DockerCon 17 was held in Austin last week just as Docker turned four last month. At the conference, it was evident that Docker is “all in” not only with next gen technology and tools for Devs, but with a greater affinity for the Ops half of the DevOps community. There was an emphasis on security, logging and metrics, scalability, resiliency, consistency and instructions for bringing containerized apps from dev/test to production. Docker Founder and CTO, Solomon Hykes, declared in his keynote “Operators need Docker to just work.” He went on to introduce a new Secure Linux Subsystem for Docker which he dubbed "Immutable Infrastructure."
Speaking of scalability, resiliency and consistency, this was the year of the enterprise at DockerCon. The conference kicked off on tax day in the USA and Intuit announced on stage they processed 25 million tax returns on their tax software running in Docker containers. Visa shared stats saying 90% of infrastructure is at 15% utilization, and for them Docker on bare metal came to the rescue, with Visa processing 100k transactions per day on a Docker-based platform. ADP says they are running 3,771 Docker containers across 7,500 deployments. In their session, ADP said their Devs were itching to use Docker and engage with Ops and advised others looking to transform and embrace DevOps to "work to disrupt yourself." Bottom line, enterprises are beginning to trust and adopt containers for more than test/dev and they are adopting containers not only for their cloud native apps, but in some cases for traditional apps. One ADP slide advised “Encapsulate, isolate, expose function via API,” speaking to the idea that traditional apps can gain automation pipeline benefits via containers and container cluster management. MetLife explained their strategy for the journey from traditional apps to microservices as "wrap, tap & scrap" as in wrap in a container, tap for critical data and scrap the monolithic app.
Recall in March, Docker announced Docker Enterprise Edition and renamed the “free” Docker products as Docker Community Edition and rolled out certification programs and Docker Store. DockerCon 17 added a punctuation mark to these announcements, demonstrating that Docker technology has the magnetism to bring together a growing ecosystem for the DevOps movement, not just developers. This was evident even in the wide array of stickers with logos, well-known and startups, with offerings for Devs and Ops, enterprises and cloud natives alike.
IDC commented via Twitter that “renewed focus on developers is the new GTM strategy” for vendors. One such example came from Oracle, who held a session around their Oracle Cloud Container Service (OCCS) (the session was delivered by Oracle team members from Oracle’s StackEngine acquisition). They have made Docker container service template(s) for managing containers in Oracle Cloud available from the Docker Store.
In their Jan 2017 report, “Answering the 10 Biggest Questions About Containers, Microservices and Docker” Gartner expresses both optimism and caution around containers. The report notes that containers avoid the performance tax associated with VMs, containers can support high tenant densities on hosts and Devs can include app dependencies with the container. Some of the cautions noted are around the number of moving parts in a microservices architecture and that advantages for monolithic apps may be limited if workloads require persistence and don’t benefit from horizontal scaling.
I left DockerCon 17 duly impressed, especially with the use cases presented by the big enterprises using container-based platforms to take workloads to production. Thanks DockerCon 17 for an interesting and educational conference. Now go find your shades and your flip flops, because I hear next year DockerCon is coming to San Francisco!