From Silos to Services: Cloud Computing for the Enterprise

Jun 19 2015   1:28PM GMT

Looking forward to DockerCon

Brian Gracely Brian Gracely Profile: Brian Gracely

Cloud Foundry
Open source

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 1.25.05 PMWhile it is only expected to have 2000 attendees, next week’s DockerCon 2015 is already shaping up to be one of the most highly anticipated events of the trade-show calendar. As noted VC (and Cloud expert) Adrian Cockcroft likes to say, “Docker wasn’t on anyone’s roadmap in 2014. It’s on everyone’s roadmap in 2015.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to at the event:

  1. Who is Docker in 2015? Per their mission statement, “Docker is an open platform that enables developers and system administrators to create distributed applications.” They have taken $150M in VC funding. They have a rapidly growing community (both in downloads/contributions) and new Docker-centric startups, but are also acquiring companies (eg. Socketplane, Kitematic) to fill in holes in their “stack”. Do they solidify themselves as a “platform”, competing with structured or unstructured PaaS offerings“, or do they avoid that classification and just stay focused on being an enabling technology? Do they target developers, operators, or both?
  2. Who is the Docker ecosystem in 2015? Last year, they limited attendance to 200-250 people. This year it’s 2000 (by comparison, Cloud Foundry Summit was ~1500). In about 18 months, Docker has been downloaded over 300M times. Many start-ups will come out of stealth next week, and many enterprise vendors will be jumping on the Docker bandwagon. But the biggest question I have is how does the Docker philosophy of “batteries included, but removable” resonate with the ecosystem? Is Docker building a flexible, pluggable stack, or are they building a more monolithic “suite” that is less ecosystem friendly?
  3. How do the new Docker v1.7 plugins work? Just released, it will be interesting to watch how this segment of the marketplace grows. Will the plugins be vendor-specific (and proprietary) or will significant contributions by vendors be made back into the primary, open projects?
  4. Is Storage + Docker hot?  One of the topics that I’ve been hearing over and over again in the context of container is, “How do we manage persistent data, or storage?” I’ve heard it in the content of Mesos and Kubernetes, in the context of Cloud Foundry and now we’re seeing early announcements from projects like Flocker and RexRay, as well as new “volume” concepts and functionality in v1.7 of Docker. While container-based applications tend to be associated with stateless applications, the reality is that data must be dealt with somehow, and many people are looking at ways to bring the benefits of containers to the management of data.
  5. Security? VMware tried to tell the world that containers alone are not enough (or “insecure”) and are best run in a VM. Some early surveys confirm that many container deploys are still running in VMs. But Docker has tried to counter these claims with Security Best Practices and tools to avoid getting their momentum stalled, especially in Enterprise accounts.
  6. Users? Customers? Paying Customers? Use-Cases? There is no doubt that Docker is white-hot these days, but who are the users, what industries do they represent and are they creating revenue streams for Docker, Inc? The speaker lineup and agenda looks promising, with many geographic regions and industries represented, so it’ll be good to ask some deeper questions about how Docker is being used in their environments.

Overall, it should be a great benchmark to understand where this fast moving company and community is moving. Docker has the potential to disrupt so many segments of the Cloud-Native application industry, so it’ll be interesting to see how big of a piece of the pie they are going after and how the marketplace responds.

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