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The New Hype: Docker Doubles Down

 

Suddenly, it’s all about Docker. Again. It wasn’t last year. As noted by TechCrunch, Docker lost its CEO and sold off its enterprise business in rapid succession. Things looked grim, but the container company doubled down and refocused on its original purpose, driving developer success.

Now, Docker is everywhere as a lighter, more agile alternative for application packaging and performance. But before diving in headfirst, it’s worth redefining what it really means. What exactly is Docker? Why do containers matter so much, and what’s all the hype really about? Here’s the deal with Docker.


Permission to Dock

Docker containers, like virtual machines, allow application developers to deliver an entire running system as a single unit. The container includes the OS, the application, and all of its prerequisites. For the person responsible for deploying an application, there are no surprises about missing dependencies; you just deploy the container and it works.

 

But, unlike virtual machines, Docker containers can be started, stopped, and restarted very quickly. That’s because containers are really just sandboxed processes which share the host OS kernel. As a result, there’s no need to wait for the container’s operating system to “boot”; the container just starts running. Additionally, containers typically make better use of the underlying hardware resources than virtual machines, allowing you to deploy more containers per host than would be possible with VMs.

 

This ability to easily deploy an application with all of its dependencies while making efficient use of the underlying hardware has fueled the widespread adoption of Docker.


Open Sesame

As noted by Docker’s new CEO, Scott Johnston, the first generation of containers were almost “magical” for organizations struggling to control cloud complexity and virtual sprawl. But as the market matured, containers multiplied and now many companies face the challenge of containing their containers to streamline operations.

So it’s no surprise that last year brought a shift to Docker’s market model. With apps now using dozens or hundreds of containers to operate across multiple cloud instances, the company has created tools like Docker App and Docker Compose to streamline software management. And thanks to their pedigree, as the company that popularized container adoption, there’s growing developer interest in adopting the next generation of container controls.

Docker remains an open source project. While its “freemium” model creates a value chain for the company and lets organizations purchase the tools that best-fit their needs, the builder, engine, and orchestration components that made Docker so popular seven years ago remain fundamentally open source.


Contained Chaos

Docker is all about containing chaos. In 2020, that chaos has simply moved up the stack. The result was an inevitable implosion of their enterprise model as orchestration platform Kubernetes became the go-to option for managing multiple containers. For Docker, success in a new-stack market meant focusing on middleware, often described as “the software glue that lies between an operating system and the applications running on it.” 

In practice, the company pivoted to target DevOps teams. By allowing them to better manage code-to-cloud deployments and simplify their container space, Docker has managed to reposition itself as a valuable tool for developers and operations teams alike. Already, the company has seen significant uptick across its Docker Hub repository as software developers design Docker images for cutting-edge applications.

Bottom line? The hype is real. Docker is doubling down on containers, adjusting its market model, and refocusing on middleware to help companies better manage cloud application sprawl and reduce total complexity. Discover how Accusoft is using Docker in PrizmDoc Viewer in our engineer’s upcoming blog. Stay tuned.