Docker Enterprise Edition 2.0 makes it easier to use Kubernetes

The second edition of Docker's enterprise product adds more security and management features for seamless and safe Kubernetes adoption.

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Docker on Tuesday is rolling out the second release of Enterprise Edition, its commercial platform, with new features that make it easier for enterprises to securely embrace Kubernetes and other container orchestration tools.

Docker Enterprise Edition, launched last year, enables businesses to manage Windows, Linux, and mainframe containerized applications, either on premise or in the cloud. For organizations that want to embrace containers without having to hire new teams of experts, the Enterprise Edition brings Kubernetes to them "in a form factor enables them to leverage that power without rebuilding their processes," Docker's chief product officer Scott Johnston told ZDNet.

Building on that foundation, the second edition gives customers more choice in terms of container management, more agility with simplified workflows and more security.

In terms of choice, the second edition lets users run Swarm (Docker's own orchestration tool) and Kubernetes interchangeably in the same cluster. They can also deploy applications with either Docker Compose or Kubernetes YAML. A customer that may have invested a lot in Compose files, Johnston explained, could take those files and deploy them to either orchestrator without the developer having to change anything in the Compose file.

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Meanwhile, with the second edition, Docker is offering simplified Kubernetes workflows. This should improve agility, Johnston said, for customers who've already invested in workflows and don't want to rebuild them in order to adopt Kubernetes. The second edition also comes with Swarm enhancements like enhanced Layer 7 routing performance.

"If you've got an end to end workflow... that works for you, you can use that workflow and deploy those applications into Kubernetes without changing your team, changing your processes," Johnston said. "That's huge value added, in terms of not making it disruptive to adopt this technology."

On the security side, Enterprise Edition 2.0 aims to make it easier to stand up Kubernetes in a secure fashion. With this release, customers can set up nodes with encrypted communication (encrypted communication between nodes, and encrypted communication between containers) "that just works out of the box," Johnston said.

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Another new security feature is the ability to use digital signatures for policy enforcement. For instance, an image can be kept from going to staging if it hasn't been QA'd, or an image can be kept from moving to production if it has a vulnerability.

Additionally, the new version allows for image mirroring and caching between registries, which is useful for organizations with a global footprint. So, for instance, a team of developers in India could push an application to a local registry and have it automatically and securely distributed to other data centers around the world in a way that conforms with compliance policies.

Turning Docker into a commercial enterprise is a tough business proposition, given the commoditization of core container technologies. Still, Johnston said the company has more than 450 enterprise customers so far and has found traction by offering customers a set of services along with their products.

"We come in with training, solution architects that help them extend their existing platforms to take advantage of our products," he said, while stressing that Docker isn't about to become a services business. "It's not just about software, it's about helping organizations adopt software in way that helps their business."

Docker counts Liberty Mutual among its customers. The insurance company wanted a container platform to address two initiatives, Johnston said: On the consumer-facing side, the company wanted to avoid disruption as it brought its services to mobile applications. On the back end, it was adopting a hybrid strategy that included use of AWS and data centers.

With a collection of new and old applications in the mix, Enterprise Edition 2.0 "lets them have a single application platform that allows them to manage the lifecycle of all of them," Johnston said.

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