Docker, an open source project providing a way to automate the deployment of Linux applications inside portable containers, is generating a lot of excitement. The underlying approach is not new: We've been using containers for years to componentize whole systems, abstracting them from the physical platform, so you can move them from platform to platform. But Docker brings the container approach to the cloud, so you can move Linux applications from cloud to cloud.
Docker is a much lighter-weight approach to application portability than we've had before. Docker extends a common container format called Linux Containers with a Linux kernel and a high-level API that together run processes in isolation: CPU, memory, I/O, network, and so on. Docker also provides namespaces to completely isolate an application's view of the operating environment, including process trees, network, user IDs, and file systems.
[ Cloud computing shares resources that were never shared before, creating a new set of risks and demanding a new set of security best practices. Learn those new security practices from Cloud Security Digital Spotlight PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]
Docker's lightweight platform abstraction is much more efficient than traditional VMs for creating workload bundles that are transportable from cloud to cloud. In many cases, virtualization is too cumbersome for cloud portability.
However, it will take some time before we see developers and cloud platform providers getting good at using Docker. Thus, you may want to take a wait-and-see approach, at least this year. Chances are more technology will hit the streets using Docker, making it more bulletproof.
But as Docker matures, it'll become a key part of your cloud environment.
This article, "Docker will make cloud apps portable -- next year," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.