Recapping Docker’s Changes Over the Last 6 Months

When it comes to container security, storage and orchestration, the ecosystem has evolved rapidly in just a few months. What you knew about Docker back in the spring may no longer be true. Here’s a recap of all of the big container ecosystem changes since that time.

Just six months ago, Docker seemed much less ready for the enterprise than it is today. At that time Docker containers lacked user-friendly storage solutions. Security also remained a considerable concern. Orchestration tools, too, were still maturing, and they were not well-integrated with Docker itself.

Fast forward to the present, however, and all that has changed. Docker today is more enterprise-ready than ever, thanks to the following updates since early spring 2016:

  • New container security tools have emerged. In particular, Core OS Clair and Docker Security Scanning have made it much easier to secure container images in registries.
  • Container storage is much simpler. Six months ago, configuring Docker Data Volumes manually was the primary solution for making persistent storage available to containers. But that is no longer the case: Red Hat in June launched “container-native” persistent storage via GlusterFS. CoreOS announced Torus, another persistent storage solution. Other vendors, like Rancher, have continued to develop their own enterprise-friendly container storage solutions.
  • Container orchestration is now more streamlined. Docker integrated Swarm directly into the platform (although Docker is still compatible with other orchestrators, of course). Red Hat’s OpenShift platform, which uses Kubernetes for orchestration, is now also more integrated than ever.

All of the above translates into Docker software stacks that require much less manual management and tuning than they did a half-year ago.

Partner Ecosystem Changes

And that’s not all. The Docker partner ecosystem has also changed very substantially since the spring.

Baking Swarm into Docker meant that Docker partners are now shifting their focus away from container orchestration to solving other challenges, such as storage, security and monitoring. In the latter category, container-ready data analytics platforms from vendors including Splunk and Sumo Logic are particularly interesting. They are helping to bring a higher level of visibility to containerized infrastructure.

Also of note from an ecosystem perspective is the recent discussion of forking Docker. Red Hat’s new OCID project has led some to conclude that a Docker fork has already arrived. Whether you agree or not, a greater degree of competition for Docker is now clear within the ecosystem.

Last but not least, Docker recently added native support for containers on Windows. That’s a huge change, which promises to bring many more users and vendors into the container world, since you no longer have to work with Linux in order to use Docker.

If you still think Docker is a maturing technology, it’s time to reassess that viewpoint in light of all of the enhancements to the Docker container stack over the past six months.

Christopher Tozzi

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 Fixate.io and Sweetcode.io.

Christopher Tozzi has 248 posts and counting. See all posts by Christopher Tozzi