Docker Unveils Enterprise-Grade Container System


The Docker project has reached a major milestone with the release of the first version of the Linux container platform to support enterprise-grade deployments, one that developers intend to distribute through a growing channel of system integrators.  

Docker 1.0 was unveiled Monday in San Francisco at the first-ever DockerCon, attended by hundreds of partners who contributed to the development of the open-source platform that creates and manages software containers to run workloads. Docker enables developers and system administrators to build, ship and run distributed applications across different types of on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure.

Docker Inc., the organization behind the project, said the latest version meets the quality and compatibility standards necessary for Enterprise deployment. Docker 1.0 comes 15 months on the heels of the platform’s initial release.

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In addition to the more sturdy Docker engine, the developers unveiled Docker Hub, a cloud-based platform through which users can manage and share applications, enabling further collaborations across the platform.

Roger Egan, Docker’s senior vice president, Sales and Channels, told CRN that the project has reached the point where it is now ready to focus on developing a network of strategic partners for delivery of enterprise support services and training programs.

Egan, formerly of IBM and Red Hat, told CRN, “I haven’t seen a technology that’s as popular with partners across an ecosystem as this one.” That popularity extends from system integrators to cloud service providers like Amazon, Google, Rackspace and IBM Softlayer,” Egan said.

“Regional systems integrators have a tremendous opportunity to go to customers and talk about how they think about an application-centric infrastructure. There are huge technical benefits around density, around performance, and ultimately around portability and choice,” Egan told CRN.

That’s what Evan Hazlett and Casey Watson, cofounders of Arcus, have been doing.

Arcus is a system integrator in Indianapolis focused on DevOps. Hazlett and Watson got involved with the Docker project “because of the things we kept hearing about optimization, and doing more with less,” Hazlett told CRN.

“We saw the impact we could have with less resources,” he said.

Arcus’ first Docker customer had a sprawling system architecture, with “single servers doing single things” and sparse utilizations, Hazlett said.

Implementing Docker to run the company’s applications inside containers utilizing the same physical servers immediately reduced that company’s infrastructure requirement by 70 percent, which “equates to cost savings and to management savings,” Hazlett said.

Scott Johnston, Docker’s senior vice president of Product, told CRN that the project has so far partnered with 10 system integrators like Arcus. Those companies are “training as fast as they can and inviting more to join the movement,” Johnston said.

In the age of short-lived applications driven by the cloud and microservices, Docker offers access to virtualized environments that achieve unprecedented portability.

“It can run just as easily on your laptop as on AWS or on a virtual machine in a data center,” Johnston told CRN.

That extreme portability frees IT organizations from worrying about vendor lock-in, and allows business decisions to dictate the infrastructure on which enterprises build, ship and run deployments.

Docker comes from a strain of technology called OS virtualization in which the system virtualizes the operating system, but not the entire stack, Johnston explained. Applications share their virtualized OS kernel with those running in other containers.

“The idea has been around for a while, but it’s really Docker that packaged it in a way that made it easy to use and deploy and made it portable as well,” Johnson said.

The success of the technology will depend on its development of a channel.

"We need systems integration partners who can take that platform to customers and build solutions for customers," Johnston told CRN.

"We believe the best way to grow the Docker ecosystem is through a network of partners," he said.

PUBLISHED JUNE 10, 2014