AWS squares up against Google in the Docker war

Docker is too new to gain massive enterprise adoption, but Amazon joins Google in providing the technology for when that time comes

At Amazon.com's re:Invent conference last week, CTO Werner Vogels announced Amazon EC2 Container Service, which he said would squeeze the complexity out of scheduling and maintaining Docker containers. The container service itself will be free, but you'll pay for the EC2 resources used.

Most people in the cloud industry saw this announcement coming from miles away. Containers are the flavor of the month in the cloud, and AWS needed a stronger position on containers to hold its own against Microsoft and Google.

Container Service's focus is on scheduling, which is difficult when using containers. As it stands, you have to assign the right resources per container. When you try to roll them back, mistakes can ensue. AWS wants to solve that part of the container problem.

However, Google's Kubernetes, created to manage Docker containers, has been the poster child for Docker and other containers. Kubernetes gets a group hug from most cloud companies -- but, of course, not from AWS. To overcome Kubernetes, AWS will have to show some secret sauce and innovation that has not yet been addressed in this niche to gain critical enterprise adoption.

Although containers are a solid architectural approach for managing cloud-based distributed applications and infrastructure, they're still confusing to those in enterprise IT who do not quite get cloud computing. Indeed, we're in a phase where the cloud providers are driving the excitement behind containers, but not seeing massive deployments within the enterprises -- yet.

Enterprises watching the lines drawn on the container battlefield are more likely to wait until the initial battles are over before jumping into the use of containers. This doesn't mean there won't be early adopters or proof-of-concept prototypes, but the larger game-changing deployments won't show up until 2016.

Any technology has to have a pragmatic mission, and the value drivers must be well understood. We're not there yet with Docker. However, it will be fun to watch the war rage for at least the next two years.

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