Application containers, namely Docker containers, have been heralded as the great liberators of developers from worrying about infrastructure. Package your app in containers, and it will run in your data center or in somebody’s cloud the same way it runs on your laptop.
That has been the promise of the technology based on the long-existing concept of Linux containers the San Francisco startup named Docker devised its application building, testing, and deployment platform around. While developers love the concept of Docker, IT managers that oversee the infrastructure those applications eventually have to be deployed on have certain processes, policies, requirements, and tools that weren’t necessarily designed to support the way apps in Docker containers are deployed and the rapid-fire software release cycle they are ultimately meant to enable.
This week, Docker rolled out into general availability its answer to the problem. Docker Datacenter is meant to translate Docker containers and the set of tools for using them for the traditional enterprise IT environment. It is a suite of products that enables the IT organization to stand up an entire Docker container-based application delivery pipeline that is compatible with IT infrastructure, tools, and policies already in place in the enterprise data center.
That means developers can use Docker containers, but the applications they build can run on existing dedicated servers, VMs, or cloud infrastructure and comply with existing requirements. “The only dependency that we have is the host running Linux kernel,” Scott Johnston, senior VP of product management and product design at Docker, said.
The suite consists of Docker Universal Control Plane, the central enterprise IT management dashboard for Dockerized applications, Docker Trusted Registry, which gives data center managers the ability to define for developers the types of container images that comply with their policies and requirements, and Docker Engine, the heart of the Dockerized infrastructure, the runtime that builds and runs Docker containers:
Docker went to great lengths to minimize any pain that may be associated with bringing an entirely new system for deploying and managing applications, so Docker Datacenter comes with open interfaces for existing storage systems, networking, configuration management, logging, monitoring, or content management tools.
According to Johnston, the platform is easy to set up, and a small IT shop with a few nodes can get up and running in a matter of minutes. For big enterprise data center deployments, Docker partners with the familiar system integrators in that space, companies like Accenture, or Booz Allen Hamilton, he said.
Docker sells the platform as a subscription service. It costs $150 per month per node (physical or virtual) for support during business hours only (five days a week, 12 hours a day) and $300 for support 24-seven.