For two days, DockerCon Europe 2015 showcased all that was fresh and dewy in the world of Docker. Some of the entries had been announced beforehand, like the intriguing projects that leverage Docker's newly released volume management functions.
But many native and third-party offerings took their first bow at the show. Here's a rundown of the most significant and what they mean for both Docker veterans and newcomers.
Docker Universal Control Plane
What it is: Currently in beta, Docker Universal Control Plane is "an on-premises solution for deploying and managing Dockerized distributed applications in production on any infrastructure." In theory, it provides a single management interface for all of an organization's Docker containers, regardless of where they're running or under what circumstances.
Why it matters: If it fulfills its promises, Universal Control Plane will give IT ops a single Docker-native interface for all the container work they do across the numerous infrastructures they surely deal with. Docker has already made noise that it needs to be enterprise-ready from the get-go -- integration with LDAP/Active Directory, for instance -- so those signing up for the beta are encouraged to give feedback.
Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Platform for Containers
What it is: Rancher Labs, creators of the Docker-powered RancherOS, teamed up with data center solutions provider Redapt to offer the Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Platform for Containers, a "turn-key solution to stand up a complete container service platform in the data center." It offers hardware with storage, compute, and networking, powered by RancherOS, and it's designed to support both VMs and containers. Storage will be managed by Rancher's Persistent Storage Services (in turn built on top of the new storage functions in Docker).
Why it matters: Hyperconverged systems keep compute and storage close together, provide abstractions between software and hardware, and offer the elasticity you'd normally expect from the cloud. A Docker environment that's constructed as a complement to all those goals sounds sensible. The latest version of Docker handles storage via volume drivers, and one of the goals for the feature is support for third-party storage hardware with custom behaviors. It'll be a while before we see tangible results, as Rancher and Redapt are working with a first wave of prospective customers ahead of a release in early 2016.
HPE Helion Development Platform 2.0
What it is: Hewlett Packard Enterprise's public cloud is kaput. In its wake, the company is focusing on delivering private cloud products based on Cloud Foundry as a PaaS and with Docker as a basic unit of application delivery. HPE Helion Development Platform 2.0 is the latest edition of the effort, with continuous delivery and deployment tools built into the package.
Why it matters: HPE's reinvention in the wake of HP's split into two companies has been as a cloud and infrastructure business. Helion's continued development as a private and hybrid cloud project figures into the plan. It remains to be seen whether it'll hold its own against either Pivotal's own Cloud Foundry offerings or Red Hat's increasingly container-focused OpenShift.
What it is: Bitnami Stacksmith generates Dockerfiles for custom applications to share via a unique URL. The resulting applications can be built from existing pieces curated by Bitnami -- language stacks, Web frameworks, database layers, and so on -- with dependencies and versioning specified through a JSON file.
Why it matters: If you're building a Dockerized application out of components Bitnami already has in its library, this will save you the trouble of reassembling existing pieces. It's not revolutionary, but it's certainly handy.
DCHQ On-Premise/DCHQ.io Hosted PaaS
What it is: As the name implies, DCHQ On-Premise/DCHQ.io Hosted PaaS is an on-premise or hosted PaaS designed for managing Dockerized applications throughout their lifecycle. It covers all phases and facets of a product's development -- not only dev and test, but governance and access to resources by team members, backup, monitoring and health, and automatic scaling of infrastructure across multiple cloud environments.
Why it matters: DCHQ believes a major obstacle to enterprise acceptance of Docker isn't the technology, but the lack of control over who has access to what resources in the enterprise for those jobs. DCHQ's tooling deals with both that issue and the business of managing workloads running on multiple clouds. Other products -- such as CliQr CloudCenter -- are aimed at handling that last mission, but DCHQ is focused first on enhancing the use of Docker and its workflow.