Dockercon was one of the most exciting, energizing, invigorating, and exhausting conferences I've attended. The crowds, keynotes, the technology, and the whales, created a fantastic atmosphere. In an incredibly short period of time Docker has managed to rivet the attention and interest of the cloud world. I feel moved to briefly share a few of my reactions to this event.
How Many Out There Are Using Docker?
I'll start with a comment from last month’s OpenStack Summit event. During the opening keynote one of the speakers asked the 6,000 person audience "How many people here are interested in learning more about Docker?" It seemed like almost everyone in the room put their hand up - the room was a sea of arms. Then he asked "How many are using Docker in production?" and almost all hands shot down. From where I was sitting I could only see 10 hands remaining up. And probably half of those were from Stackato users.
Solomon Hykes, Docker creator and founder, opened his DockerCon keynote with a similar question: "How many folks out there are using Docker now?" Again, the room was swimming with upraised hands. I was hoping he would also ask how many were using it in production, but instead his question was, "How many are using just Docker, with no additional tools?" All hands went down - I don't believe there was a single hand left in the air.
Of course it's almost impossible to use Docker without other tools - "vi" for instance, or a shell. But the point he was making was that tools to manage and orchestrate Docker are as important part of the Docker ecosystem as Docker is itself. And that turned out to be a main theme of the conference.
So Much Going On
I discovered lots of things at DockerCon:
- The new Docker Plugins mechanism, providing a standardized way to extend Docker with third-party functionality, for example to enhance network capabilities or volume management.
- The formation of the Open Container Project to standardize container runtime and image formats, supported by Docker and by CoreOS.
- The really cool universal container runtime runC, a reference implementation of the OCF specification
- The Docker Network project is the new networking system for Docker engine, opening up new communication channels between containers spanning hosts.
- Project Notary allows gives producers and consumers the assurance that the bits their consuming/producing are authentic and genuine.
But the most interesting thing for me was Project Orca which looks fascinating as it brings everything together for complete configuration, deployment, installation, and delivery of a full-stack application, managing the pieces such as Docker itself, the Docker Engine, Docker Compose, Docker Swarm, Networking, and providing a slick user interface to do so. These developments will clearly have significant impact on development in short order.
And what's really amazing is that Docker (the company) has, or will, contribute almost all of this powerful and revolutionary code to open source.
Powerful, but Experimental
This is powerful stuff, and the fact that the US Government has publicly committed to adopting Docker across their entire US General Services Administration (GSA) division is a great testament to the power and adoption of Docker. But as can be expected at this still very early phase of Docker's existence (it's only been 2 years after all) much of the technology that was discussed at this event was earmarked as being on the "experimental channel." Meaning, don't use it in production.
By far the most challenging part of this event for me was having to stand in the vendor area, a narrow, hot and stifling hallway jammed with people coming to/from the sessions trying to learn more about the technologies being showcased. At times I felt I was on the Tokyo Subway train - that's how packed it was. And it was loud too.
Strangely, it turned out those spirited times in the vendor area were the most gratifying part of the show. Reason: I talked to attendee after attendee who would approach the booth, and after a short, but very loud discussion, their eyes would light up when they realized that much of what was being presented and discussed at the show, which was clearly awesome but experimental, is actually available now in Stackato (without the experimental part). For example the ability to instantly orchestrate, manage, scale, and connect containers together in order to rapidly build and deliver secure, available, and enterprise-ready software. For those who want to manage Docker apps now, and are looking for enterprise-ready capabilities, Stackato is without a doubt the fastest way to get there.
DockerCon 2016 Here I Come
Adoption of Docker is growing at an unprecedented rate. Attendance at DockerCon is doing the same - last year there were 550 attendees, this year there were four times that many. At this rate DockerCon is going to be huge. At the same time the Docker ecosystem will continue to thrive and grow, and only become more essential to successful software development.
I can’t wait until next year’s show.