Keep it simple please a small hope for the evolution of Docker!

Okay Docker is probably past the hipster stage and the recent announcements from the big players in the Cloud playground gets it to  that next stage we’re not going to go away any time soon respectability. All good but…

I started playing around with Docker purely because I was intrigued as to why containers were suddenly the new hotness ( container tech has been around for a while after all) , it was fun, easy to grok and the potential is huge. Also it was a nice thing to get my hands dirty with in my own time that wasn’t directly (at that time anyway) connected with my day job.

One of the first things I did when I started playing with Docker was test the mantra of write once deploy anywhere so a simple docker image I created on my Mac worked on AWS EC2 and elastic beanstalk and I’ve tried it on Google Cloud too ! It did what it said on the tin with no pain to talk of.

Creating and running simple Docker based applications really is easy but to really exploit the potential creating micro services, knitting them together and creating hugely distributed applications is where I personally feel that Docker comes into its own! However setting up the networking and managing that sort of distributed application architecture using Docker is less than easy and a lot of side projects have popped up to address these pain points.

Basically managing containers at scale is hard and having players who can and have been running things at scale for years come in with managed services in this area is great as it saves disappointment setting in as the effort in building out these micro services in a highly available way leads to frustration after the ease in developing the apps is replaced with the effort needed to get it just to run properly in a HA distributed configuration.

Deving (is this even a word?) locally you can  take your pick for starters among chef , puppet , ansible , saltsack, vagarant , fig or just stick to boot2docker(with a little bash around it) . There is even a pretty GUI based solution just for using on your Mac

Coming more from the Ops than Dev side I have always had a   keen interest  around  the deployment  and management of solutions. Thus I have  managed some hands on with the likes of Kubernetes and panamax so far. ( There really isn’t enough spare time to play around with everything I would like to). There is a list of potential solutions in this area.  The managed services side of things takes care of what solution in this area you choose which imho kinda makes sense as you should just worry about your application and let someone else take care of the managing this at scale which ultimately  gives you no business advantages in focusing on that area!

This is what is great about Docker you have this unit that you can use with what ever wrappers around it the ecosystem can come up with.

Recently though there have been some concerns about what and how Docker should evolve and my concern is that if they bloat it too much and add too many bells and whistles the simple idea of build once run anywhere won’t be so sweet .

Three areas this concern has really bubbled up to the surface are:

The incorporation of fig  like functionality into Docker itself ( I like the way this one is developing)

Docker clustering

Docker extensibility 

The good thing is though is that this is all being discussed in the open. Read the comments and see how the discussion is going with these and you can join in the conversation too.

Docker needs to allow the ecosystem to thrive and thus functionality that is best delivered around Docker via a plugin approach has surely got to be the right route here else we’ll start seeing forks and the phenomenal momentum and support from the ecosystem may start splintering into different camps as Docker takes on more and cannot deliver on it’s original promise of “Build, ship and run any app anywhere” as the targets all run ‘optimised’ versions of Docker for their platforms.


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