Five ways Docker is taking over the world

Docker is more than a fad -- it's a real-deal technology finding widespread adoption and creating its own ecosystem

In a little more than a year, Docker has gone from being a new kid on the block to a widely used and respected technology. For any project to become that big a draw in so short a time is an eye-opener, but evidence suggests Docker's growth is the real thing -- the creation of a standardized software platform for delivering apps at scale. Here are five signs of how Docker's rise is not likely to be mere faddism.

1. Docker usage
The most direct and obvious sign of Docker's success is where and how widely it's being used. Multiple cloud providers support it directly, and Google is one of the most visible and active. Rackspace is in the game as well, using it internally for a plethora of functions. Even Microsoft's Azure is now Docker-friendly, which has provoked speculation over whether Docker will someday run on Windows itself.

2. The proliferation of Docker-related services
Within the first year of Docker's existence, a slew of third-party services popped into existence, all of them revolving around how to use Docker better. One of those outfits, Orchard, was recently acquired by Docker, though mainly for the sake of adding the company's Fig tool to Docker's roster of APIs and technologies. (The service itself is being scrapped.)

3. Direct contributions to Docker
Docker's statistics on GitHub speak most loudly about the degree of participation around Docker -- there's a great deal of it, which is a heartening sign for such a young project. The New Stack took a closer look at the stats and found a mix of outfits both big and small contributing back to Docker and filing issues for the project. Some, like OpenShift, Google, or Red Hat's Project Atomic (more on them below), were major outfits leveraging Docker as a key part of their infrastructure. Smaller outfits like Foswiki also figured heavily.

4. The growth of side projects involving Docker
Consider Google's involvement with Docker, which goes beyond offering support for it in Google cloud services and now includes one of Docker's most significant third-party projects, Kubernetes. That project has started to garner a good deal of big-name, third-party support as well. The Apache Mesos cluster-management project is also getting support for Docker, with Google adding that into its own roster of platform tools as well.

5. OS-level support
Two major operating system projects have already started integrating Docker as a fundamental part of how they work. CoreOS uses Docker to create a pared-down Linux distribution -- one now available on Google Cloud Platform, appropriately enough -- where all software is bundled into Docker containers. Red Hat's already started building major support for Docker into Red Hat Enterprise Linux and has plans for a major reworking of RHEL around Docker, Project Atomic. It'll be interesting to see how Red Hat's paring-down of an existing and established OS fares against CoreOS's build-from-scratch approach, with Docker at the core of both.

This story, "Five ways Docker is taking over the world," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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