Docker is a tidal wave: Ride it or drown

Docker is to containers what Kleenex is to facial tissue, Coca Cola is to soda, and QTips is to cotton swabs—the brand is essentially synonymous with its underlying product. The meteoric rise of Docker is still in its early stages and its bringing all container technologies with it along for the ride. A year ago you could have been forgiven for asking “Who’s Docker?” or “What are containers?”, but asking that question now means you’re behind a quickly moving curve and quickly becoming obsolete.

I spoke with TK Keanini, CTO of Lancope, to get his thoughts on the recent DockerCon event and the direction Docker and container technologies are heading. One of the primary messages Keanini took away from DockerCon is that shipping code needs to be a core competency of engineering, which means that deployment pipelines and containers also need to be a core competency of engineering. The days when engineers don’t have any visibility into how their code manifests in production are over.

There were a number of interesting statistics shared at DockerCon. In the last year there has been:

  • 183 percent growth in Docker contributors
  • 515 percent increase in Github projects with Docker in the name
  • 1720 percent increase in job openings listing “Docker”
  • 934 percent increase in “Dockerized” applications (150,000 from 14,500)
  • Docker at 97 percent for net-usage and purchasing intentions

Microsoft has embraced Docker with open arms over the last year—announcing a variety of initiatives and partnerships to both ensure complete Docker integration into almost everything Microsoft does, and also to ensure Microsoft a seat at the “cool kids” table. Mark Russinovich, CTO of Azure for Microsoft, doesn’t speak to customers without the work “Docker” coming up. At DockerCon Russinovich said, “Anything that is core to the business needs to be modernized to look at new technologies and culture, starting with Docker.”

Even the US government is making a huge push to DevOps—cloud services and containerization being essential elements of that transition. US GSA (General Services Administration)—the agency that oversees federal purchases and acquisitions—is heavily dependent on Docker, distributed services, and open source tools to manage its contractor transaction system. Keanini noted, “This is HUGE! If the US GSA is doing it for such sensitive systems it means the government is not going to push back as much as some have suggested it might.”

The United States government is the largest employer in the world. Household names like Microsoft and VMware have jumped in with both feet. Tech giants like Google, HP, IBM, Amazon, and Intel have joined forces to work on the Open Container Project. Docker and containers have moved quickly beyond mainstream adoption to critical mass.

What does all of this mean? It means the train has left the station—or it’s at least in the process of leaving and quickly picking up steam. It means if you haven’t gotten on you’d better start running to catch up and jump on. It means that if you haven’t even figured out where the train station is or where the train is heading you’re going to get left behind.

Tony Bradley

I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@techspective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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