Docker delivers a full data center solution but there is a catch

Docker, home of the eponymously named container solution, is today announcing a complete data center solution. But at what price?

Docker delivers a full data center solution
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Docker has had a meteoric rise. Formed on the back of a failed platform initiative, Docker has grown to have incredible interest and buy-in from the industry - vendors and customers alike. It has also raised a huge amount of capital and gained a valuation which is in the stratosphere.

This valuation, and a need to justify it through revenue sees Docker today announce the Docker Datacenter "Container as a Service" (CaaS), service. Essentially, CaaS is an integrated platform that covers the entire lifecycle of container-based application development and management.

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DDC is comprised of Docker Universal Control Plane (which is also generally available today), Docker Trusted Registry and embedded support for Docker Engine. Docker Datacenter is an integrated suite that combines both commercial software (Universal Control Plane and Trusted Registry), as well as embedded open source Docker projects (Engine, Swarm, Content Trust, Networking). The value proposition is that customers are buying tested and certified integrations with enterprise-level support to deliver full interoperability.

But there is a catch.

Docker (the movement) was built upon openness and interoperability. Indeed, a huge ecosystem of third-party products has been built which all integrate cleanly with Docker. With this move, Docker once again creates a playing field that is anything but level. It has long talked about a "batteries included but swappable" approach that sees the core Docker components able to be swapped out for third-party products, but packaging all the tools up in such a tight way, and so strongly messaging the "enterprise ready" aspects does nothing to help out the ecosystem.

Of course, Docker has no real option if it wants to justify its existence. And that is no easy task for a number of reasons:

  • First, to gain initial momentum, Docker needed to build a strong ecosystem. These commercialization moves challenge that ecosystem.
  • Second, Docker is feeling the pinch from alternative container systems (Rocket from CoreOS springs to mind).
  • Third, even newer approaches to delivering modern application-centric infrastructure such as Kubernetes are increasingly gaining traction.

As I said, Docker had no option and these sort of moves were always in the cards. But that doesn't make this pill any less bitter to swallow.

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