As promised, Docker Inc. is unveiling some orchestration software aimed at running applications that are distributed among many Docker containers.
The announcement, being made Thursday on the heels of DockerCon in Amsterdam, includes the formal introduction of Docker Hub Enterprise (DHE).
CEO Ben Golub had presaged the orchestration announcement Monday, when CoreOS introduced Rocket, part of a container structure that seemingly competes with Docker. Golub responded with a blog entry that included a preview of the orchestration announcement.
The central idea is that Docker Inc. wants to adapt containers to suit distributed applications, claiming that customers are pushing in this direction. (CoreOS, by contrast, would prefer to keep containers simple.)
The three new orchestration “services,” as the company calls them, are:
- Docker Machine, which gets Docker Engine running on a laptop or other machine quickly. “The challenge has been that although Docker Engine runs on any infrastructure, there has been a certain amount of manual configuration that’s included,” says David Messina, Docker’s vice president of marketing.
- Docker Swarm, a clustering service. Through APIs, Docker Swarm will extend to support outside products such as Mesos. Clustering is important for scale; it’s a way to make sure minimum performance requirements are met and a way to provide failover alternatives.
- Docker Compose, which lets you form applications by connecting Docker containers. In other words, this is the tool that lets you create a distributed application, the key being that it keeps track of dependencies among those containers.
The three pieces are modular, meaning you can use any of them but don’t have to use all of them.
Docker Hub Enterprise (DHE), meanwhile, is a customer-specific version of the Docker Hub, a repository for containers. Docker Inc. already announced DHE — it’s the result of the recent acquisition of Koality.
Today, the company is introducing DHE formally and announcing that it’s going to be available through IBM, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). All three will offer DHE in the cloud; IBM will also support an on-premises version. Early access to DHE will be available starting in February.
The reasoning behind DHE is that Docker Hub is a little too public for some customers. “They want to have those containers, those workflows, tied back to their own security and compliance models, back behind their firewall,” Mesina says.
Finally, regarding CoreOS’ concern that Docker is getting too burdened, Messina responds that Docker Inc. is making sure the format stays modular, so it can be kept slim if desired.
“Our millions of users have pushed us in this direction. We will always make it so things are optional,” Messina says.