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Docker Upgrades Kubernetes Support Across Clouds And Operating Systems

The container pioneer introduced federated management for Kubernetes clusters spanning on-prem and managed cloud services from hyper-scale providers, and greater interoperability with Windows containers

Looking to differentiate its enterprise container management platform in an increasingly competitive market, Docker on Wednesday unveiled upgrades enhancing Kubernetes functionality across cloud providers and operating systems.

Federated Application Management delivers a single view across several clouds, and one-click container migration between them. The new Docker Enterprise Edition control plane centralizes management across private deployments and three of the most-prominent hosted Kubernetes services, Microsoft Azure AKS, Amazon EKS, and Google GKE.

"Wherever you have your container platform, you can see applications," Docker's Banjot Chanana, head of product management, told CRN.

[Related: Docker Releases Enterprise Edition 2.0]

The federated interface "makes it possible for development teams not to need to worry about where applications are deployed and underlying infrastructure," Chanana said.

Other major upgrades to Enterprise Edition include greater interoperability with Windows-based container deployments, giving customers more choice of their application environments.

Docker has been working with Microsoft on container development since 2014. Last August, that effort yielded support of Docker Swarm clusters, the company's native orchestration platform, spanning Linux and Windows environments.

In the latest release, Docker customers can deploy Kubernetes clusters that incorporate both Linux and Windows containers. Docker sees that capability as an important differentiator in the ultra-competitive container management market.

Both container types "can run side-by-side in the same Kubernetes cluster, managed the same way, and consistently applied in their operations," Chanana said.

The expanded Windows capabilities will differentiate EE from competitors, especially Red Hat, which has posed a significant challenge to Docker with its OpenShift platform.

"Red Hat is saying containers are Linux and Linux is containers and that certainly has proven not to be true," Chanana said.

"Microsoft has shown really well containers can be Windows as well. And we strongly believe that," he said, noting Docker has many large customers running Windows containers at scale.

Docker also introduced a new graphical interface for Docker Desktop, a client-side container environment that's often an onramp for developers to working with the technology.

More than a million users have started working with Docker Desktop in the last year, he said.

"Adding the GUI that allows them to have a guided flow into the creation of their first containerized application."

Developers can easily bring their code, choose their stack, and generate the container artifacts for the operations team to deploy into production.

"This allows developers that have never known containers, never used them before and are not trained in them, to participate in development processes that are using containers," Chanana said.

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