Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Thursday, October 1, 2020
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Docker Containers Get a Delivery Upgrade 

An ecosystem is beginning to emerge around Docker containers, this time focusing on speeding software development and code delivery.

The latest example is an updated version of a delivery platform intended to help enterprise software teams speed adoption of Docker containers for applications while automating the enterprise application development process from code to production.

Seattle-based Shippable claimed this week its version 2 release is the first delivery platform capable of containerizing workflows. The startup said it is leveraging Docker container technology as a way to increase "agility in the software development lifecycle."

Among Shippable 2.0's new features are containerized development and test environments that replicate production environments, a continuous delivery pipeline for application containers and versioning—the process of assigning unique vision names or numbers to software—of application containers. A separate feature lets software developers upgrade or rollback to a previous version.

Making greater use of Docker container technology is seen by industry observers as a way of allowing DevOps teams to speed application development and delivery. One outcome could be better quality software.

Shippable also claimed its containerized development and test labs could help reduce an enterprises cloud services requirements by as much as 50 percent. Each code change is tested separately in a dedicated environment that spins up in seconds to replicate the production environment. Shippable said its approach helps detect errors, reduces the need for testing and increases developer efficiency by reducing the amount of time needed to rework code and fix bugs.

The updated Shippable delivery platform is available either as a host service or as a dedicated host. As a hosting service, containers and orchestration are hosted on the Shippable platform. Dedicated hosts provide orchestration through the hosted service, but containers run on customers' host machine.

A third option, an on-premise approach that customers can themselves host, is currently in private beta testing.

Avi Cavale, Shippable's co-founder and CEO, said the startup is betting that development and test workflows would lead the first wave of Docker adoption. Hedging his bets, Cavale added in a statement that the Shippable delivery platform could be used even if customers "have no plans to adopt containers into their workflow." The reason, he continued, is that Shippable 2.0 "is compatible with hypervisors and still delivers its continuous delivery platform to enable agile software development."

Founded in 2013, the startup's delivery service currently runs more than 8,000 containers. The company claims this is one of the largest deployments of Docker containers in production, and the platform upgrade is intended to scale application delivery.

The company said Shippable 2.0 is available immediately in tiered, monthly software-as-a-service options. Tiered services start at $12 per year for dedicated hosts and up to five parallel builds. A hosted multi-tenant service option is free for unlimited builds of public and private repositories.

Pricing for a custom enterprise option was not released.

A demo of the delivery platform is available here.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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