Docker took the wraps off a new container management solution this week, promising easier deployment and lifecycle administration for the enterprise as it seeks to push advanced services and microservices to the cloud.
The Docker Datacenter (DDC) integrates a number of Docker modules into the Universal Control Plane management console to provide a turnkey, self-service solution for deploying end-to-end container environments, says CRN’s Joseph Tsidulko. The idea is to give dev/ops and other teams the ability to build their own centralized container frameworks that can then enable “Dockerized” applications to scale into the cloud. By providing Container as a Service (CaaS) functionality within the data center, organizations will be able to self-provision full application environments at record pace and then just as easily decommission them as needs change. At the moment, the system is available only as an on-premises solution, although a cloud-hosted version is expected soon.
DDC does not bring any new capabilities to the table, says The VAR Guy’s Christopher Tozzi. It merely encapsulates existing products within an integrated solution. So essentially it streamlines what enterprises have been building on their own, enabling them to push containers into production environments quickly and without the kind of specialized knowledge needed to create container environments from scratch. If anything, the platform will open new markets of smaller and mid-sized enterprises to container-based app development and provisioning, accelerating the transition from static hardware-based infrastructure to fully containerized software abstractions.
The heart of the system is the Docker Trusted Registry, says the Register’s Chris Williams. This is the piece that lets admins manage and store the Docker images that are then used to build, test and deploy applications. By using images that are created by trusted developers, cryptographically stored and then vetted by the registry, the enterprise is able to scale containerized environments across the data center and into the cloud without having to run and re-run a bevy of checks and security protocols for each deployment. This is particularly crucial for organizations wading into microservices, as it enables seamless, automated integration of these various pieces of code to create new applications and services practically on the fly.
But while DDC utilizes the same open APIs and interchangeable components of earlier Docker releases, it also reserves most of the pre-integration for the commercial versions of the company’s software, according to InfoWorld’s Serdar Yegulalp. This means it will be easier to deploy and configure but may not provide the kind of support that many in the open source community were hoping for from the leader of the burgeoning container movement. A key bone of contention is likely to be the Swarm orchestration framework, which can be swapped out fairly easily for another platform like Kubernetes on traditional Docker deployments, but can only be removed by Docker itself in the DDC version.
Striking a balance between the broad flexibility of open systems and the ease-of-use found in most integrated products has been part of the enterprise game for decades, so it should come as no surprise that it should reappear on the container level. For companies that simply want to get the work done, an integrated solution will usually suffice, while those who have the time and resources to experiment will likely prefer a more open, modular approach.
None of this should diminish the impact that containers are about to have on the data environment, however. By deploying services across distributed architectures quickly and with strikingly low resource consumption, organizations should have little trouble putting even Big Data and IoT projects into production on time and on budget.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.