Docker Allies with Canonical on Ubuntu Support

Docker and Canonical have formed an alliance under which the Docker CS Container Engine will be commercially supported by both vendors.

While Docker containers have been widely deployed on Ubuntu for some time, a formal relationship between the two companies will make it a lot simpler for IT operations teams to resolve support issues, says David Messina, senior vice president of Marketing for Docker Inc.

Under terms of a broad reseller agreement, Docker Inc. will publish and maintain releases of Docker as Snap packages that Canonical uses to enable a single set of binaries to be deployed on any implementation of Ubuntu. Canonical will provide Level 1 and Level 2 technical support for CS Docker Engine, while Docker Inc will provide Level 3 support. Canonical also will ensure global availability of secure Ubuntu images on Docker Hub.

Messina says this approach will make it simpler for IT operations to meet their service level agreements (SLAs) by simplifying the process through which they access IT support from both vendors.

For Docker Inc. the alliance with Canonical is the latest in a series of initiative to distributed a common instance of the Docker Container Engine. In addition to an alliance with Microsoft, Docker Inc. also has reseller agreements in place with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) as well as Alibaba, an e-commerce company that rivals Amazon in terms of making a public cloud computing platform available as a service.

Those agreements are significant, says Messina, because they provide a common Docker Engine vehicle through which IT operations teams can manage multiple instances of Docker via the Docker Datacenter platform.

For its part, Canonical just released a 16.10 update of Ubuntu that, among other things, added support for a Canonical Distribution of Kubernetes capable of managing multiple container formats. That would suggest that as far as container orchestration is concerned, Canonical favors a more heterogeneous approach.

Obviously, most vendors are pursuing a multipronged strategy when it comes to containers. Just about all of them support Docker containers as the dominant format. But after that, there is a lot of contention regarding the best way to go about managing containers, as frameworks favored by Docker Inc. square off against proponents of rival Kubernetes and Mesos frameworks. It’s more than probable that many IT organizations will wind up implementing multiple container orchestration frameworks rather than trying to immediately standardize on one versus another. But over time, the inclination to standardize usually comes to the fore.

In the meantime, it’s apparent that the number and types of workloads that containers are being used run is expanding rapidly. That means that regardless of the management platform chosen, one thing that is for certain: Soon there will be a lot more containers to manage inside and out of production environments than initially fathomed, which makes access to support services from vendor such as Docker Inc. and Canonical that much more critically important.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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