Docker Acquires U.K.-based Orchard Laboratories

The commercial entity behind the open source Docker project said Wednesday it acquired Orchard Laboratories, an early member of the Docker community that builds an orchestration tool for the Linux container platform.

The acquisition of the U.K.-based software vendor will extend capabilities to developers who want to use Docker to automate the deployment of Linux containers for hosting distributed applications in clouds, on-premise virtualized environments or bare-metal servers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Related: Docker Unveils Enterprise-Grade Container System

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’Making the developer experience with Docker awesome is a big priority with us. It starts with developers and this is the demonstration that we’re putting our money where our mouth is,’ Scott Johnston, Docker SVP of product, told CRN.

Orchard offers an orchestration tool called Fig that allows developers to compose and manage multi-container Docker deployments. The company also offers a hosted Docker service that will be wound down because of the acquisition, Johnston said.

’Orchard was an early member of our community, and orchestration solutions have been a big trend over the last year,’ Johnston said.

Customer demand for general purpose orchestration formats ’made us look hard at these guys and at the end we decided to acquire them,’ he told CRN.

Fig allows developers to define application containers and their dependencies in a configuration file that can automatically launch all components. The custom scripts describe applications in a simple, abstract configuration language, ’and you can let it go and they all start up and link together and work,’ Johnston said.

Johnston offered as an example a web service that might be comprised of a web server, a Java container, and a database all running in separate but interdependent Docker containers.

’Describing all that to a deployment platform like AWS -- which container to start and which container depends on another container -- is pretty complex if you do it by hand,’ he said.

Evan Hazlett is cofounder of Arcus, a system integrator based in Indianapolis that focuses on DevOps.

’We are really excited to hear the great news for the Orchard team. This is very exciting news for the Docker community,’ Hazlett told CRN. ’Our clients have had tremendous success with Docker and DockerHub. They are equally excited to hear the Orchard team joining Docker to bring the Fig product into the official Docker suite."

The Orchard acquisition comes on the heels of rapid growth and adoption of Docker over the last 16 months.

Linux containers offer a portable and lightweight alternative to more traditional virtualization technologies, and Docker has successfully forged integration partnerships with AWS, Red Hat, Google, Canonical, IBM, OpenStack, Rackspace and Cloud Foundry.