Chris Short recently wrote up a piece entitled Docker, Inc is Dead, with a prediction that the company would no longer exist sometime in 2018. It's well written and he does a good job of running through some of Docker's history in recent years. Although I agree with some of his sentiments, I don't think Docker, Inc will exit the stage anytime soon. Here are some reasons I think Docker, Inc will live a healthy life in 2018.
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Docker is Good Software
This was the first point in Chris's piece, and he's right. Docker definitely helped widen the spotlight on *n?x kernels. Discussions around namespaces, cgroups, lxc, zones, jails, etc... lit up across communities in different disciplines. Dockers' simple interface lowered the barrier of entry for non-administrators, and the developer community immediately added it to their workflows. Docker released EE/UCP, and larger organizations jumped on board. It "is" good software for developers, SMB's, and large organizations, and Docker, Inc isn't slowing down development efforts.
Docker Has Friends
"I'm really excited to welcome Solomon and Docker to the Kubernetes community". Brendan Burns (of Microsoft, Lead Engineer of Kubernetes) definitely made me do a double-take when he said that on stage at DockerCon EU a few months ago. Many people I spoke to at the conference referenced that statement and saw this as a big blow to Docker. "Who's joining who's the community? " The thing is, the real purpose of Brendan's talk was about the collaboration between companies, and the effort to make our lives as developers and administrators better. The whole "it takes a village to raise a child" saying. This village is composed of some of the brightest engineers from many of the world's largest companies, and they're all striving to make things better. Docker and Kubernetes worked together, and the Kubernetes integration into UCP made perfect sense.
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Docker Has Business
They don't have a lack of coherent leadership. They've received a ton of money, their marketing is great, and they're acting like what they are; a rapidly growing company moving into the enterprise market. Were some of their keynotes awkward at DockerCon EU this year? Yes. Were there fantastic sessions from customers who shared real-life Docker success stories? Yes. Have they made some mistakes here and there? Yes. Have they moved past those and grown? Yes. If you've been around the block and watched small companies rapidly grow into behemoths, this is all typical. Growing isn't easy. Their "Modernizing Enterprise Applications" mantra is perfect. There are countless technical budgets from Fortune 10,000 companies that Docker, Inc will capitalize on. The best part is that they'll actually be making a positive difference. They are not snake-oil salesmen. These companies will probably see real ROI in their engagements.
Docker, Inc isn't going to be acquired (yet) or close its doors. There is a lot going on at Docker, Inc right now but they aren't signs of a company that is getting ready for a sale.
It's a company that's based on OSS with a lot of opportunity in the market. While one of the products at Iron is Docker-based, we use a wide variety of software from many companies with roots in OSS. We're happy to pay for a higher level of support and features for OSS software backed by a business. For other projects, we often donate through Open Collective to help maintainers and small development teams. Docker's donation of containers was a great move and I think it is a project that fits perfectly into CNCF's charter.
While Docker, Inc is moving upstream, they haven't at all abandoned its real users; developers. We use Docker daily, contribute back when we can, and are optimistic about its trajectory as a business and a product. Docker, Inc has a lot of room to grow, and in 2018, it will.
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