Why Docker Containers Matter, 6 Years After the Project First Started

eWEEK DATA POINTS: The open-source Docker container project was announced to the world in March 2013 by Solomon Hykes and has grown to become a cornerstone of the modern software development ecosystem.

Docker 6

Few, if any, 6-year-old technologies have done as much to change the way applications are built and deployed as Docker.

Docker, the eponymous name of the container technology and the company behind it, celebrated its six-year anniversary on March 20. From its earliest days, even as just a 1-year-old effort back in 2014, there was no shortage of optimism and excitement about Docker. With the Docker model, applications are more portable and run inside of containers, which are isolated instances that provide a more agile approach for development and deployment. Docker also introduced the "dockerfile" packaging format, which defines how a container image should be built.

The container model that Docker first introduced has evolved over the past six years and is now the cornerstone of the broader cloud-native space, which includes the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In this eWEEK Data Points article, we look at some of the key facts about Docker and the cloud-native revolution it has inspired.

Data Point No. 1: Docker is widely used

Six years ago, Docker was a hobbyist technology, but that's not the case in 2019.

  • Docker Inc. has more than 700 customers, including ADP, Liberty Mutual, PayPal and other large brands.
  • The market for containers is predicted to be $4.3 billion by 2022, according to 451 Research.
  • If you have done online banking, called a rideshare, received a paycheck or accessed your medical records, you are using Docker containers.

Data Point No. 2:  Developers have led adoption

Adoption of Docker has come from different areas, though since the beginning developers have been a core audience and advocate of the technology.

  • More than 2 million developers are using Docker today.
  • There have been more than 80 billion downloads of Docker.
  • There are more than 5.5 million "Dockerized" applications.
  • There are more than 25,000 open jobs in tech today that require Docker.

Data Point No. 3: There are multiple free and commercial container tools

While Docker started the modern container movement with the open-source Docker Engine, there are now multiple technologies and vendors in the space.

The open-source Docker CE (Community Engine) provides a freely available container engine, and Docker EE (Enterprise Edition) provides a commercially supported platform that integrates additional capabilities for security, operations and workflow.

Container interoperability across different implementations is enabled via the open-source Open Container Initiative (OCI) set of specifications.

Data Point No. 4: Containered is now the core of Docker

When the Docker project was started by founder Solomon Hykes in March 2013, the Docker Engine integrated the core components needed to run containers. In December 2016, Docker announced an effort to disaggregate the core Docker Engine, with the containerd open-source project becoming the container runtime.

Containerd is part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and officially achieved the graduated project level on Feb. 28.

Data Point No. 5: Kubernetes works with Docker

Container orchestration is an approach that enables multiple containers to be operated at scale in a clustered model. Docker developed its own container orchestration system called Swarm, which is integrated into Docker CE and Docker EE.

Since November 2017, Docker also supports the one-time rival Kubernetes container orchestration system as well, which is also a project hosted by the CNCF.

Data Point No. 6: Docker is saving the world

At the 2018 Dockercon conference in San Francisco, NASA engineers discussed the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission. DART is a spacecraft that will deploy a kinetic-impact technique to deflect an asteroid that could potentially end all life on Earth. At the core of DART is a software stack that is built using Docker.

"Space is hard, and our software team wanted to make it easier for us," Christopher Heistand, DART flight software lead, said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. 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.