Docker Inc., the company that triggered the container movement, has released the second version of Docker Enterprise Edition.

In 2017, Docker rebranded Docker Commercially Supported (CS) edition as the Docker Enterprise Edition (EE) and the Docker Engine became the Docker CE (Community Edition). This rebranding allowed Docker to successfully build a business strategy around Docker.

“Docker Enterprise Edition is more than the CS Engine, as we’ve built a complete certification program around it for both container content and platform plugins on the Docker platform and announced partners,” said David Messina, CMO at Docker Inc. told me in an interview.

Fast forward to 2018, Docker EE has more than 450 customers that include some big names from different industries. As the customer list of Docker is growing, so is their demands. We all know Kubernetes has become a phenomenon technology that’s cutting across so many spaces that it’s being called the Linux of the cloud. Docker also felt a growing demand from its users to support Kubernetes, which competes with their own container orchestrator called Swarm.

Last year, at DockerCon, the company announced support for Kubernetes in Docker EE. The company also offered a preview to gather customer feedback. Docker EE 2.0, is built on top of the feedback Docker received from its customers. With this release, Kubernetes has become the first class citizen in Dockerland. Customers can use either Swarm or Kubernetes, depending on their workflow.

The integration of Kubernetes will further fuel the heating competition between Docker and its arch-rival Red Hat that offers Kubernetes based OpenShift.

“Our competitors are PaaS providers who sell software that start to include docker containerization at a later stage in their development cycle. These platforms tend to lock you into specific Linux distribution or their cloud platform, with Docker EE users break that vendor lock-in and get to choose the platforms and cloud they want,” said Messina. “By integrating Kubernetes into the platform we have ensured that customers who want to invest in a container platform can run it on multiple Linux distributions. It cuts across multiple operating systems and multiple clouds. But when we look at PaaS providers, none are offering this kind of flexibility. If you are the CIO, you don’t want operational silos.”

Why would customers want to use Docker EE? What value does Docker Inc. bring to the table?

Today most organizations have a multi-cloud strategy, they use a hybrid cloud where they mix and match technologies coming from different sources.  “Docker EE is the only solution that is certified across multiple Linux distributions, Windows Server, and multiple public clouds, enabling you to support the broadest set of applications to be containerized and freedom to deploy it wherever you need,” wrote Vivek Saraswat, Sr. Product Manager at Docker.

Many features of this release are aligned towards scaling out operations around containers strategy on a global basis. According to Messina, the two most prominent areas that enterprise cares about are secure application zones and ability to scale.

“Docker environment is one of the most secure environments because of all the capabilities that we have from developers all the way to operations. Signing up from desktop to automated image promotion, that is based on who signed what. Our customers want security automation capabilities that can scale across the enterprise,” said Messina.

“Additionally with Docker EE 2.0, administrators can enforce rules around which applications are allowed to be deployed. Only images that have been signed off by the right tools or teams will be allowed to run in production. These are automated processes that enforce governance without adding any manual bottlenecks to the delivery process,” explains Saraswat.

“One way that Docker helps you scale is with efficient multi-tenancy that doesn’t require building new clusters,” says Saraswat, “By integrating with your corporate LDAP and Active Directory systems and setting resource access policies, you can get both logical and physical separation for different teams within the same cluster. For a Kubernetes deployment, this is a simple way to align Namespaces and nodes.”

Docker EE has evolved into a platform that enterprises are using fairly broadly; it’s set up to meet the needs of the global enterprise.

Docker 2.0 does take Docker’s business strategy to the next phase. But EE is not the only product that the company has in its arsenal. MTA (modernizing traditional apps) is another Docker solution that solves real-life problems for customers still running traditional applications.

It will be truly exciting to see what Docker packs in version 3.0.

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