Docker Inc.'s Acquisitions Aim for Ease of Use and Portability

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 17, 2015

Docker, Inc., the corporate sponsor of the popular container technology toolset, has been in the news recently for its acquisitions. Last month, Docker acquired startup SocketPlane, and said that SocketPlance could help add standard networking interfaces to Docker to make multi-container distributed apps easily portable. And Docker, Inc. has also acquired Canadian startup Kitematic and its eponymous, popular open source software tool. "The Docker experience is enhanced through Kitematic and its graphical user interface (GUI)-driven workflow that automatically installs Docker on a user’s Mac to build, ship and run Docker containers in just minutes," says the announcement.

In both acquisitions, Docker, Inc. is focusing on interface and portability measures that can make Docker more friendly for typical administrators.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the Kitematic team on board to help expand our efforts in creating tooling that enriches the developer experience,” said Solomon Hykes, chief architect of the Docker Project and founder and CTO of Docker, Inc. “Kitematic reflects our original vision for Docker which was to make a great tooling for developers, who in turn would then use it to make great tools. Adding talented people like the Kitematic team to Docker is how we ensure that we keep focused on tackling new challenges for developers as they arise. We are also proud to announce that the Kitematic tool remains open source and free.” 

Apparently, Kitematic does make Docker very accessible for Mac users. According to Docker, Inc.:

"The first step of the Docker journey to distributed applications starts with building and running a container and through Kitematic that initial step happens in less than five minutes – including the time to download the Kitematic package. Kitematic leverages Docker Machine, one of Docker’s three orchestration tools, to configure a developer’s Mac as a “Docker host” and then subsequently install and run the Docker Engine. The developer is then presented with a catalog of curated content which includes images for Nginx, Minecraft, Redis, and more that they can build, ship and run as Docker containers on their laptop."

The acquisitions from Docker, Inc. come at a time when things are about to get competitive for Docker. The folks behind CoreOS, a very popular Linux flavor for use in cloud deployments, are developing their own container technology, dubbed Rocket, which will be competitive.

Rocket is a new container runtime, designed for composability, security, and speed, according to the CoreOS team. According

According to a post on Rocket:

“When Docker was first introduced to us in early 2013, the idea of a “standard container” was striking and immediately attractive: a simple component, a composable unit, that could be used in a variety of systems. The Docker repository included a manifesto of what a standard container should be. This was a rally cry to the industry, and we quickly followed. We thought Docker would become a simple unit that we can all agree on.”

“Unfortunately, a simple re-usable component is not how things are playing out. Docker now is building tools for launching cloud servers, systems for clustering, and a wide range of functions: building images, running images, uploading, downloading, and eventually even overlay networking, all compiled into one monolithic binary running primarily as root on your server. The standard container manifesto was removed. We should stop talking about Docker containers, and start talking about the Docker Platform.”

“We still believe in the original premise of containers that Docker introduced, so we are doing something about it. Rocket is a command line tool, rkt, for running App Containers. An ‘App Container’ is the specification of an image format, container runtime, and a discovery mechanism.”

 You can learn more about Kitematic here