Mirantis acquires Docker Enterprise

The troubled Docker company has sold its Docker Enterprise product line and business to cloud-power Mirantis.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Docker, the technology, is famous. It kick-started the container revolution. Docker, the company, is famous for failing to profit on its technology. Now, in a move indicating that Docker CEO Rob Bearden wasn't able to obtain badly needed capital, Mirantis, a prominent OpenStack and Kubernetes cloud company, has acquired Docker Enterprise product line, developers, and business. 
The deal is effective immediately. Mirantis CEO and co-founder Adrian Ionel, said in an e-mail interview, "We are not disclosing the terms of the deal. The deal closes Wednesday [Nov. 12, 2019] morning."
Ionel added:

"Like other similar deals, it was thrilling and sometimes unpredictable. We made it a team effort from day one, and, as it turns out, the Mirantis team had terrific chemistry with the Docker team and even more so between the technical people. We quickly discovered we were speaking the same language and pursuing a similar vision: a true cloud native stack, powered by Kubernetes, delivered as a service, to empower developers to build, share and run their apps anywhere. In short, bring simplicity and choice to enterprises going to cloud."

Docker will continue as an independent company. Mirantis, Ionel said, is getting:

  1. The Docker Enterprise Platform:

2.  A large and growing business with 750 enterprise customers. Thirty percent of the Fortune 100 and 20% of the Global 500 use Docker Enterprise.
3.  One of the best cloud-native product engineering, support, services, and pre-sales teams on the planet.
4. A strong partner ecosystem, including joint large partners such as Microsoft.
Docker is expected to announce other changes shortly. Moving ahead, Docker will focus on Docker Desktop, its container developer IDE and platform, and Docker Hub, a  service for finding and sharing container images. 

A Docker spokesperson explained: 

Docker is ushering in a new era with a return to our roots by focusing on advancing developers' workflows when building, sharing and running modern applications. Moving forward, we will expand Docker Desktop and Docker Hub's roles in the developer workflow for modern apps. Specifically, we are investing in expanding our cloud services to enable developers to quickly discover technologies for use when building applications, to easily share these apps with teammates and the community, and to run apps frictionlessly on any Kubernetes endpoint, whether locally or in the cloud.

Together, Mirantis and Docker will work on core, upstream open-source technology. Also, the two companies will continue to ensure seamless integration between their products.

Mirantis and the newly acquired Docker Enterprise team will continue to develop and support Docker Enterprise. Looking ahead, Mirantis will add new capabilities to the Enterprise platform :

  • A zero-touch, as-a-service experience to eliminate the administration, integration, and operation burden for customers 
  • Mirantis Kubernetes and related cloud-native technologies 
  • A proven enterprise business model with a strong financial foundation 

The last is not a small issue. Docker customers were growing worried over Docker's venture-capital debt load and its difficulties in finding a viable business plan.

Mirantis has a business plan. Its goal is to deliver Kubernetes-as-a-Service with a consistent experience for developers on any cloud and on-premise infrastructure. The deal brings hundreds of new enterprise customers to its Kubernetes platform. 
This is only the latest move by the aggressive Mirantis. In the last few months, Mirantis made an eight-figure, three-year deal to build out AT&T 5G's infrastructure. The company then followed this up with launching MCP Edge: A unified cloud-based management plane for 5G telecom deployments. 
In a statement, Ionel said:

The Mirantis Kubernetes technology joined with the Docker Enterprise Container Platform brings simplicity and choice to enterprises moving to cloud. Delivered as a service, it's the easiest and fastest path to the cloud for new and existing applications, The Docker Enterprise employees are among the most talented cloud-native experts in the world and can be immensely proud of what they achieved. We're very grateful for the opportunity to create an exciting future together and welcome the Docker Enterprise team, customers, partners, and community.

Mirantis knows it's in an incredibly competitive market. The question anymore isn't "Which companies offer Kubernetes support?" It's "Which companies don't support Kubernetes?" Still, Ionel is sure of Mirantis's path. "The world needs a real, cloud-native alternative to VMWare and IBM/Red Hat. We are it," said Ionel.

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