If you’re up on tech trends, then I don’t have to tell you that Docker’s containerization technology had its day in the sun. Since its founding, Docker absorbed hundreds of millions of dollars in VC funding and in 2015 reached a $1 billion valuation. If you think about the fact that the first DockerCon was held less than a decade ago and today there are more than 12 million registered Docker developers from over 200 countries worldwide, then you’ll understand just how rapidly this evolution took place.
Yet when we consider enterprise IT, even though Docker is still holding its own when it comes to enterprise container runtimes, it’s clear that its containerization tech won’t remain front and center much longer. Why not?
The Pending Demise of Docker
The excitement around Docker arose in an environment characterized by a seemingly unquenchable demand for the latest and greatest apps. Docker’s promise of unicorn-like portability appealed to developers who wanted to build containerized apps on a single server, knowing they’d work on multiple servers. To this day, new innovations—including Docker Extensions and Docker Desktop for Linux—are still helping developers work up new applications more efficiently.
Yet two key factors saw Docker’s popularity spring a leak in recent years:
- Docker’s partial sale of its business to Mirantis in 2019
- Microsoft’s warning of the deprecation of the Docker container runtime by Kubernetes in early 2022
It’s this more recent news—Kubernetes’ Docker deprecation announcement—which has targeted Docker’s containers and flagged their upcoming irrelevancy in enterprise IT. Despite these changes, it’s reasonable to assume that Docker itself as an organization and leading tech entity will continue to thrive as it returns to its DevOps roots.
The Future of Containers
With Docker’s containers on their way out, what about other containers? The fact is that the Docker name has previously been synonymous with containerization technology—the analogy that comes to mind is plastic baggies and the Ziploc brand. For many years, until recently, Docker was quite simply the go-to container technology.
But while Docker Inc. was indisputably the original tech firm to introduce containers to the masses on a large scale, it’s no longer the only game in town. Other container runtimes are ready and waiting to take over this opening in enterprise IT. And it’s a good thing, given the fact that a growing number of companies are quickly beginning to adopt containers in production as digital transformation continues. As they do, these companies are benefitting from significant improvements in everything from scalability and portability to deployment speed—which are all required for companies to survive and thrive in a cloud-based future.
As companies use containers in production, some have even succeeded at leveraging containers to deploy their most important, heavy-duty SQL Server workloads. While there is limitless potential for deployments like this, it must be carefully executed, given the deeper complexity that containerization adds to the high availability (HA) equation. That’s why container orchestration as a standalone strategy is not effective.
The best approach to HA in a containerized SQL Server environment is to leverage technology that enables fully automatic failover of SQL Server Availability Groups in Kubernetes across public, private and hybrid cloud environments. Only through this method can you enable bulletproof protection for a containerized SQL Server environment. It’s something to think about as you consider your options for container adoption if you want to be forward-thinking, rather than bringing up the rear.