Docker Adds Container Networking, Deployment Options

Docker gives its container platform a DevOps flavor with multi-host networking and the ability to deploy into the cloud.

Containers may be a new part of data center operations, but the multi-host networking will make them easier to network and manage throughout their lifecycle. Developers can build an experimental network and let their distributed application run with it. At a later stage, the network operations team can apply policies that add availability and security. The application itself doesn't need to be fiddled with to give it proper networking through the different stages of its lifecycle, Hykes said.

The application can also move out of the enterprise data center and into the public cloud, carrying its networking characteristics with it, Docker said in the announcement.

In other Docker developments, Docker Machine, Compose, and Swarm have been integrated into the new networking capability. Compose is used to define the containers in a distributed application and how they're connected. Swarm has been integrated with the Mesos cluster workload scheduling system. Developers can begin with a small Swarm cluster, and operations at a later stage can plug the application into a Mesos cluster with hundreds of nodes managed by the single scheduler.

In a similar vein, Docker can work with Amazon Web Services' EC2 Container Service. A multi-node Dockerized application built with Compose and Swarm can be deployed to the AWS system's cluster management.

In yet another development, Hykes described a plug-in architecture for the Docker platform to allow developers to tie in their own tooling through four connection points, with more to come. The initial plug-in points are for storage volumes and networking. Third parties, including Cisco, ClusterHQ, Microsoft, Midokura, Nuage Networks, Project Calico, VMware, and Weave, take advantage of the plug-in point to tie their own systems into the Docker platform.

The plug-in architecture means the platform's new SDN networking capability can be used or swapped out in favor of a third-party's SDN networking, Hykes explained. Developers with their own tooling will be able to plug in, and hundreds of Docker technology partners will have the opportunity to plug in their tooling as well, he said.

The announcements moved Docker deeper into the data center, giving operations staff more reason to accept applications sent their way in the form of containers. Docker, in effect, is no longer building a container system for Linux (and eventually Windows) applications. It's building a new DevOps system, tying developers more closely to their operational counterparts and resolving some issues that have persistently plagued new code deployments.

Golub said in his remarks, that, with developers continuing to flock to the Docker standard and 40,000 projects using Docker listed on Github, Docker is no longer a packaging system. "[I]t's a movement ... Remember, this is only the beginning."