Docker: An open source startup you need to know about

Docker, Inc. (formely known as dotCloud) is the company behind the open-source Docker project and the growing Docker ecosystem of people, products, platforms, and partners revolutionizing the way code is built, packaged, and deployed.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

I love startup companies. I love open source software. I love innovation. Put them all together and you have the ingredients for something incredible. Meet Docker, Inc. (formerly known as dotCloud), the San Francisco based open source company that will revolutionize the way you package and deploy applications on Linux servers. 

Through the persistence of Olivia Irvin of MindShare PR, I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Golub, CEO of Docker, Inc. I'm glad that she stayed in contact with me so that I would take notice of Docker, the solution and the company. It was a great find.

So what's so great about being open source, you ask. Well, open source software, as it's called, allows anyone to view the code, modify the code, and return the code to the original project. This means that anyone can help build an application.

What's so great about that? It empowers the community behind such a project. In other words, if you can contribute to a project to make it better for everyone, that gives you a sense of ownership and a voice.

Speaking of voice, hear it from the man himself, Docker CEO Ben Golub. Ben and I discuss Docker details in this podcast.

Interview with Ben Golub, Docker CEO.

MP3 format. 21:17 minutes. Rated G for all audiences.

For example, when you purchase a license to use a closed source, commercial software application, you receive the compiled application, an installer, a help file, and possibly an instruction manual. With open source software, such as Docker, you get the application code—uncompiled application code that you can work with, if you desire. You can also just download the application and use it. Awesome.

What if you had the chance to work on an application that you use, such as a popular word processing program that shall go unnamed. Wouldn't that be great? For some of you, yes. For those of us who have no C, C++, or other such programming skills, we can just enjoy the application and your hard work.

Now that I've sold you on open source software, Docker is an open-source engine that automates the deployment of any application as a lightweight, portable, self-sufficient container that will run virtually anywhere.

Docker containers can encapsulate any payload, and will run consistently on and between virtually any server. The same container that a developer builds and tests on a laptop will run at scale, in production, on VMs, bare-metal servers, OpenStack clusters, public instances, or combinations of the above.

In Docker's own words:

"Docker aims to enable a new age of agile and creative development, by building 'the button' that enables any code to instantly and consistently run on any server, anywhere.

Docker is an open source engine that enables any application to be deployed as a lightweight, portable, self-sufficient container that will run virtually anywhere. By delivering on the twin promises "Build Once…Run Anywhere” and “Configure Once…Run Anything," Docker has seen explosive growth, and its impact is being seen across devops, PaaS, scale-out, hybrid cloud and other environments that need a lightweight alternative to traditional virtualization."

Seven months after launching, the Docker project is experiencing increased traction throughout both the developer and DevOps communities, and is part of a rapidly growing ecosystem.

For those of you who are into developer communities, some of Docker's highlights include:

  • Over 140,000 container downloads
  • Over 6,700 GitHub stars and over 800 forks
  • Over 600 GitHub Dockerfiles created in three months
  • Thousands of containerized applications on the Docker public registry
  • Over 150 projects built on top of the open source engine
  • Over 50 Meetups in 30 cities around the world
  • Almost 200 contributors, 92 percent of whom don’t work for Docker, Inc.
  • Over 13,000 developers who have successfully completed online Docker training

Companies like Yandex, Rackspace, eBay, and CloudFlare are talking and blogging publically about their use of Docker. Integrations created with some of the most important enterprise projects, including Chef, Puppet, Travis, and Jenkins. A growing list of companies launching purpose-built business on top of Docker, including CoreOS, Deis, Flynn, Orchard, and more.

Github: https://github.com/dotcloud/docker/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/docker or @docker

Editorial standards