New Docker Datacenter Delivers End-to-End Container Management

Docker, Inc., the chief commercial supporter of the open source Docker Project, today announced a new platform for agile application development and management. The Docker Datacenter (DDC) bundles three products: the Docker Universal Control Plane (UCP), the Docker Trusted Registry and the commercially supported Docker Engine, to address the requirements of organizations that want to manage the lifecycle of dockerized apps from development through production.

The public beta of the Universal Control Plane, an on-premises tool for deploying and managing dockerized distributed applications in production, was unveiled last November at DockerCon EU in Barcelona. It becomes generally available today.

Released at DockerCon EU event, the Trusted Registry allows users to store and manage Docker images on-premises or in a virtual private cloud. It comes with Active Directory and LDAP support, audit logging, and management features.

Docker has combined these solutions with the core Docker Engine to create a product suite for IT operations, explained Scott Johnston, Docker's SVP of Product Management, that enables end-to-end application pipeline delivery, from the desktop of the containerized app developer to production.

Docker refers to this continuous delivery pipeline as Container-as-a-Service (CaaS), a workflow the company has seen emerging in the enterprise. Docker has described CaaS as "a framework in which operations delivers secure and manageable content through a self-service portal on programmable infrastructure to developers."

"As we see it, CaaS provides the right level of application flexibility on the developer side, where they're looking to build a range of application types with a range of different components, while giving Ops the flexibility to implement the platform as they see fit based on the decisions investments they've already made," said Johnston.

The DDC supports the Docker API and embeds such Docker open source projects as Swarm, a Docker-native clustering solution that pools multiple Docker engines into a single logical engine.

"Operations communicated very clearly to use that they loved the flexibility and portability that containerized apps give them, but they didn't want to have to rip and replace their existing infrastructure to manage that pipeline and deploy those applications in production," Johnston said. Consequently, the DDC was designed to integrate readily with a range of enterprise systems, he said. "At last count, we had 450 ecosystem partners -- monitoring partners, login partners, network plugin partners, storage partners -- all that wonderful ecosystem comes with Docker Datacenter, so that enterprise IT can adopt it without having a lot of overhead to get the system up and running."

The DDC also provides integrated security via Docker Content Trust and DTR.

Johnston contrasted the DDC with the Docker Cloud, the company's SaaS multi-tenant offering. "SaaS multi-tenant is fine for a certain segment of the market, such as SMBs and early adopters, but what we heard loud and clear was that the enterprise wanted an on-premises version of those tools to help them managed the application pipeline," he said.

The DDC bundle has been in beta for the past six months, and Johnston pointed out that many of the beta users have become paying customers, including 12 members of the Fortune 500.

Payroll services vendor ADP was among those beta customers. Keith Fulton, the company's Chief Technology Officer, said his organization is using the DDC as part of an initiative to modernize its business-critical apps to microservices. "ADP has been investigating solutions that would enable our developers to leverage a central library of IT-vetted and secured core services that they could rapidly iterate on," Fulton said in a statement. "Docker's CaaS approach will enable us to drive transformation across the entire application lifecycle from development to operations."

Another customer, South African mortgage finance company SA Homes, is using the DDC to host a microservices architecture that supports its primary business applications. "By moving to the Docker platform, we have decreased our time to production significantly and have empowered our developers to use the languages and frameworks with which they are most comfortable," said SA systems engineer Mark Dand.

The company is providing a trial version of Docker Datacenter on its Web site.  

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].