Docker's partner relationships are likely to change following the announcement this week of Docker Engine 1.12, which builds more orchestration features into the core Docker container platform.

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

June 21, 2016

2 Min Read
Docker 1.12 Orchestration Features Mean Fewer Channel Partner Options

Docker‘s partner relationships are likely to change following the announcement this week of Docker Engine 1.12, which builds more orchestration features into the core Docker container platform.

The change, which Docker announced on day one of DockerCon 2016, is a relatively big one for Docker from both a technological and a business perspective. Here’s why the news matters in each of these respects.

Orchestration Technology

Previously, Docker users had to rely on independent tools for container orchestration. Kubernetes, a platform developed by Google, was one major option. Apache Mesos was another. And there are plenty of additional contenders.

With the Docker Engine 1.12 release, however, orchestration comes built in to Docker itself. That makes the Docker platform more expansive, while adding yet another orchestration option to the container landscape.

Partner Solutions

And that brings us to why the Docker Engine 1.12 announcement matters for the channel.

In short, it means that Docker will now no longer have to rely on partners or third-party platforms to fill one crucial part of the enterprise container deployment stack. Instead, Docker will now be providing both the containers themselves and the orchestration tools needed to deploy them at scale.

To be sure, there’s nothing stopping users from continuing to orchestrate Docker containers using Kubernetes, Mesos or another third-party tool. But they’ll have less of an incentive to do that now that orchestration is available from Docker itself.

Combined with Docker’s container registry cloud, Docker Hub, the Docker Engine 1.12 announcement means that the Docker landscape is looking increasingly like one in which Docker controls all of the core technology. Companies that want to partner with Docker or deploy Docker-based value-added products will now have to look closer to the periphery of the container ecosystem in order to find opportunities.

The news also makes Docker look less like CoreOS, Docker’s main competitor on the container front. While CoreOS is developing some open source, home-grown container tools, like Torus, in order to build out its ecosystem, it also relies heavily on third-party orchestration solutions, especially Kubernetes.

Docker Engine 1.12 is part of the Docker 1.12, which is not yet available. Docker says a release candidate should appear next month.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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