• June 20, 2018

DockerCon 2018 Wrap Up and Looking Forward

Jesse Butler
Cloud Native Developer Advocate

DockerCon 2018 is wrapped up and I'm back on the east coast at my desk, semi-rested and fairly caffeinated. Having recently made the move from platform development to cloud native developer advocacy, this is a great opportunity for me to share my thoughts. At least that's what my second coffee is telling me.

This year, DockerCon continued its journey from scrappy-yet-polished tech upstart showcase toward a large-scale enterprise conference. While not fully arrived at the latter, the main focus was definitely on enterprise readiness.  Significant bandwidth was also spent showing off improvements in Docker's desktop development tooling as well as integration with Kubernetes and various cloud platforms.

Compared to my three previous DockerCon's worth of experience, there was less new-and-edgy on the main stage, replaced with more showcase-and-pitch. Docker is "all growed up", but there's still a lot of new, edgy things happening in the greater ecosystem. Thankfully, the company behind the conference is still happy to share its presence and continues to promote new ideas and projects.

Of particular interest to me was a hosted panel on the top Serverless projects, with Oracle's Chad Arimura representing the Fn Project as well as representation from OpenFaaS, Galactic Fog, Nuclio and OpenWhisk. Most of these were also present for a Serverless SIG and BoF the previous day.

Present for both Serverless sessions as well as a closing day "Cook Hacks" keynote, Idit Levine Solo presented the Gloo family of projects which seek to glue the varied Serverless and Microservices components together. Both Gloo and Qloo are compelling projects tell a migration and maintenance story which helps round out the promise of Serverless.

For the big ticket messaging, Docker threw a big heart in Kubernetes' general direction during day one's general session. A lot of work has gone into fully integrating Docker's Desktop and EE products with Kubernetes, and promotion of their own Swarm orchestration solution is trending down. This is a fairly simplified view of the overall play, and it's more of a high-five than white flag on Docker's part. But it appears that Docker has come to agree with the top managed services providers, Oracle Cloud included, that Kubernetes is the platform of choice.

With Docker, Inc.'s cluster hosting business winding down they've also done some work to integrate their Desktop and EE products with various cloud providers.  This considerably lowers the barrier to entry while attempting to avoid the pretense of preferred vendors. I don't personally use the desktop product, but it looks pretty slick.

DockerCon 2018 spent a lot of its core messaging time speaking directly to the ecosystem's arrival in the enterprise. Solomon Hykes's "tools of mass innovation" have grown into a broad and varied landscape capable of deploying and managing enterprise-class production workloads. Generally speaking, this is more about Kubernetes and Microservices at large, but it's all a win when the word "Docker" is synonymous with "containers".

Large scale deployment use cases were highlighted in keynote content, community and partner theater presentations and track talks. Kicking this off in the first general session was the story of McKesson completely restructuring its 180-year old enterprise around containers and cloud native development. During day two's general session, Liberty Mutual told a similar story of container and cloud native stack adoption to gain massive shifts in agility and efficiency.

Even talks on relatively new paradigms and young projects made reference to real world use cases in the enterprise. For example, a state-of-the-union type session with Istio project team members made reference to a couple of enterprise use cases, including American Airlines. I'll link some of the talks I found most interesting once they are posted.

The conference was a good opportunity for those new to DockerCon (nearly half of the 5,000 attendees) to see what it's all about, and also for those of us who have been working with containers since Docker first spun up to welcome those new to the technology space overall. With more and more enterprise shops coming to realize that containers are the way forward, we can all expect more new faces and a consistent stream of new ideas as we continue to expand this ecosystem.

This is good news for those of us building out cloud native, enterprise-ready platforms, and even better news for those looking to migrate existing workloads or build new solutions in the cloud. It's early days yet for managed mesh services, the internet of things and Serverless architectures, but things move fast in this space. These early days provide an opportunity to leapfrog into leading edge cloud native solutions like never before.

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