Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, January 29, 2022

Docker, CoreOS Announce Container Deals 

Docker Inc. has tapped into the emerging high-volume Chinese cloud market in a deal to provide a range of application container services to the cloud-computing arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA).

Meanwhile, rival CoreOS has acquired a container startup that develops software for managing the Kubernetes container orchestrator.

Docker said it would provide Alibaba Cloud with container image storage and distribution tools via its Docker Hub platform. The partners also said Alibaba Cloud would resell Docker Engine, the container runtime used to build and run containers in production, allowing Chinese companies to manage production workloads from development to application development.

The goal of the agreement is to drive adoption of containers applications in the Chinese market as cloud computing platforms are widely deployed.

Commercial access to the Docker Hub hosted repository would give Alibaba Cloud's customers access to a growing list of container applications. The container platform would be hosted in China, enabling faster downloads and response times intended to help accelerate the shipment of enterprise applications, the partners said. Under the agreement, the Chinese cloud service also would support options for Docker Datacenter and the commercial version of Docker Engine.

Docker officials described the Alibaba deal as part of a broader effort to "deepen our roots in the Asian market." Added Nick Stinemates, Docker's vice president of business development and technical alliances: "Our partnership with the leading cloud provider in the region will enable us to better serve the unique needs of the global enterprises in China."

Alibaba executives stressed that the deal illustrates how Asian cloud providers are beginning to upgrade and scale application delivery by deploying emerging container tools on cloud platforms. The partnership with Docker enables the Chinese cloud vendor to "scale existing implementations into production," added Sicheng Yu, vice president of Alibaba Group and general manager of Alibaba Cloud Global.

As Chinese enterprises ramp up container application infrastructure, Alibaba Cloud would provide transition services by reselling Docker Datacenter as a platform for developers and IT managers to collaborate to get applications out the door. The container leader claims its datacenter framework reduces the time required to ship applications while making it easier for operation teams to migrate workloads to the cloud. These cloud-based applications can then be run on a variety of infrastructure platforms.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based CoreOS said Monday (Oct. 17) it has acquired Kubernetes developer Redspread. CoreOS said it would integrate the startup's software into its Tectonic platform. CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi said Redspread's open-source projects would be folded into its "upstream" Kubernetes development.

The goal is "enabling reproducible Kubernetes deployments and effective deployment workflows" to expand use of Kubernetes and container orchestration, Polvi added in a blog post.

The deals also illustrate how the application container segment is gradually consolidating through the acquisition of open-source developers as technology leaders like Docker and CoreOS ramp up their production offerings.

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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