First new Docker release under Mirantis appears

Docker, the company, couldn't make a go of it, but Docker Enterprise, under its new owner Mirantis, is moving forward.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

After years of failing to turn its exceptional technology, Docker containers, into a viable business, Docker, the company, sold its Docker Enterprise product line to Mirantis, a top OpenStack and Kubernetes cloud company, in November 2019. Now, Mirantis is improving Docker Enterprise with its first major release: Docker Enterprise 3.1.

It's a significant upgrade. For container orchestration, it now relies on Kubernetes 1.17. With it comes greater stability and features such as scheduler improvements and Windows support. For example, Docker Enterprise cluster administrators can now easily join Windows Server 2019 nodes to a Docker Enterprise cluster. 

It can do this when Kubernetes clusters are managed by the Universal Control Plane (UCP). Additionally, pods can interoperate when running on nodes in a mixed cluster consisting of Windows Server and Linux nodes. In addition, they can enable end-users to use Kubernetes to orchestrate Windows containers.

The new Docker Enterprise also includes Nvidia GPU support of artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) apps and programming. This is done using a pre-installed device plugin. Users can view GPU nodes inside Docker UCP, request GPUs through standard YAML pod specifications, and create GPU policies around access control and shared resources.

Docker Enterprise 3.1 also makes it easier to deploy the Istio Ingress network service mesh. You can now enable Istio Ingress for a Kubernetes cluster with the click of a button. Istio will be automatically added to the cluster with intelligent defaults.

On the business side of the release, Docker Enterprise 3.1 comes with improved service level agreements (SLAs) options for the most mission-critical workloads. Simultaneously, Mirantis is introducing new support options for all Docker Enterprise customers: LabCare, ProdCare, and OpsCare. 

Previously, the highest level of support available was 24x7 for tier 1 cases. With Mirantis ProdCare, customers have 24x7 support for all cases. With Mirantis OpsCare, customers get remote managed operations for their environment with enhanced SLAs, a designated customer success manager, proactive monitoring and alerting, and dedicated resources with ongoing health checks and reviews.

Between the technology advances and the improved business support options, Mirantis has big hopes for this latest release. 

Adrian Ionel, Mirantis's co-founder and CEO, said in a statement: "Seven hundred and fifty customers adopted Docker Enterprise as the fastest way to build and run modern apps at enterprise scale. Docker Enterprise 3.1 doubles down on that promise with the best Kubernetes features for Windows users and SLAs for mission-critical applications."

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