My Experience at DockerCon 2016 – Andrew Prowse
Written by Andrew Prowse, Technical Specialist at HighVail Systems Inc.
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the recent DockerCon Summit in Seattle and it was like a window into the future of IT. For those that don’t know what or who Docker is or what containers are, please go to the Docker website here. There’s a plethora of information, blog posts, and links to other resources that will give you a far better (and probably a lot less “geeky”) explanation. Suffice to say however, containers and “the CLOUD” have become synonymous with each other over the last couple of years.
For those of you who do know about Docker, you’re probably saying, ‘But containers aren’t new.’ That’s true, they are not new. A variety of projects and commercial products like BSD jails, Solaris zones, and OpenVZ have been doing containers for years. OK, I get it, tell us something we don’t know, like what’s new and unique about Docker? In simple terms, it’s the way they deliver and manage containers. And, quite frankly, what’s very new are the people behind it, and the people developing for and on it. Sitting amongst the 4000+ attendees at the summit, it was clear that everyone was excited to be involved in something big—something revolutionary, that’s going to transform our industry and the world we live in.
Containerization on Linux has been around for quite a while, with OpenVZ and LXC. Docker is late to the party in that regard. But what they did bring when they arrived was a unique way of packaging the container, a standard that everyone has agreed to, with no kernel modifications required. To know that containers built on Ubuntu will run on SuSE, Red Hat, Windows, and Mac OS without any sort of modification is a revelation in software delivery. This packaging also allows for a seamless transition from a cloud provider (such as AWS or Azure) to the data centre, where it can run on Linux installed in a VM, for instance.
There is no lock in on any infrastructure, or cloud solution. If the server can run Linux, it can run a docker container. And it doesn’t stop there: Docker has released Mac OS and Windows native Docker clients as well. No need to install Linux in a VM to create Docker containers—just run docker from the command line.
Running Windows? No problem; just install Docker for Windows, and run:
|# docker run -ti ubuntu /bin/bash|
And there you go. You are now logged into an Ubuntu container, free to develop and publish an application or service container on any supported platform.
This incredible flexibility lowers the barriers to entry. No longer are a few dedicated servers required to build up an environment; no longer are special tools or software required to create an application. Any stock standard laptop can get you running and provide all the tools necessary within minutes.
So, what does Docker do? It provides a standard for developers and operations utilizing OpenSource and can run almost anywhere. Technically, there are no barriers to entry. Docker may have arrived late to the party, but they quickly became the star. And they’ve invited everyone to join in.
Evidence of this was no clearer than at DockerCon, shown in all its glory by the wide variety of companies and people who attended. There were many small code shops with innovative products that weren’t even a thought two years ago. And the big guns were represented as well, with their interesting take on what a container could be, and what it could provide.
Red Hat using Docker as the basis of their PaaS (Platform as a Service) offering OpenShift. Even Microsoft—present as no less than a lead sponsor—was in attendance, and had a very interesting demonstration of Docker in Azure running the Microsoft SQL Server on Linux.
So, who exactly attended DockerCon? People from all over the globe—from Toronto to Tokyo, Poland to Portland. And as for age groups? All sorts of people, young and old, were there. The youngest presenter was Aditya Gupta, a thirteen-year old who modified the computer game Minecraft for Docker containers. He builds and delivers workshops for Devoxx4Kids and is excited to teach programming skills to young kids like him. He’s also a Boy Scout, and likes to tinker with LEGO. Everyone else was older from there—lots of men and women and boys and girls. It was almost like a family event.
Seeing such diversity in the attendees, the companies, and the solutions, it’s easy to see that Docker is the future of IT.
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– Andrew Prowse
Technical Specialist, HighVail Systems Inc.