Docker Inc. Charts Course Into 2021

To mark the anniversary of its rebirth as a vendor focused on application developer experiences, Docker Inc. has outlined its ambitions for the future, as a series of previously announced price hikes for the heaviest users of its tools and platforms are about to kick in next week.

Company CEO Scott Johnston says IT teams should expect to see Docker Inc. focus on the “interloops” between where integrated development environments (IDEs) leave off and continuous integration (CI) platforms begin. That effort, for example, will see more prescriptive development environments and pipeline tools that can be swapped out across multiple programming languages as development teams see fit.

IT teams should also expect to see more container image management tools that also provide increased visibility into those images, as well as tighter integration with other CI and DevOps platforms.

Finally, Docker Inc. will build on top of the Docker Compose developer tool to improve collaboration and increase the number of Docker Official Images that have been vetted on the DockerHub platform.

Overall, Johnston says there are 11.3 million users per month of Docker tools and platforms who have free rein to consume as much of Docker tools and platforms as they like. The bulk of those users will not be affected by the price increases. However, there is a class of users who will be asked to either limit their consumption or pay extra based on how Docker Inc. monitors usage of its platform, he says.

Earlier this year, Docker Inc. added per-seat pricing for subscriptions, which was quickly followed by an annual purchasing option that offers discounts for longer-term commitments.

In total, usage of Docker platforms and tools has increased 77% year-over-year, Johnston says, noting there are now 7.9 million Docker Hub repositories that are being accessed at a rate of 13.6 billion pulls per month.

As a privately held company, it’s not clear how profitable Docker Inc. is in its attempts to create a platform niche between IDEs and DevOps platforms. In the last year, it has struck alliances with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as well as extended its relationship with both Microsoft and its GitHub subsidiary. In the meantime, rivals ranging from Red Hat and Mirantis to providers of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments based on the Cloud Foundry project are all focusing on the application development experience in Kubernetes environments. There is, of course, a longstanding affinity between developers and Docker. However, developers are also known to be amenable to at least experimenting with new tools as they become available.

Regardless of the tools used to build container applications, it’s certain there will be a lot more of them running in production environments in 2021. Many of the builders of those applications invariably will be initially unfamiliar with containers. That means the potential base container developers could go beyond 20 million in few short years, which is a fact Docker Inc. and its rivals are all counting on.

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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