Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Sunday, May 9, 2021

Docker Closes App Gap With Tutum Acquisition 

Seeking to bridge the gap between application development and production deployment, container leader Docker Inc. said this week it has acquired Tutum Inc., a two-year-old developer of a cloud service for deploying and managing distributed applications in Docker containers.

San Francisco-based Docker touted the Tutum deal as enabling application containers to run on any infrastructure, addressing concerns about the slow deployment of application container technology in enterprise production environments. "We're completing the last mile of the application delivery pipeline," Scott Johnston, Docker's senior vice president of product, noted in an interview.

The acquisition announced on Wednesday (Oct. 21) is intended to accelerate the deployment and management of Docker containers in datacenters or in the cloud. "That's the step that Tutum fills in," Johnston added.

Tutum's platform is based on a workflow with an integrated set of operational tooling designed to speed application deployment from "code commit" through application development to production. The same framework could then be used to scale and manage distributed applications across on-premise or cloud infrastructure, the partners said.

Tutum's toolkit also is touted as allowing application images stored in Docker Hub, the central repository for Docker developers to deploy application containers, or other registries to be deployed on premise or public cloud infrastructure.

Tutum's Docker hosting service has been operational since October 2013, and the startup claims more than 24,000 of beta users for its workflow designed to create distributed applications using Docker to deliver agile micro-services. The acquisition represents "our shared vision of micro-services" delivery, said Borja Burgos-Galindo, co-founder and CEO of Tutum. (The startup's name means "safe" or "secure" in Latin.)

"We’ve heard the requests to come out of beta loud and clear and our focus is to do so, while expanding the current integrations that we have with Docker Hub," Burgos added in a blog post.

The partners stressed that Tutum is a native toolset that supports the Docker API and would benefit from the container technology's security and other operational features. Hence, Johnston stressed, Tutum would provide "good, out-of-the-box integration" with the Docker platform.

The acquisition addresses a critical gap in the container ecosystem, Johnston added. Once container images are placed in Docker Hub or other registries, developers lacked a tool to move those images to production. The Tutum deal bridges that gap by providing tools that allow developers to quickly deploy applications in production and then monitor their application infrastructure.

The acquisition is the latest in a series by Docker as it seeks to build out its open source and commercial container offerings. Earlier deals focused on networking, storage and security, including buttoning up the Docker Trusted Registry.

Security remains a concern as application container deployment ramps up. In response, Linux container backer Red Hat announced earlier this week it would integrate container scanning and security tools from Black Duck Software designed to detect vulnerabilities within Red Hat’s OpenShift platform-as-a-service. The container security service would provide reports on potential threats found in the OpenShift registry of container images.

As security and other gaps in the container ecosystem are filled, beta tested tools like Tutum's are moving to the mainstream. “Tutum has already been validated by our user community as the best way to achieve a seamless Docker user experience from the point of initial onboarding to running Dockerized applications in production," Docker CE Ben Golub noted in statement announcing the acquisition.

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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