In recent months, Google has rolled out several services to make it easier for developers to run Docker containers on its Cloud Platform.
Examples include a hosted container management platform called the Google Container Engine; container-optimized Google Compute Engine images; and Kubernetes, an open-source tool for managing containerized applications across a cluster of host machines.
Building on those moves, Google on Jan. 23 announced beta availability of a new Google Container Registry service that will let developers host, share and manage private Docker container repositories on its Cloud Platform.
The service gives companies a way to ensure that only authorized members of a project team can access private Docker container images in the cloud, Praful Dublish, technical program manager for the Cloud Platform said in the blog post announcing the service.
The registry service allows developers to host private images in Google Cloud Storage as part of their cloud platform project. This enables developers working on a project to securely push and pull images using the Google Cloud Platform software development kit command line, he said. "Container host VMs can then access secured images without additional effort," Dublish noted.
The registry service will also offer server-side encryption to ensure that private container images are automatically encrypted when uploaded to the Google cloud. The registry will also enable fast and reliable deployment of containers because the private images are stored in the cloud and cached in Google data centers. They are ready for deployment to Google's Container Engine clusters or the container-optimized VMs running on its Compute Engine, Dublish said.
Docker's technology basically enables applications to run inside "containers" that are highly portable and run on top of a host operating system. Unlike virtual machines that require an operating system instance for each VM on a host system, multiple containers can share a single host operating system. The approach allows companies to run significantly more applications on a single server or host system, compared with virtualization technologies.
Docker has made it simple for enterprises to containerize applications by providing access to more than 15,000 "images" and other software components that companies can use to quickly build application containers. Developers can use the company's Docker Hub to download and upload images and other software components and to share and collaborate on containers with other developers.
Docker also offers a private registry that developers can use to collaborate on an application development program without making the images publicly available. Some companies set up their own Docker registries behind their firewall for even tighter control over access and sharing of container components during the development process.
Google's new Container Registry now offers developers another option for doing the same thing. In announcing the beta availability of its new service, Google touted the experience of online retailer Zulily as an example of the benefits that developers can derive from the service.
"Private registries help, but they need valid certificates, authentication and firewalls, backups and monitoring," Google quoted a software engineer from Zulily as saying. Google's service addresses these requirements while also providing a registry that is easy to integrate with Zulily application development and deployment workflow.
During the beta period, the Container Register service will be available free of cost though developers will need to pay for storage and network resources consumed by any private images they store in Google's cloud service platform.