Late last year, Docker snapped up cross-cloud container management service Tutum, but it wasn't clear how the acquired company's handiwork would manifest under the Docker brand.
Earlier this week, we found out: Tutum reemerged as Docker Cloud amid little fanfare, but with more than only the badges swapped on the product. Cloud now cross-integrates with all of Docker's other services, and Docker promises to unveil more features for shortly.
The significance of Docker Cloud resides is more than the feature set alone. Here are four other reasons why Docker Cloud is a bigger deal than its low-key release might suggest.
1. Docker Cloud provides a single toolset for working with containers on multiple clouds
If multicloud environments are becoming the norm, so are the management headaches associated with them. The more universal the tools to manage multiple clouds, the more likely they are to be adopted across the board -- especially if they're an outgrowth of an item already in use.
Docker Cloud is exactly such an abstraction, boosted by Docker's existing user base. Those who start learning Docker now will be introduced to Docker Cloud as one of the tools most readily available for the job. It doesn't cover everything (yet), but it's not meant to -- and sometimes, "just enough" tooling is all you need.
2. Multicloud management is a growth market
Docker picked the right time to get into the right market. Enterprises rarely deal with only one cloud at a time, and delivering applications across multiple clouds has become the domain of several specialized tools.
Again, Docker Cloud doesn't cover everything, but that's the point. It deals specifically with deploying and managing Docker containers, as opposed to a more general end-to-end application management solution like HashiCorp's Atlas. That might limit Docker Cloud's appeal, but those concentrating on using Docker now have an easy way to get started based on a familiar toolset.
3. Docker wants to solve cloud application mobility at a high level
Moving applications between clouds is an unpleasant experience at best. The less you have to deal with the individual details of a given cloud, the better. Docker Cloud wants to abstract away most of those details, but it'll have to fulfill a few requirements first.
For one, Docker Cloud has to stack up favorably against existing container deployment solutions -- or at least be lighter-weight. It'll also have to not add complexity or aggravate any of Docker's existing limitations, of which there remains quite a few. (The question isn't whether those limitations can be overcome with time; it's whether by that point other tools will have moved in to do the job better.)
4. It helps Docker capture a larger segment of new users
Hand-in-hand with the growth of Docker as a technology we've seen the growth of Docker as a company and a brand name. Between outside acquisitions (not only Tutum but Socketplane, Kitematic, and Unikernel Systems) and internal development, Docker's lineup has mushroomed.
The result: Someone coming into the Docker ecosystem for the first time in 2016 will be faced with far more reasons to use the Docker-branded portions than someone who came in this time last year. There's more of it, for one, and it covers many more use cases, scenarios, and pain points.
This is all by design. If the Docker technology is a growth market -- all signs show it is -- it behooves Docker the company to capture as many of its new users as possible and as early as possible, and to present them with items worth paying for.