The container craze will turn four next year. Yes, Linux containers have been around longer than that, but the rise of Docker—first released to the public on March 20, 2013—has sparked the surge of interest we’re riding right now.
It’s a fascinating adolescent phase, as containers not only roll into production but also get acclimated to enterprise needs and bigger-money investors. Here’s a glance at the major themes that surrounded containers in 2016 and are likely to continue into 2017.
Some players are rushing to crown Kubernetes as the de facto standard for container orchestration. Others are just getting started with Kubernetes alternatives.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), notably, started up its own set of open source projects called Blox. Docker Inc. integrated its Swarm container into the Docker platform in June. Meanwhile, Mesosphere and relative newcomer Kontena are continuing to offer their versions of container orchestration.
- Containers & Serverless Functions Have Their Day on AWS
- Kontena Goes ‘1.0’ With Its Kubernetes Alternative for Containers
- Kubernetes Founders Create a New Container Company
- Mirantis Pegs OpenStack’s Future to Kubernetes
- Docker Orchestration Is the Focus of Docker 1.12
Statefulness: Serving the enterprise
ClusterHQ pointed out this one when it shut down last week. The startup had pinned its hope on making it practical to run stateful applications in containers—and then watched as the rest of the industry attacked the same problem.
State matters, because most enterprises’ applications depend on it. The ability to preserve state would be key in converting more enterprises to the container cause.
- ClusterHQ, Stateful Container Startup, Is ‘Clusterf***ed’
- Mesosphere Declares ‘Container 2.0,’ the Stateful Era
- Docker Acquires Infinit to Support Stateful Apps
- CoreOS Creates ‘Operators’ for Stateful Apps in Containers
- Portworx Aims Container Storage at Enterprise Databases
Early on, containers were flagged as possible security risks, because many containers can share one OS kernel. On the other hand, containers allow for the division of services into microservices—modular pieces that handle a narrow range of tasks, which could make them harder to exploit.
Those questions, combined with the urgency surrounding network security these days, make container security a fertile ground for startups.
- Aporeto Thinks Container Security Can Really Be This Simple
- Aqua Scores $9M Series A Led by Microsoft
- Twistlock Raises $10M for Container Security
- A Couple of Squares Help Advance Docker Security
The Old Guard Gets Involved
VMware has its own spin on containers with Project Photon. Oracle is promising to add Oracle Container Service to its public cloud, including Oracle-devised networking and orchestration for containers. And Cisco has acquired its way into containers.
Companies that do things the “old way” aren’t ignoring containers. Maybe they’ll fall in line with Docker; maybe they’ll co-opt containers and take them in a different direction.
- Here’s What’s Inside Oracle’s AWS-Killing Bare Metal Cloud
- VMware Reminds Us It’s Still Working With Containers
- Cisco Plunges Into Containers, Acquiring ContainerX
Docker continues to grow, both organically and through small acquisitions such as Socketplane and the aforementioned Infinit.
But what might be more noteworthy is Docker’s increasing involvement in bigger circles. A deal with Microsoft brought Docker-based containers to Windows, and those containers will be supported on AWS as well. Look for Docker’s universe to continue expanding in 2017.
- AWS Intros Windows Container Support in Beta
- Microsoft Ignite Kicks Off With Docker, Azure Stack & AI
- Sources: Microsoft Tried To Buy Docker for $4B
Money Keeps Flowing
As containers grow up, so will the associated companies. Here are a couple of the larger deals in the sector this past year; expect more of the same in 2017.