Notes from DockerCon 2015

Notes from DockerCon 2015

This week was a busy one for the container world. The week started with DockerCon 2015 in San Francisco followed by the Red Hat Summit in Boston. Nirmata was a Bronze Sponsor of DockerCon and we had an amazing two days attending the event. Considering that this is just its second year, DockerCon has already become a must-attend event for cloud vendors and users. In this post, I will try to highlight some of the key announcements as well as a few user stories.

On the first day, the biggest announcement was the formation of Open Container Project (OCP) and runC. Over the last year or so, there has been an ongoing debate in the industry on whether Docker should remain a pure container engine or if it should include some of the higher level capabilities such as orchestration etc. Docker, Inc seems to have put this debate to a rest by spinning out the container ‘plumbing’ as runC and creating OCP.  This looks like a win-win for Docker as well as the community. OCP will be governed by the Linux Foundation and includes all the usual suspects as well as a few startups. As is the case with any such project, it remains to be seen if all the players can get along. If they do and if the community continues to innovate and can succeed in making containers mainstream, it will be a huge win for customers.


Second day of the event started with a couple of user testimonials. Chris Buckley, Director of DevOps at Business Insider, provided some insights into how Business Insider (BI) started using Docker. He shared how BI started big with Docker in production and then brought it into development instead of the other way around. Once this was fixed, BI was able to drastically improve developer agility. The other user testimonial was from Nirmal Mehta of Booz Allen Hamilton. Mehta shared his teams experience helping the US General Services Administration (GSA) streamline its application development by building a common platform. This eliminated duplication of effort, saving taxpayer dollars. Using Docker also helped GSA bring products and services to market faster and speed up security reviews.  On the product front, Docker announced the general availability of the Docker Trusted Registry (DTR), an on-prem Docker registry and a subscription plan for Docker engines which starts at $150.

In my opinion, the highlight of the second day was the demo by Mark Russinovich of Microsoft. Microsoft has integrated Docker into various products including Azure, Windows Server and Visual Studio. Mark showed a demo of how users can deploy Docker containers from Visual Studio Online and perform continuous integration tests. This demo clearly showed the value of cleanly integrating Docker into developer workflows.

Towards the end of the general session on day two, Scott Johnston from Docker announced Project Orca. We got a sneak peek at the graphical user interface that the Docker team is working on to tie various Docker components together. No dates were announced but I am sure that a lot of companies in the Docker ecosystem will be watching this project very closely.

Apart from the general sessions, I attended several user sessions that included speakers from companies such as Capital One, New York Times, Grub Hub and Paypal. Each of these speakers showed how they used Docker to build solutions that simplified their developers lives. A couple of these companies already use Docker in production. Listening to these early adopters, one thing was clear. Getting started with Docker is extremely easy, but there is a huge amount of effort involved in delivering integrated solutions that can be used by mainstream developers.

At Nirmata, as we work closely with our customers, we have realized the value of delivering simple and intuitive solutions. My co-founders and I started Nirmata to address the pain in operations and management of cloud-native applications, and containers happened to be the best way to package, deploy, and run these applications. Early adopters of Docker had to build a lot of tooling themselves to realize the benefits. Companies considering Docker now, have the benefit of solutions like Nirmata to accelerate their adoption without investing time and resources in any undifferentiated heavy lifting. The theme of this years DockerCon was “Docker in production” and there were a few users using Docker in production. By next year, I expect to see a lot more production users, including several Nirmata customers, be ready to share their stories.

VP Products, Nirmata

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