Making Docker Ops Awesome with Swarm and Joyent

February 26, 2015 - by Bill Fine

Docker on a laptop is awesome. Developers love it because it simplifies their lives. Docker for the Ops team, however, is still too hard. Moving applications composed of multiple containers from a developer’s laptop into production remains challenging. Those challenges grow as applications scale beyond a single host, introducing additional networking, deployment, and host management concerns, and they continue to mount as we adopt microservices patterns that require yet more containers.

For Docker to truly become the revolutionary technology it promises to be, the Docker Ops experience needs to become as simple as the Docker Dev experience. And, that is why we are excited about Docker Swarm. It will help make Docker Ops simple.

At Joyent, we are in the business of providing container infrastructure as a service. Our mission is to be the best place to run your Docker containers. We live and breathe the Docker Ops experience and are busy working on solutions to simplify some of its complexities. Our focus is on providing a simple run-time environment for Docker that delivers security, software defined networking and bare metal performance to containers. See for yourself by previewing our Elastic Container Infrastructure Service, checking out our public cloud or spinning up our SmartDataCenter solution in your data center.

As excited as we are about the progress we are making in the areas of security, performance and networking (see Bryan Cantrill’s recent talk if you want to learn more), we realize that there are other dragons that need slaying before Docker Ops becomes awesome. One of the biggest and baddest of those dragons is the composition and scheduling of Docker containers across a variety of Docker run-time end points. While there are other products that attempt to solve the scheduling and portability problem, we find them to be too heavy and complex for most of our customers. So, we have been following the development of Docker Swarm with both great interest and great hope.

Over the past couple of weeks we tested Docker Swarm in our lab and held discussions with the Docker team regarding the roadmap for Swarm. We’ve been amazed at how far both the current product and the product vision have evolved since we first started looking at Docker Swarm in earnest after DockerCon EU in December. We are truly excited about the rapid evolution of features like service discovery and the ability to define placement strategies that enable portability between public and private clouds. All of this in just two months!

Work remains to be done, by Docker, Joyent and others in the Docker ecosystem, to make the Docker Ops experience as simple and awesome as the Docker Dev experience. But, with the rapid advancement of Docker Swarm and other Docker driven projects like Compose, together with work that Joyent is doing in the areas of security, networking and performance, the Docker Ops experience is about to get a whole lot simpler.