Technically Speaking

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Is Docker Just for Small Biz, or Can Enterprises Take Advantage Too?

Introduced in 2013, Docker took on quickly in startups and small businesses. Originally developed to work with Linux operating systems, the new company quickly developed versions compatible with both Windows and Mac systems. It was especially popular with developers of new apps, and there were concerns about using it in enterprise environments where compatibility with legacy apps was in question. True to its innovative nature, Docker quickly adapted, and now has become a viable option to virtualization, capable of scaling to any size organization.

What Docker Is

Docker Containers work much like containers on a cargo ship. Containers allow you to containerize, stack, move, and more—and it makes everything easier to work with.

Docker is an open-source mechanism for abstracting and virtualizing. It creates a self-contained virtual environment, known as a Container, where applications and their dependent resources run, giving each app a semi-private and isolated view of the operating system. From the container, the application can view available resources, including available storage, network, processing power, etc. It is similar to virtualization, but is different in that it consists only of the app and dependent resources, allowing you to run multiple applications on the same server simultaneously.

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Docker is attractive to both developers and data center operators. Developers appreciate the portability and easy customization. Data center operators enjoy the efficient use of resources, and its ability to use resources so efficiently. Docker Containers increase the density of the data center, meaning more apps can run using fewer resources.

How Docker is Moving Into Enterprises

Docker isn’t just for the small biz anymore. Enterprises are smiling over how it can streamline application development and data center operations.

Since Docker allows for better management of the IT infrastructure, offers continuous delivery, ensures that code is deployable, and is lightweight, it is deemed ideal for enterprise use. Beginning with Docker version 1.0, released in June of 2014, Docker offered the Docker Enterprise Support Program. Enterprise support was further established in December 2014, with the release of Docker Hub Enterprise and the related orchestration services.

These services are available on any IT infrastructure, including cloud and hybrid environments. The services include three enterprise-level features: Docker Machine, Docker Swarm, and Docker Compose. Apparently, these adaptations were received quite well by enterprises. The number of Docker Container downloads in January 2014 were just 542,552. By December 2014, this number had risen to 102.5 million.

A Few Words About Docker Security

Since Docker is so new to enterprises (indeed, it isn’t old by anyone’s standards), there are a few considerations that those in charge of cyber security at large organizations need to be aware of. Docker has gradually improved security over time, but is still generally considered less secure than a traditional virtual environment. There is, however, one way in which Docker Containers could make security less of a problem. Since this solution reduces the level of complexity involved, it is naturally easier to provide security in the long run. Just be aware that handling Docker security isn’t the same as managing security with other virtual environments, and be sure to take adequate precautions as necessary.

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