The open-source Docker container technology has been one of the most hyped and talked about virtualization technologies of the past year. Today, Docker finally reached the 1.0 milestone, marking the first stable release and the debut of commercial enterprise support.
Docker provides a different model for application virtualization than the traditional hypervisor virtual machine model that is used by VMware's ESX and Microsoft's Hyper-V. The Docker model offers the promise of a lighter-weight optimized approach for virtual application delivery at scale, which is what makes the open-source technology attractive to many organizations. In a traditional hypervisor model, each virtual machine requires its own operating system on which applications can run. With the Docker approach, multiple virtual containers can sit on top of a single host operating system.
Docker Inc. is the lead commercial sponsor behind the open-source Docker project and to date has raised $26 million in funding. Docker already enjoys the support of both Red Hat and Amazon. With the Docker 1.0 release, the plan is to expand the user base by providing enterprise training, deployment and commercial support services.
Ben Golub, CEO of Docker, told eWEEK that Docker 1.0 is a stable release and will be commercially supported with a number of different support options that his company will provide, including training, architectural review and support. The Docker enterprise support efforts will be complemented by a channel sales program to further expand Docker's reach.
"We have a huge backlog of people that are interested in running Docker, so we're set up to deliver services ourselves and in conjunction with network integrators," Golub said.
To date, Docker usage has largely been focused on Linux-based operating systems, but that's not the only target that Golub wants to go after. As part of the Docker 1.0 release, Docker is now offering commercial support for the boot2docker technology, which can enable Docker for Mac OS X and Windows users as well. Golub noted that work is ongoing within the Docker community to provide more robust support for Windows and Microsoft .NET-based applications.
Alongside the Docker 1.0 launch, the Docker Hub is also making its official debut. The Docker Hub is a central repository for "Dockerized" applications that can be deployed on a Docker host. At launch, the Docker Hub already had more than 14,000 applications that can be deployed. Part of the Docker Hub are official repositories for some of the most popular and widely deployed open-source technologies today, including operating systems with Ubuntu and CentOS Linux as well as databases including Redis and MySQL. The Docker Hub includes public repositories for applications, which are free to use and deploy, as well as private repositories. The private repositories are a commercial service offered by Docker Inc.
From a developer perspective, Golub said there are already some development tools that integrate with the Docker Hub and the intention is to further those integrations to make it seamless to build applications and then deploy them as Docker containers.
With the Docker 1.0 release now available, work will continue on expanding the technology. Golub said that Docker 1.0 is a stable release and will be supported with backward compatibility for at least the next year. The development branch of Docker will continue to release incremental updates of Docker every month.
"The overall message is that Docker has become a platform and it is changing the way people build, ship and run applications," Golub said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.