Docker at 4: Milestones in Docker History

Docker is now 4 years old—and a lot has happened in that time. Here’s a recap of major milestones in Docker history, starting with Docker’s first public release in March 2013.

Technically, Docker is a bit more than 4 years old. Docker containers were developed internally at now-defunct dotCloud before 2013. But if you’re talking about milestones in Docker’s history as an open-source project, you’re looking at the following:

  • March 2013: Docker goes open source. The Docker code was released to the public as open-source software in March 2013. This made it possible for everyone—not just engineers inside dotCloud—to use Docker containers.
  • March 2014: Docker adopts libcontainer. Initially, Docker containers were powered by LXC. In March 2014, Docker switched to the libcontainer framework, which it built itself.
  • June 2014: Kubernetes debuts. As Docker grew in popularity, so did demand for orchestration tools that could help manage a Docker container cluster at scale. The introduction of Kubernetes in June 2014 reflected one effort to meet that demand.
  • November 2014: AWS ECS launches. Amazon’s EC2 Container Service, or ECS, is not the only cloud-based container-as-a-service offering out there. But it was the first one available from a major cloud hosting provider.
  • June 2015: The OCI launches. The Open Container Initiative, or OCI, promotes open standards related to containers—an important goal as the container ecosystem has grown large and complex so quickly.
  • January 2016: Docker acquires Unikernels. Docker Inc. acquired Unikernels—a small company working on unikernels technology—presumably because Docker sees unikernels as a technology that will become important once containers have gone mainstream.
  • June 2016: Docker “bakes in” Swarm. Docker made waves within the container ecosystem in late June 2016 by announcing that the Swarm orchestrator would be included in the Docker platform by default—although users could optionally replace it with an alternative orchestrator.
  • September 2016: Docker runs natively on Windows. In fall 2016, native Docker support for select versions of Microsoft Windows, which was first announced in 2014, became officially available.

Are there other milestones in Docker history that we missed? Feel free to let us know below.

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has covered technology and business news for nearly a decade, specializing in open source, containers, big data, networking and security. He is currently Senior Editor and DevOps Analyst with and

Christopher Tozzi has 254 posts and counting. See all posts by Christopher Tozzi

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