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Introduction

Linux containers technology has attracted a lot of attention and activity as a result of the work done by startup Docker. The company has simplified and standardized the technology, and shifted its focus from operating system (OS) containers to application containers. It has expanded its ambitions beyond Linux to Windows (in cooperation with Microsoft), and its benefits from high density/utilization to portability, ease of use, and automation.

Highlights

  • Docker has expanded its ambitions beyond Linux to Windows (in cooperation with Microsoft), and its benefits from high density/utilization to portability, ease of use, and automation.
  • Some already anticipate a world in which, one day 1) the container image format has become the standard software-packaging format across all OSs, and, 2) the container APIs/runtime has become the standard abstraction layer between most management tools and containers, unikernels as well as VMs.

Features and Benefits

  • Understand what containers are and why they are important.
  • Understand the various aspects of Docker's technology in the context of the evolution of container technology.

Key questions answered

  • What are containers and why are they important?
  • How is container technology evolving and to what extent does this evolution make them relevant to an enterprise audience?

Table of contents

Summary

  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages

Recommendations

  • Recommendations for enterprises
  • Recommendations for vendors

Container technology is gathering momentum

  • Containers are already on CIOs’ agendas
  • Container adoption will increase more quickly than many expect
  • Incumbent vendors have jumped on the container bandwagon
  • Enterprises will take some time to get to grips with containers

Docker has made containers relevant to the enterprise

  • Linux container technology was slow to emerge
  • Docker has accelerated adoption by changing containers’ nature and ambitions

The Docker interface has standardized container technology and has expanded its reach

  • The Docker interface makes it easier to pick and mix Linux distributions
  • The Docker interface is expanding beyond Linux

Docker tools make application container management easier

  • Docker has put together a complete toolset to complement its interface and runtime environment
  • Docker Compose underpins the shift from OS to application containers

Docker image layers help automate container creation and management

  • The Docker packaging format is a win-win proposition for software vendors and their customers
  • The layered Docker image format facilitates automation and saves space as well as time

Docker Hub, alongside the Docker open source project, is at the heart of the Docker community

  • Docker is a growing open source community
  • Docker Hub has helped build community momentum

Containers are currently more a complement than an alternative to VMs

  • Containers are mostly running in VMs
  • The shift from VM to containers will be limited and gradual
  • VMs and containers are different tools for different purposes
  • Don’t forget LXC

It is still early days for containers, but they could make a bigger impact than originally expected

  • Docker technology is young but improving fast
  • Container standardization has barely started
  • The concept of containers is expanding with unikernels

Appendix

  • Further reading
  • Author

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