Docker expands its toolset as container adoption gathers pace


Container technology continues to gather pace in the enterprise. Docker, the company at the forefront of the Linux container movement, last week announced a major update to the Docker Hub service that aims to automate developer’s workflows and claimed its technology was seeing significant adoption. Alongside this, workload management specialist Univa Corp. has incorporated Docker containers into its Grid Engine container platform’s resource manager.

Docker said it’s witnessing a growing number of open-source startups embrace Docker containers in their latest product upgrades in response to user demand. The reasons behind this demand are numerous – proponents of Docker stress the technology’s ability to isolate workflow components into a single container as one of its biggest advantages. Besides this, users often spin up containers to test changes and updates in distributed applications. Another advantage for users is Docker’s ability to maintain inventories of current and historical images, and its ability to share said images among developers.

As a result of this demand, Docker said its seen Docker Hub usage grow by more than 390 percent in the last year, with 480 percent growth in applications and more than 17,000 ecosystem partners including companies like Amazon Web Services, IBM, Rackspace Inc. and VMware Inc. This momentum, it says, is a sign that container hype is rapidly giving way to wider adoption and deployments in production environments.

Docker said the updated Docker Hub includes a new application architecture plus a revamped “front-end technology stack”. The Docker Hub is used to integrate source code management and to build and test tools with the aim of speeding up development cycles. By reducing the time to deployment from days to mere minutes, Docker says users have been able to significantly accelerate the shipping of applications.

The company said the updates to Docker Hub’s architecture and technology stack were necessary due to the unforeseen adoption and usage it’s experiencing. It’s also planning additional upgrades as usage soars, Docker exec Marianna Tessel explained to the Application Development Trends blog. She said that as more developers adopt containers, IT managers are rusing to incorporate them into enterprise production environments, and that requires new orchestration and scheduling software alongside configuration and management tools.

To meet that demand, a number of schedulers and resource managers have emerged to support Docker containers in production environments. These include Univa’s Grid Engine cluster which manages the data center resources used by containers. The platform is designed to work on most IT infrastructures and operating systems, and can handle “thousands” of applications and frameworks, scheduling Docker containers as required so shared resources can be prioritized for the most critical workloads.

Essentially, Univa’s Grid Engine is a tool that helps to “containerize” data centers, the company said. The update offers new functionality that should allow for containers to be run at scale, and be “blended” with other workloads.

Univa counts the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CGR) in Barcelona, Spain, among its customers. The CGR uses Grid Engine to deploy containers to conduct “scientific data analysis on distributed clusters”, Univa said.

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