Docker and the search for the Holy Grail

December 9th, 2014 § 0 comments

Ben Thompson has an interesting article about the open source project Docker.

The implications of this are far-reaching: not only do containers make it easier to manage the lifecycle of an application, they also (theoretically) commoditize cloud services through the age-old hope of “write once run anywhere.” More importantly, at least for now, docker containers offer the potential of being far more efficient than virtual machines.

I’ve always considered “write once run anywhere” to be the holy grail of software development. Yeah, it would be pretty awesome to live forever, the only problem is that it’s a myth. There is something different about Docker though that I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it’s the use of one my favorite inventions of the 20th century, the shipping container.

It doesn’t matter what is inside of a shipping container; the container itself will fit on any ship, truck, or crane in the world. Similarly, it doesn’t matter what app (and associated files, frameworks, dependencies, etc.) is inside of a docker container; the container will run on any Linux distribution and, more importantly, just about every cloud provider including AWS, Azure, Google Apps, Rackspace, etc.

I also like the logo.

But perhaps it’s the business model that intrigues me the most .

Docker takes the GitHub model a step further: the company controls everything from the open source project itself to the value-added software (DockerHub) built on top of that, and, just last week, announced a monetization model that is very similar to GitHub’s enterprise offering. Presuming Docker continues its present momentum and finds success with this enterprise offering, they have the potential to be a fully integrated open source software company: project, value-added software, and monetization all rolled into one.


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