Democratizing Docker: Changing Containers’ Competitive Landscape


ANALYSIS: Some new capabilities landed inside Docker that could create partner friction and more competition if not handled properly

In a brief announcement on Day Two of the conference, Docker CEO Ben Golub announced the Docker Store, a curated set of containerized applications that includes free and commercial applications. It’s a move that adds another layer to the Docker ecosystem by providing a potential revenue-generating tool for Docker Inc. as well as for software vendors.

Docker has had an application repository called Docker Hub since June 2014, when Docker 1.0 was first announced.

Docker also has an open-source effort called Registry, which is the basis of Docker Hub. Docker Store is in many respects a move by Docker Inc. to solidify its position as the commercial center of the container movement.


Cloud fingerAll the integration efforts from Docker come in the name of “democratizing” containers, which is all about making containers easy to use for as many people as possible. However, what about the partners? Sure partners can benefit from the Docker Store, so that’s an easy answer. But what about the integration of networking and orchestration—is that going to cause trouble?

The answer, of course, is that co-opetition, frenemies, and competing with partners on some areas while cooperating in others is par for the course in modern IT.

The core difference with Docker is that the core technology is all open-source. Even more importantly, the integration points, Swarm mode for orchestration and libnetwork for network are modular, as are the storage and monitoring interfaces. That means that partners can just plug into Docker and users can just swap in and out capabilities.

From the first time I met Docker founder Solomon Hykes (pictured) back in September 2013, before most of the world had a clue what Docker was about, to the current day, he has remained committed to open-source developers and a steadfast champion of building a community.

It’s a profound idea that Docker is building capabilities that in some respects are competitive with partners while on the other making sure the playing field is level so that partners can compete and extend capabilities to match user needs. It’s an idea that makes business sense as it makes the market larger for everyone. It’s also an idea that is at the heart of why open-source is a superior methodology for building technology.

In the final analysis, that’s why Docker as a business and as an ecosystem works. The batteries-included mantra is a great way to make sure users can get started. The democratization of technology is about ensuring accessibility for both new users as well as others who want to use the technology and extend it.

Originally published on eWeek

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