How O’Reilly Media Uses Containers – An Office Hours Hangout Recap

On this week’s Office Hours Hangout we’re talking Containers again, this time with our very special guest, O’Reilly Media CTO Andrew Odewahn. O’Reilly is doing some great things with containers, and were one of the earliest consumers of Carina, our Containers as a Service product now in public beta. We also brought in Kyle Kelley, a developer at Rackspace who’s been working with O’Reilly on several very interesting interactive publications utilizing containers; and Jason Barnhill, the Product Marketing Manager for Carina.

I’ve highlighted a few moments of our conversation with Andrew, Kyle and Jason about O’Reilly Media, containers, Carina, and how they’re using all of this technology to improve their educational platforms.  You can check them out below, with direct links to the relevant point in our conversation. Additionally, you can view the entire show, or listen to an audio-only podcast version.


Faster Time-To-Market with Containers

One of first moments of our conversation centered around how and why O’Reilly is using containers in conjunction with Jupyter. By using containers to spin up the same standard environment for each new user, O’Reilly achieves a faster time-to-market with each new tutorial. By getting their tutorials out the door faster, they are also able to create tutorials in many more technologies than they otherwise would be able to.

Expanding the Range of Educational Content

Additionally, Andrew stated that containers have allowed O’Reilly to expand the different types of content they can produce – specifically interactive content. Containers allow everyone to start on the same page, with the technology already configured. This allows the student to jump in and start learning, rather than spending the first few hours attempting to setup the lab environment.

“I would like the installation instructions to be the last chapter, and not the first…. The first 5-10 minutes that you have to get somebody’s attention on a tool; I think that’s the golden few minutes that you have to reach them. That’s where I see a lot of the advantage of Jupyter and Docker.” – Andrew Odewahn

Carina Changed Nothing – And That’s a Good Thing

O’Reilly had been using Docker and Jupyter for quite some time with these interactive learning posts, so I was caught off guard when Andrew said that switching from running their own Docker clusters to using Carina as a service changed nothing in their workflow. Carina does remove all of the need to host their own docker servers, and the need to keep everything up-to-date on those servers – something they previously had to do. Now they focus only on building their Docker images to help their customers learn new technology.

A few Additional Highlights

Final Thoughts

Hearing directly from our customers is one of my favorite aspects of hosting these webcasts. It was wonderful to hear from Andrew about how our technology has helped them to reach their customers in new and exciting ways. I definitely recommend checking out the entire video. Thanks for watching. Be sure to check out our show every week — we recently highlighted some great new features and services from Rackspace, speaking with the teams behind Fanatical Support for AWS, and Rackspace Managed Security, along with a live broadcast from New Relic’s {FutureStack} conference. Check us out each week (except Thanksgiving) live at 1 p.m. Central; our on-demand audio podcasts are available via iTunes, or your favorite podcasting app.

Alan is a former Racker, who also helped create the Stevie Award winning onboarding program for cloud collaboration suite Central Desktop, working directly with companies and organizations like, Sesame Workshop, and IEEE. When he's not helping customers learn how to build awesome things in the cloud, he can be found performing improv comedy with ComedySportz San Antonio, or volunteering with the Alamo Beard Club.


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