Startup Docker Now Driving Industry Effort To Develop Standard For Containers

Docker, a San Francisco-based startup that's commercializing Linux containers, is now driving an industry effort to develop a standard for the technology.

The Open Container Project, unveiled Monday at the DockerCon conference in San Francisco, includes participation from Amazon Web Services, Cisco Systems, CoreOS, EMC, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, VMware and others, and is housed under the Linux Foundation.

Docker is contributing its base container format and runtime, called runC, to provide some of the framework for the Open Container Project, CEO Ben Golub said in a keynote at the event.

[Related: Docker Survey: A Look Into The Container Revolution]

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CoreOS, which has been developing a competing container standard called appc, also is joining the OCP. "This announcement means we are starting to see the concepts behind the App Container spec and Docker converge," CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi said in a blog post Monday.

Linux containers have been around for years, but they're now wildly popular with developers and admins because they speed the process of deploying apps on any type of infrastructure. Docker now claims that more than 4 million developers are using its technology.

"There's a movement toward breaking up large apps into smaller services. Apps can change dozens or hundreds of times daily, and they need to be portable," David Messina, vice president of marketing at Docker, told CRN in an interview.

To maintain its early lead in the market, Docker is adding new features and functionality aimed at enterprise users. Docker now offers software-defined networking for distributed apps that use multiple containers, using technology from its acquisition of SocketPlane in March.

Docker is letting networking and storage vendors build plug-ins for running their technology in its containers, with Cisco, Microsoft and VMware included in the first wave.

Docker also is adding multihost networking to its container orchestration tools. The startup is working with AWS, which offers its own EC2 Container Service, to improve management of containers running on its public cloud.