Mirantis Releases First Docker Enterprise Version Built Under Its Roof

Docker Enterprise 3.1 upgrades the ability to orchestrate Windows containers with Kubernetes and adds GPU integrations to empower AI developers.


Mirantis on Thursday released the first version of Docker Enterprise developed under its roof, a major milestone for the open cloud software company that acquired the enterprise business of the pioneering container-tech startup.

Docker Enterprise 3.1 adds significant new functionality to the Kubernetes platform, especially as far as its ability to support Windows workloads.

But beyond functionality, the latest release makes a statement to the roughly 750 customers who adopted the platform when still part of Docker—and the larger, extremely competitive Kubernetes market, Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel told CRN.

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[Related: Kubernetes Now Supports Windows Containers In Production]

“It’s important to send a signal to the Docker Enterprise customer base that they can really rely on us and some great and exciting things will happen,” Ionel said.

Docker Enterprise 3.1 incorporates Kubernetes 1.17, upgrades SLAs and customer support options, and adds GPU orchestration to empower AI developers.

But the big selling point is “the most-compelling, seamless support for Windows with Kubernetes” that exits in the market, Ionel said.

The platform uniquely enables Windows-based enterprises to use Kubernetes to orchestrate containerized workflows, he said, and integrate with clusters running Linux, with seamless networking between the Kubernetes pods.

At the same time, “Windows is only one differentiator,” Mirantis’ CEO told CRN.

“We believe we deliver the best possible experience for application owners running workloads anywhere—public cloud and private and on the edge,” Ionel said. “Extremely good coverage for Windows doubles-down on this idea of write once and run your workloads anywhere.”

Before the acquisition, Docker had focused on easing the experience for operators and developers with an ‘as-a-service’ delivery model. That same product team, now integrated with Mirantis staff, continues driving forward that strategy.

The new SLA offered with 3.1 is one large customers running mission-critical containerized workloads, like Visa and Nationwide, have been asking for, Ionel said.

“A high-level SLA is Mirantis’ heritage,” he told CRN. High availability is partly the reason Mirantis is trusted to run the OpenStack platform supporting AT&T’s 5G network.

The latest Docker Enterprise release also supports more advanced workflows, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, by natively integrating with Nvidia GPUs.

After Mirantis bought Docker’s enterprise business last November, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company, which made a name for itself in the OpenStack world before branching into the container market, immediately merged the product development teams that ultimately built 3.1.

The companies unified their roadmaps a month later, and by the end of last month had finalized integration of all customer support, marketing and channel operations.

Mirantis is now seeing the fruits of that deal—bookings grew 20 percent from the previous quarter, and revenue by 10 percent, Ionel said.

Mirantis’ OpenStack business remains solid, with impressive customers like AT&T and web-scale Software-as-a-Service providers still building on the company’s OpenStack infrastructure. OpenStack has taken its lumps in the market, but for those cloud-native companies operating large on-prem data centers, it remains a powerful technology, Ionel said.

Even with its early OpenStack focus, Mirantis also was quick to jump into containers, offering Kubernetes solutions well before the Docker deal. Containers are now the company’s fastest growing business and account for two-thirds of its revenue, Ionel said.

Mirantis is looking to leverage Docker Enterprise to become a significant force in the Kubernetes arena, taking on powerhouses like IBM-Red Hat and VMware, Ionel said.

The company believes its lack of a legacy technology stack is a strong differentiator.

“We have a very credible play there as an alternative for someone who doesn’t want either VMware or IBM and wants something more cloud-native,” Ionel said.

Docker had a strong channel focus, and partners will be critical as Mirantis competes with those industry giants. Roughly 40 percent of Mirantis’ container business goes through partners, including some of its largest recent deals, Ionel added.

The market leadership of Docker’s Kubernetes platform combined with Mirantis’ reputation for customer care and technical expertise makes the Docker Enterprise 3.1 release a compelling fit for supporting customers in their app modernization journeys, said Glen Tindal, solutions business unit leader at Capstone, a Docker partner based in Omaha, Neb.

“Adding Windows Server support with Kubernetes gives Capstone IT's customers greater business flexibility and choice based on their use cases,” Tindal told CRN.