Docker Delivers Brand New Enterprise Edition

Docker on Wednesday released the latest version of its enterprise container service, one that adds sophisticated policy control and automation features while introducing support for IBM z Systems mainframes.

Docker Enterprise Edition can now orchestrate container clusters seamlessly across the IBM mainframes and servers running Windows or Linux, allowing consolidation of entire application portfolios spanning those heterogeneous environments.

The new release, now generally available, aims to make it easier for IT teams to modernize workloads at scale with container-based architectures, David Messina, Docker's senior vice president of marketing, told CRN.

[Related: Get On Board: Docker's Channel Maturity Unlocks The Container Tech Opportunity]

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"Ultimately, we're really driven by large enterprise customers who are really looking at Docker as a broad-based solution to cover their whole apps portfolio," Messina said.

The platform's value to partners, large and regional VARs and systems integrators, is "they can sell a whole bunch of services around our solution," Messina said. "It creates great opportunities for partners to sell integrated consulting services."

Introduced last March, is a subscription service brought to market by accredited Docker partners.

The platform, available in a few plans that offer different feature sets, delivers the San Francisco-based container-tech pioneer's open source tools—orchestration, machine management, security—with a quarterly release cadence and technology partnerships.

The ability to orchestrate container clusters across diverse architectures—Linux, Windows and z Systems—allows enterprise users to bring all their apps into a unified, integrated environment, Jenny Fong, Docker's director of product marketing, told CRN.

"We help IT buyers be able to centralize everything," Fong said. "All the containers can communicate with each other over the common overlay network."

Even individual applications can be heterogeneous, built from distributed containers spanning those environments.

The latest release also allows users to import from legacy environments a broader set of administrative policies, Fong said. A new capability even introduces role-based controls over access to specific computing nodes.

Governance has become more granular, with the ability to customize roles and control the levels of access various teams enjoy to containers, networks, and volumes, Fong said.

Another area of innovation in the latest release of Enterprise Edition is policy-based automation for accelerating the software supply chain. Customers can pre-define image policies and automate them with Enterprise Edition, according to Docker.

New features automate the promotion of container images through stages of the software-deployment process and allow container properties to be locked-down and rendered "immutable" in various stages, especially production.

Enterprise Edition maintains security throughout the pipeline.

Enterprise Edition can be purchased in Basic, Standard and Advanced plans. There's also a free Community Edition for do-it-yourselfers.

The Basic plan includes the core containerization engine, Swarm orchestration, tools like Compose and Machine for defining and managing deployments, and certified partner solutions. The Standard plan adds cluster management capabilities that are part of Docker's Datacenter offering and the Advanced option introduces image security scanning and vulnerability monitoring.