Docker Advances With Trio of Orchestration Tools

Two months after first announcing Machine, Swarm and Compose, Docker rolls out the three orchestration tools.


The open-source Docker container application virtualization technology is moving forward today with the availability of three new orchestration tools—Machine, Swarm and Compose—that were first announced at the DockerCon EU conference in December.

Docker Machine is a technology that enables the Docker Engine—the application virtualization piece of Docker—to be quickly deployed on any server. Docker Swarm provides Docker container clustering capabilities, and Docker Compose enables multiple containers to be pulled together to run a single logical application.

"These are the first versions that a broad set of users could get their hands on to download to use in their environments," David Messina, vice president of enterprise marketing at Docker Inc., told eWEEK.

The Machine and Swarm releases are Beta milestones, while Compose is a 1.1 release. Compose is based on the Fig project that Docker Inc. gained through the acquisition of Orchard in October 2014, according to Messina.

"The feedback from the community strongly encouraged the Fig evolution into Docker Compose," he said. "The code therefore is more mature."

Community feedback has been a major force in the evolution of all three new Docker orchestration tools, Messina said.

"These tools would not have progressed where they are without community feedback," he said. "In fact, the initial context of having three tools serving specific orchestration capabilities was driven from input from users, to focus on very specific problem areas to address, instead of having one overarching orchestration technology."

While the new orchestration tools expand the capabilities of Docker, integrations with third-party tools and projects remain a key driver for the continued growth of the entire Docker ecosystem. Multiple vendors currently integrate with Docker, including VMware, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM.

"A big area of progress since DockerCon EU is the groundswell of support around Swarm," Messina said.

Messina added that Docker only mentioned one partner directly around Swarm at the DockerCon EU conference, and that was with Mesosphere and the Apache Mesos project. Apache Mesos enables clusters of physical or virtual machines to be pooled together.

"The progress with Mesos is that we now have a reference implementation," he said. "And we now have integration intentions from Joyent, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services."

The Docker landscape has evolved in few other ways in the last two months. On Jan. 28, the Docker project restructured itself in a bid to improve transparency and efficiency. Under the new structure, Docker founder Solomon Hykes takes on the role of chief architect, while Steve Francia is chief operator and Michael Crosby is chief maintainer.

Docker 1.5 was released on Feb. 10, providing an update to the core Docker Engine to enable IPv6 support. Docker 1.5 also introduced a new Docker stats API providing visibility into the compute, networking and storage resources that a container is using.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.