SAN FRANCISCO – Docker Inc. has provided a central building block of the burgeoning container ecosystem, but now it wants to help enterprises better manage that ecosystem in a multi-cloud environment.
The company has expanded its flagship Enterprise Edition (EE) platform with the ability to manage Kubernetes-orchestrated deployments across different cloud providers. This includes Kubernetes-based deployments on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
Jenny Fong, director of product marketing at Docker Inc., explained that the move builds on the Docker EE 2.0 update that went commercial in April. That update most famously added support for Kubernetes natively inside the platform alongside Docker Inc.’s Swarm container orchestration platform.
The new expanded management capabilities use an application management plane that can work across different cloud providers and in on-premises locations. It allows an enterprise to take advantage of a multi-cloud deployment strategy for containers that can be managed through a single interface.
That single point of control can accelerate the onboarding of applications and allow for automation of application lifecycle policies. That last benefit includes the implementation of security policies across multi-cloud deployments.
Fong noted that while the market’s major cloud providers have now moved to integrate Kubernetes as an orchestration option to help with portability, management is still siloed.
“Containers are portable, but management across platforms is not portable,” Fong said. “Companies will have different teams in each of these environments. They have to deal with different security policies. This is not the most efficient utilization due to visibility issues.”
The expanded management capabilities for EE are set for a beta launch during the second half of this year.
Docker Inc. is also adding the ability to deploy and manage Windows Server-based applications using both Kubernetes and Swarm. Those deployments can use the two orchestrators interchangeably in the same cluster.
David Messina, chief marketing officer at Docker Inc., explained that the main benefit of this update is to help enterprises migrate legacy workloads running as Windows containers into a more modern environment. He noted this is important because “a majority of workloads still sit on Windows.”
“We can support Kubernetes services while still bringing value with our management capabilities,” Messina said. “A platform that can manage both easily and provide choice is what our customers are asking for. They want that flexibility.”
Docker Inc.’s support for Kubernetes on Windows Server will be available in EE during the second half of this year.
Docker Inc. has a history with Windows containers. It initiated joint research and development with Microsoft in late 2014; added its Docker Engine to the Windows Server platform in 2016; and last August added the ability to support mixed Windows and Linux container clusters. Microsoft has also been long-rumored to be looking at possibly acquiring Docker Inc.
Docker Inc.’s container platform, which is known as simply Docker, remains the basis for many container deployments today. However, the money-making aspect of its business is centered on its EE framework. Docker EE was launched just over a year ago as a company-supported platform targeted at organizations looking to offer container-based applications. A recent Cowen and Company report stated that the platform has attracted more than 500 paying customers.
“Among containerization platforms, Docker Enterprise Edition offers flexibility to deploy across a range of clouds and using different underlying technologies,” the Cowen and Company report noted. “We believe that this approach is a big draw for organizations that are keen to avoid lock-in.”