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Following this year’s DockerCon, I find myself reflecting on the state of the big players and how their solutions are evolving and targeting organizations new to embracing containers.
Docker definitely looked the part of a real enterprise player with a lot of the pieces of the commercial puzzle now in place. Docker Compose is coming into its own, while Machine and Swarm continue to chug along. They played nicely with CoreOs and made a big splash with the decision to donate the Docker file image to the newly formed Open Container Project, to be managed by the Linux Foundation. Every big player you can imagine is part of that group including CoreOs and VMware. At the end of the conference they teased the full vision of all the pieces coming together under Project Orca with a UI! However, I expect to see more at DockerCon Europe this November. All together, Docker presented an impressive offering in their second year while cementing their place as the leader of the container revolution.
Docker may be the hot tech powering the container revolution, but Mesosphere was the company that has been able to convince the largest enterprise to make it real in production. Almost every major case study using Docker/containers in production had a component of Mesosphere in it. The truth in these early days remains that the team at Mesosphere has some of the broadest experience in running large-scale workloads due to their backgrounds in university work with High Performance Clusters and early integration of Hadoop frameworks. Mesosphere is definitely the front-runner in the enterprise sweepstakes at the moment.
Shortly before DockerCon, Joyent release their eagerly anticipated code for their Triton solution for container management in the public cloud and bare metal spaces. While it's still very early, the platform looks promising with a lot of cool features built right into the solution out of the gate. Joyent provides a complete end-to-end management and orchestration solution all managed over the screaming performance and enhanced security of Unix Zones. We are just now starting to test the code out with production level workloads, but early results indicate that Joyent is definitely a solution to consider for evolution.
The sheer amount of innovation and cool features that appear on a regular basis in the Rancher project continues to amaze. Rancher is dead simple to install and works without much fuss. The RancherOS is a viable bare metal alternative and, with its support of Native Docker, has become a real contender. The Rancher folks are top-notch and have a great pedigree from their earlier work at Citrix with Cloud Platform. With their newest releases of auto-configuration of networking and enhanced logging capability you have a complete solution that’s easy to manage, allows you to choose your management platform, and will scale with your business as it grows. Rancher today provides a great solution for small and medium businesses looking to have an easy-to-use solution out of the box - definitely one to keep your eye on.
You can’t complete a roundup of the major players without looking at CoreOs and their growing partnership with Intel and Google. Full Disclosure: We have a partnership with both CoreOs and Google Kubernetes. The Tectonic product provides a full stack competition with the new Docker origins, but the inclusion of Kubernetes provides a wide compatibility with a lot of the container integrations that are currently popular. Early testing indicates this is going to be a rock-solid solution offering features enterprise customers need to succeed with containers.
Overall, it’s hard not to be excited about the next 12 months in making containers production ready. While 2014 was about plugging gaps in the stack, it looks like 2015-2016 will be about putting it to work in your datacenter and start reaping the benefits of containers.