Can’t Contain(erize) the Hype – is Docker real or a bubble?

Editorial Note: This was written in April 2014.  Check out how we are using Docker in our latest architectures.

The new application portability darling, Docker, was so popular at this week’s Red Hat Summit that I was expecting Miley Cyrus’ flock of paparazzi to abandon in her favor of Ben Golub.

Personally, I find Docker to be a useful tool and we’ve been embedding it into our dev and test processes in useful ways for DefCore TCUP (at Conference), OpenCrowbar Admin and Dev Nodes.  To me, these are concrete and clear use cases.

There are clearly a lot more great use-cases for Docker, but I can’t help but feel like it’s being thrown into architectural layer cakes and markitectures as a substitute for the non-words “cloud”, “amazing” and “revolutionary.”

How do I distinguish hot from hype?  I look for places where Docker is solving just one problem set instead being a magic wand solution to a raft of systemic issues.

Places where I think Docker is potent and disruptive

  • Creating a portable and consistent environment for dev, test and delivery
  • Helping Linux distros keep updating the kernel without breaking user space (RHEL 7 anyone?)
  • Reducing the virtualization overhead of tenant isolation (containers are lighter)
  • Reducing the virtualization overhead for DevOps developers testing multi-node deployments

But I’m concerned that we’re expecting too many silver bullets

  • Packaging is still tricky:  Creating a locked box helps solve part of downstream problem (you know what you have) but not the upstream problem (you don’t know what you depend on).
  • Container sprawl: Breaking deployments into more functional discrete parts is smart, but that means we have MORE PARTS to manage.   There’s an inflection point between separation of concerns and sprawl.
  • PaaS Adoption: Docker helps with PaaS but it does not solve neither the “you have to model your apps for a PaaS” nor the “PaaS needs scalable data services” problems

Speaking of Miley Cyrus, it’s not the container that matters, but what’s on the inside.  Docker can take a lesson from Miley: attention is great but you’ve still got to be able to sing.    I’m not sure about Miley, but I am digging the tracks that Docker is laying down.  Docker is worth putting on your play list.

5 thoughts on “Can’t Contain(erize) the Hype – is Docker real or a bubble?

  1. Pingback: The Evolution of Cloud Computing and Security – CF010 | The Average Guy Network

  2. Pingback: 2015, the year cloud died. Meet the seven riders of the cloudocalypse | Rob Hirschfeld

  3. Pingback: As Docker rises above (and disrupts) clouds, I’m thinking about their community landscape | Rob Hirschfeld

  4. Pingback: Docker Swarm Cluster Ops – focus on using, not building, with standard automation | Rob Hirschfeld

  5. Pingback: Containers vs. virtual machines: How to tell which is the right choice for your enterprise | Exalticor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s