process isolation and repeatability. Docker helps us build and manage our code to be testable and repeatable. We use it for DevOps tools and utilities to help developers stand up their local environments and make “it works on my machine” work on all machines.

 

What is your favorite thing about Docker?

In the past, it was incredibly frustrating to try and use a code tool and have to reconfigure your environment for it to work correctly — think Ruby and Python versions differing between code tools/repositories. It would take hours to debug, reconfigure and mess with dependencies manually. I refer to it as the “dark times.” Now with Docker, we have isolation and repeatability so we can run tools, build them near, build them far, build them anywhere, and it’s always the same.

The ultimate outcome of using Docker is the big improvements in how we spend our time and how much more effective it is with repeatability.’’

 

Whats the biggest benefit or improvement your team has seen since adding Docker to your tech stack?

Once upon a time, our developers would be in charge of setting up their own environment and it would take even a seasoned veteran on a new machine several days for them to be able to build and run any branch locally. Moving to Docker reduced that time for us to an hour or maybe two. The ultimate outcome of using Docker is the big improvements in how we spend our time and how much more effective it is with repeatability. No one enjoys fighting environment and configuration issues, which is why DevOps and GitOps are growing practices in the industry. Automating painful tasks and reducing toil are paramount to improving speed to market and making a business grow to be successful.

 

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