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New Docker EE Targets Containers for Business Apps

Looking to bolster the container-based software it has helped standardize, Docker has launched a new enterprise edition with the goal of helping DevOps teams build, deploy and manage business-critical applications that it said can run in production at scale across various infrastructure and cloud services.

The new Docker Enterprise Edition (EE), announced today, is what the company calls its open and modular container platform for building and maintaining cloud-scale applications that are portable across the operating systems and cloud services. The new Windows Server 2016, released last fall, includes the Docker runtime engine free of charge. In addition to Windows and Hyper-V, Docker is certified to run on with a wide array of Linux distributions, VMware's hypervisor platforms and cloud services including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

Docker EE is available in three configurations: Basic, Standard and Advanced. Basic includes the Docker platform designed to run certified infrastructure and has support for Certified Containers and Plugins, available in the Docker Store. The Standard configuration adds to that support for multi-tenancy, advance image and container management, as well as integration with Active Directory and other LDAP-based directories and the Advanced version offers Docker Security Scanning and continuous vulnerability monitoring.

The launch of Docker EE comes just over a year after the company launched Docker Datacenter, the company's DevOps platform built to enable the deployment of Containers as a Services (CaaS) on premises or in virtual managed private clouds. In addition to the Docker engine container runtime, it brought together the Docker Trusted Registry for image management, security and collaboration. Docker Datacenter also introduced the company's Universal Control Plane (UCP) with embedded Swarm for integrated management tooling.

Docker Datacenter is now a component of the Docker EE, available with the Standard and Advanced versions. All of the free Docker versions will now be renamed Community Edition (CE).

With the release of Docker EE, the company has also broadened its certification program with a wider number of third-party partner offerings available in the Docker Store that are compatible with Docker EE. In addition to the infrastructure the company's container platform supports, the new program will allow ISVs to distribute and support their software as containers that are reviewed and tested before they're available in the Docker Store.

The program also looks to create an ecosystem of third-party plugins that must pass API compliance testing to ensure compatibility across apps, infrastructure and services. "Apps are portable across different network and storage infrastructure and work with new plugins without recoding," said Dan Powers, Docker's head of partner and technology management, in a blog post announcing the new certification program.

Docker also plans to accelerate its release cycles. Docker will now issue new releases of the community and enterprise editions each quarter. The company will support each release of Docker EE for a year and the community editions for four months, though Docker CE users will have a one-month window to update from one release to the next. The Docker API version will remain independent from the Docker platform, said Docker Product Manager Michael Friis, in a blog post announcing Docker EE.

"Even with the faster release pace, Docker will continue to maintain careful API backwards compatibility and deprecate APIs and features only slowly and conservatively," Friis noted. "And Docker 1.13 introduces improved interoperability between clients and servers using different API versions, including dynamic feature negotiation."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 03/02/2017 at 3:43 PM


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