Docker’s new enterprise edition gives containers an out-of-the-box experience

When it comes to implementing a system like Docker’s container platform, it normally takes a very particular set of technical skills. Docker wants to remove some of the complexity involved in running their product set, and to that end released Docker Enterprise Edition today.

Think of the enterprise edition as a package of tools designed to work seamlessly across any supported flavor of Linux or Windows or cloud platform such as AWS or Microsoft Azure. Docker claims users can move apps between these platforms without any recoding.

If it works out of the box as described, it should simplify container lifecycle management for both developers and operations staff. Docker began life as a container platform for Linux developers, so this represents a big move to support a variety of platforms and approaches found across the typical enterprise. The company is still offering a free Community Edition, but as you would expect, it doesn’t support the same range of platforms found in the paid Enterprise Edition.


Photo: Docker

It’s important to understand that Docker had an enterprise product of sorts prior to the release of this one, but that functionality has been incorporated into this new Docker Enterprise Edition, according to David Messina, Docker’s SVP of marketing. That previous enterprise product was Docker Datacenter, which is now part of a modular bundle in the enterprise edition. “Docker Datacenter was the foundation for our [previous] commercially supported engine. What is now being packaged is an evolution of what we sold previously, but also part of an entirely new product,” Messina explained.

The company also announced a new release numbering system and release cadence. Instead of a sequential numbering system, the new one uses the year and the month to identify the version more clearly. For instance, the one being released today is called 1703 for March, 2017 and the one in June will be called 1706 and so forth.

In addition, Docker will offer different release cycles depending on the job. That means developers can subscribe to a monthly release channel to keep on top of the latest and greatest, while operations staff can subscribe to the quarterly release channel for greater stability. Docker will support the quarterly releases for one year.

Within the Enterprise Edition, the company is offering three pricing tiers with a basic, standard (which includes the previously mentioned Docker Datacenter product) and an advanced product with all of the enterprise bells and whistles.

In addition, the company is announcing a new Docker Store, where it will offer certified third-party products with the idea of providing an organized commercial outlet for their partners. “A big value [of the store] is that certification is tied to it, and that enables the ecosystem partners to share in commercial success,” he said. As for customers, they can be sure whatever is being offered in the store has been certified by Docker to work correctly.

The combination of the two announcements is about creating a simpler way for enterprise customers to incorporate the Docker product set and third-party add-ons into a complex environment.