Will Multi-Cloud Strategy Help Docker Inc. Win The Enterprise?

At the recently held DockerCon conference, Docker, Inc. has announced plans to make its enterprise container management platform capable of managing applications deployed across multiple environments. The company has also highlighted the integration with Windows containers bringing interoperability between Microsoft Windows Server and Linux operating system.

Source: Docker

Docker Enterprise Edition, the commercial offering from Docker, Inc. to manage containerized applications, will allow organizations to federate applications deployed on-premises, the cloud environments and managed Kubernetes. The cloud-hosted, managed Kubernetes offerings include Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), AWS Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS) and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).

According to Docker Inc., Docker Enterprise Edition is the only container platform that can deliver federated application management with a secure supply chain. With Docker EE, customers get the choice of Linux distribution or Windows Server, the choice of running in a virtual machine or on bare metal, running traditional or microservices applications with either Swarm or Kubernetes orchestration along with the flexibility to choose the right cloud platform to run containerized workloads.

The federated control plane that would be available in Docker EE delivers higher availability of applications. An application deployed in one location will be automatically replicated across multiple clusters. When the primary cluster becomes unavailable, Docker EE will transparently route the traffic to a healthy cluster. There are other possible use cases where customers will be able to manage applications across development, staging seamlessly, and production environments powered by Docker EE.

Since the move to embrace Kubernetes, Docker, Inc. has been trying to find a differentiating factor. Through federated application management, Docker wants to plug a gap that exists in current Kubernetes offerings. But this capability is not an exclusive Docker EE feature.

There are on-going efforts in the Kubernetes community to federate clusters running in different environments. Vendors such as StackPointCloud and Upbound are moving towards a federated control plane for Kubernetes. It’s a matter of time before upstream Kubernetes gets a more stable and streamlined mechanism to federate clusters. Docker, Inc. will have to make a strong case to use its enterprise platform against other Kubernetes-based offerings.

Docker, Inc. is working closely with Microsoft to integrate Kubernetes with Windows containers. Microsoft has already exposed native Windows containers through familiar Docker API and CLI. Docker and Microsoft are now working together to let Windows workloads run while leveraging all the features of both Kubernetes and Docker Enterprise Edition combined. That means organizations can choose to deploy Windows and .NET applications with either Swarm or Kubernetes, running along alongside Linux applications.