November 23, 2017

At the DockerCon Europe 2017 conference, Docker Inc. announced it has made the Kubernetes container orchestration engine an equal citizen to Docker Swam within the context of Docker Enterprise Edition (EE) container-as-a-service (CaaS) platform.

David Messina, senior vice president of marketing for Docker Inc., says IT organizations now have the option to decide as they deploy a containerized application if they want to deploy it on Docker Swarm or Kubernetes, noting the container orchestration engine is now an optional feature of the CaaS environment. Within the context of the Docker EE CaaS environment, IT organizations could find that Kubernetes is much easier to deploy and manage, Messina adds.

Just as important, Messina notes that regardless of whether an IT organization opts to deploy Swam or Kubernetes, it will be able to provide a consistent experience spanning the entire DevOps life cycle.

Docker Inc. decided to add support for Kubernetes to Docker EE because pockets of Kubernetes deployments are starting to show up in organizations that have adopted Docker EE and Docker Swarm, Messina says. Rather than requiring IT organizations to deploy and support another CaaS environment on top of Kubernetes, it makes sense for Docker Inc. to provide support for both container orchestration engines. That decision, Messina says, makes Docker Inc. the only provider of a CaaS environment that can be deployed on Linux or Windows systems.

Messina says Docker Inc. is seeing significant adoption of CaaS environments as an alternative to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments. A PaaS environment is not only more complex to stand up and maintain, but it also creates a black box experience that make governance issues, such as tracking what code was developed by what developer, opaque. In fact, Messina says the biggest issue with a PaaS environment is that it forces the entire IT organization to change the way it operates to conform with the way the PaaS environment has been constructed. A CaaS environment, he contends, is a lighter-weight approach that bends to the way any given IT organization prefers to operate. In most cases, IT organizations are deploying new applications on a CaaS while moving legacy applications into a container to make managing them more flexible, he says, but over time they can decide to deconstruct those applications into microservices or simply extend them by adding microservices.

Most IT organizations have yet to adopt a PaaS or CaaS environment. Docker Inc. is betting that a lighter-weight framework for managing DevOps will have greater appeal than PaaS environments that must be invoked either as a managed service or by Fortune 500-class organizations that have lots of internal IT expertise.

As developers continue to accelerate use of Docker containers to build applications, it’s only a matter of time now before most IT organizations make a decision regarding the level of abstraction they want to employ to manage the containerized application life cycle. In some cases, IT organizations will opt to stitch together various components to create what they perceive to be a best-of-breed DevOps environment. In other cases, IT organizations will decide that managing the individual components of a DevOps environment takes away time from developing applications. In those instances, it becomes more logical to embrace a PaaS or CaaS environment. Regardless of the approach taken, most existing IT management processes will need to evolve in the age of the containerized application.

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.