Docker Acquires Tutum, A Platform For Deploying Its Containers

Docker, the company that sparked the current container revolution and guides its eponymous open-source project, purchased Tutum Wednesday, one of the earliest members of its rapidly growing ecosystem.

Tutum offers a popular platform for deploying and orchestrating Docker containers, managing the "last mile" that can complicate and slow the process of sending applications into production environments, said Scott Johnston, Docker's senior vice president of product.

Financial details of the deal weren't disclosed. Tutum's 11 employees, currently based in New York and Madrid, will be joining Docker in its San Francisco offices, Johnston told CRN.

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

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Tutum's founders discovered Docker months after it launched in March 2013 and almost immediately began building a complementary solution.

Borja Burgos, Tutum's CEO and co-founder, told CRN that he and partner Fernando Mayo, at the time an employee of Hewlett-Packard, were familiar with the challenges of running applications in diverse infrastructure environments.

"We really saw in Docker a revolution in how applications get deployed," Burgos told CRN.

The two got to work building a service to manage and automate the process of sending containers to run on any type of infrastructure, he said.

Tutum is one of only five ecosystem partners Docker has acquired since its founding.

Bringing the company under its own roof made sense, however, because Tutum's small team has developed the only pre-packaged solution to a common challenge faced by container adopters, Johnston told CRN.

Docker was hearing from users that they would download the Docker code, build their containers, then struggle with a sometimes painstaking process of manually deploying them into production environments and scaling them once there, Johnston said.

"At some point after the apps were built and tested and ready [to] go, they needed to get from desktops or local registries to the data center or the cloud," Johnston said.

To complete that "last mile," Johntson said, developers would typically cobble together custom solutions, from scripts to command-line instructions to manual processes. It was slow, rigid, and prone to break.

Tutum's software speeds those tasks by orders of magnitude, allowing users to provision servers -- local or in the cloud -- and cluster them into a unified piece of virtual infrastructure, then deploy applications onto those clusters and continue to manage and monitor their health.

Tutum, taking apps from the Docker registry or a container image to a managed production workload, completes the end-to-end workflow, Johnston said.

Docker was also drawn to the culture at Tutum, Johnston said, noticing how quickly the team there responded to customers, and the contributions it made to the source code for the Docker project as a whole, including repositories on Docker Hub that have become some of the most popular images.