Docker Acquiring Container SDN Specialist SocketPlane

Docker is buying SDN vendor SocketPlane. Financial terms of the deal—considered a talent and technology acquisition—have not been disclosed.

Docker buys SocketPlane

Docker Inc., the lead commercial sponsor behind the popular open-source Docker application container virtualization technology, announced this morning that it is acquiring privately held software-defined networking (SDN) vendor SocketPlane. Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed.

David Messina, Docker vice president of marketing, told eWEEK that the deal is an "acquihire," or talent acquisition, in that SocketPlane has an incredibly talented team.

SocketPlane emerged from stealth mode in October 2014 as a provider of Docker-enabled SDN technology. SocketPlane founder Madhu Venugopal had previously been at Cisco and has been an active participant in the Linux Foundation-led OpenDaylight SDN project.

In an interview when SocketPlane launched, John Willis, vice president of customer enablement at SocketPlane, described the company's platform as SDN that focuses on the data plane, with some post-SDN lessons learned on the control plane.

In terms of how SocketPlane's OpenDaylight lineage will translate into a potential direction for Docker, Messina said that it's too soon to say. "SocketPlane is being acquired to support the open-source technology and ecosystem of partners," Messina said.

SocketPlane isn't the only networking vendor that was building networking technology optimized for Docker. Weaveworks has also been active in the space building out a virtual networking technology for the distributed deployment of Docker containers. Weaveworks recently raised $5 million in funding to grow its efforts.

"The majority of users want networking to just work, but just as importantly, integrate into their existing networks," Brent Salisbury, co-founder at SocketPlanet wrote in a blog post. "Being part of Docker now allows us to help build enterprise-class networking with all of the partners who have shown early interest—including, but not limited to, Cisco, IBM, Joyent, Microsoft, Rancher, VMware and Weave."

Docker Inc. has made several acquisitions during its short existence. Docker acquired Orchard in October 2014, in part for the company's Fig technology. Fig has since evolved to become the basis of the new Docker Compose tools that hit its 1.1 milestone release February 26. Docker Compose enables multiple containers to be pulled together to run a single logical application. Docker Inc. also bought software development firm Koality in October, in a bid to boost continuous integration capabilities.

Docker Inc. has raised a total of $66 million through several rounds of funding, with the most recent being a $40 million Series C round in September 2014.

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.