Docker Inc. Federates Application Management

Docker Inc. at the DockerCon 2018 conference today announced it has added federated application management capabilities to Docker Enterprise Edition (EE), a container-as-a-service (CaaS) environment for building and managing applications that can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud.

In addition, Docker Inc. has updated Docker Desktop to simplify building containerized applications using templates in place of Docker commands or needing to write Dockerfiles and Compose files from scratch.

Finally, the company announced support for Kubernetes on the Windows edition of Docker EE in the second half of 2018. Support for Kubernetes running on Linux is already provided.

Banjot Chanana, senior director of product management for Docker Inc., says by adding federated application management capabilities IT organizations now will be able to manage applications via a single pane of glass regardless of where they are deployed, including every cloud service based on Kubernetes clusters.

That capability is crucial in a multicloud world where organizations are now trying to manage complex software supply chains, notes Chanana. The federated application management capabilities embedded into Docker EE provides a consistent mechanism for managing applications that otherwise would be completely different on each cloud, says Chanana. Those capabilities will be available in beta in the second half of 2018.

Chanana notes that millions of developers are already using Docker Desktop to build applications. As those applications become deployed in production environments, there becomes a clear need to unify the management of those applications to enable, for example, high availability of applications across multiple cloud environments.

Complicating that matter is the fact that those application are increasingly being deployed on both Windows and Linux platforms running on-premises and in the cloud, adds Chanana. According to Docker Inc., 50 percent of its customers are now deploying Docker EE on Windows. While he concedes that most Windows developers are not as far along as Linux developers in terms of mastering Docker containers, that gap is closing fast, thanks to support from Microsoft.

Docker Inc. is positioning Docker EE as a lighter-weight approach to abstracting away the underlying IT infrastructure in a way that is not overly prescriptive. As an alternative to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments that were optimized for virtual machines, Docker Inc. says Docker EE is a much more accessible platform for building and deploying applications. Rival providers of such platforms are moving to embrace Kubernetes to effectively meld a CaaS environment into an existing PaaS. It’s not clear yet which approach will win the day and, for that matter, many enterprises may embrace multiple types of platforms for different classes of applications.

In the meantime, Docker Inc. clearly sees an opportunity to provide a mechanism for flexibly managing applications at a time when the complexity associated with deploying applications based on microservices enabled by containers is starting to increase exponentially. The challenge now is finding a way to encourage the development of those applications without making the overall IT environment too complex for the average enterprise IT organization to master.

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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