Docker has racked up another acquisition: Tutum, a service for delivering Docker containers into production on nearly any cloud or host.
Scott Jonston, senior vice president of product for Docker, cited user control of the "last mile of the app delivery pipeline" -- the route from development into production -- as the main reason for picking up Tutum.
Docker's previous acquisitions, including Orchard and Kitematic, produced tools designed for easier Docker management. The same philosophy is at work with Tutum, but this time Docker is acquiring an entire service, not simply a piece of software, and merging it with Docker's branded offerings.
Tutum's deployment systems can be accessed through a GUI, a command-line interface, or a RESTful API that hooks into the existing public Docker APIs. The services include provisioning, deployment, and management of existing containers (monitoring, logging, rotating, and updating). Theoretically, any hosting environment will work, though Tutum explicitly notes support for Microsoft Azure, Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and SoftLayer.
The process of delivering a container to production has remained unpolished in the Docker ecosystem since its inception, said Johnston. Many customers cobbled together several solutions to navigate this last stage of deployment -- "custom scripts, glue code, or even manually jumping on the command line" -- and using yet another patchwork of tools for monitoring and logging.
Docker gravitated toward Tutum, according to Johnston, because three characteristics had stood out over the course of the two companies' collaboration: "very, very thoughtful product development and product experiences," with an emphasis on a strong user experience, and a team that shared Docker's vision about how to build, ship, and run apps.
Before formally relocating Tutum's team to Docker's HQ, estimated to take about a year, Tutum's services will be integrated with Docker Hub.
One likely criticism of the acquisition, especially in light of Tutum's services being made part and parcel of Docker: Would competing solutions suffer as Tutum is presented as a default for deployment? Johnston acknowledged that Tutum will be a part of the core Docker team, but other options for deployment and management will remain available.
"This is one tool chain that users can take advantage of," said Johnston, "but it's not the only tool chain, and it doesn't exclude other tool chains from participating in the process." Tutum hooks into the same public APIs as any other Docker tool, and it can pull containers from any repository that conforms to those APIs. However, there's a significant advantage in being an integral part of Docker as it's provided to both new and experienced users.