Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Friday, November 17, 2017
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Docker Adds Kubernetes Support 

The long-running (by enterprise IT standards) competition between the Google-backed Kubernetes container orchestrator and Docker's Swarm appears to have a winner: Docker announced this week the enterprise edition of its pioneering application container platform would offer native support for Kubernetes.

The endorsement likely makes Kubernetes the de facto industry standard for container orchestration, a key tool for using the traffic control technology for production workloads, observers noted.

Docker surprised the highly competitive micro-services sector by announcing at a company event this week it is integrating Kubernetes into the Docker container platform, giving users the option of deploying containers with either Kubernetes or its Swarm orchestration tool. Both orchestrators will now run on top of Docker's containerd runtime.

Docker's enterprise edition integrates Kubernetes components for configuration and management needed for "streamlining operational workflows for Kubernetes as well as Swarm," the San Francisco-based company announced Tuesday (Oct. 17).

Citing strong user feedback Solomon Hykes, Docker's founder and chief product officer, noted in a statement: "The addition of Kubernetes as an option alongside Swarm gives our users and customers the ability to make an orchestration choice with the added security, management and end-to-end Docker experience that they've come to expect from Docker since the very beginning. We look forward to working with the Kubernetes community to help users, partners and customers achieve the full benefits of the containerization revolution."

The addition of Kubernetes means developers can build applications with Docker and deploy them with either Docker Swarm or Kubernetes. The company said most of the Kubernetes integration is handled under Docker's Moby Project, an open framework for assembling container platforms.

The move responds to growing momentum for Kubernetes as application containers enter the mainstream. An industry survey released in June by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation found that Kubernetes was by a wide margin the preferred container orchestrator, followed by Docker Swarm and Mesos.(Mesosphere added support for Kubernetes last month in the latest update of its datacenter operating system.)

"Containers are being used across a variety of development stages, with a vast majority of companies continuing to increase their use of Kubernetes for development and testing where we’ve seen huge growth over the last year," the foundation reported.

Those findings were reinforced by the annual OpenStack user survey released in April. The poll found that 47 percent were using Kubernetes in either production, development or in the conceptual phase. Docker Swarm was used by only 14 percent of OpenStack users, the survey found.

Hence, observers noted, Docker saw the handwriting on the wall, adding native support for Kubernetes in its upcoming enterprise platform. The "circle [has] come to close" for container orchestration, tweeted Kubernetes co-founder Craig McLuckie, who know heads the startup Heptio.

Registration for the beta version of Docker enterprise edition with native Kubernetes support is available here.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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