Following months of testing, Docker Inc. officially updated its flagship Enterprise Edition (EE) platform with support for Kubernetes. That support now has Kubernetes running alongside Docker Inc.’s Swarm as container orchestration platforms within EE.
David Messina, chief marketing officer at Docker Inc., said the company began private beta testing of the 2.0 platform in December. It moved to public trials early this year.
“Since then, we have been optimizing the features,” Messina said. “This allowed us to work with customers on adding features.”
The platform includes a number of updates, though the most prominent is the native integration of Kubernetes. This includes a full-featured and Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) conforming Kubernetes stack with access to all core components, native APIs, and command line interfaces.
Messina claims that with the update its EE platform is the only one that can run both Swarm and Kubernetes in the same cluster.
“With Kubernetes support this allows an enterprise to operationalize and scale their container deployments,” he said. “We see this as a clear differentiator. Other platforms have not helped with this ability to operationalize. They might have a distributor model, but they don’t abstract to a level that allows an operations team to get up and running.”
Messina noted that the EE platform also eases the integration of Kubernetes into an organization as it continues to rely on the same interface used for Swarm. This removes the need for new employees with specific skills.
Banjot Chanana, senior director of product management at Docker Inc., explained that customers can dynamically manage their use of Kubernetes or Swarm within EE. This includes the ability to scale use of either platform within a running environment without having to alter code.
“This abstracts the complexity of ‘Do I have to make sure I am running in Kubernetes or Swarm format,’” Chanana said. “You just deploy and the operator gets to decide at runtime how many runtimes and capacity is needed from each.”
Docker EE 2.0 also includes a trusted registry for image caching and mirroring. This allows organizations to share images to build containers across development teams while maintaining security and availability.
“We have leveraged what we did with Swarm,” Chanana said. “We stand all of that up as part of EE, and there is not a ton of extra work because all of the work we did is as a pluggable model in EE.”
Swarm was cited as the “gold standard” in terms of container orchestration security by a presenter at last year’s Black Hat USA event.
Move Toward Kubernetes
Docker Inc. last October capitulated to customer demand by announcing plans to add native Kubernetes support alongside Swarm inside of its EE framework. Docker EE had previously allowed customers to use Kubernetes as their container orchestrator, but it was not part of the embedded code.
Chanana at that time said the move was made to satisfy customer requests.
“This is really about having to choose an orchestrator off the table,” Chanana said. “The container space has been evolving for some time and changing a lot over the past few years. For enterprises that need the value of Kubernetes or just said they wanted the opportunity to choose and not be tied to a specific vendor, this makes sense.”
Docker Inc. was foundational in the development of the current container ecosystem. The firm’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 a year ago as a company-supported platform targeted at organizations looking to offer container-based applications.
Recent Management Upheaval
The latest EE update also comes on the heels of Docker Inc.’s CTO and Co-Founder Solomon Hykes recently leaving the company. In a blog post, the 34-year-old Hykes said he was leaving his CTO position and involvement in the company’s day-to-day operations. He will maintain a position on the company’s board of directors.
Hykes explained that Docker Inc.’s current operations requires a CTO with “decades of experience shipping and supporting software for the largest corporations in the world.”
Soon after the launch of Docker EE, Docker Inc. replaced long-time CEO Ben Golub with industry veteran Steve Singh. That move was considered instrumental to the company positioning itself to better compete in the container and cloud space.
The CEO change followed reports of a possible $4 billion acquisition attempt by Microsoft. That deal obviously did not happen, but Docker Inc. last year did raise funds that valued the company at around $1.3 billion.