Docker Automates and Democratizes Container Orchestration
June 20, 2016

Docker announced Docker Engine 1.12 with built-in orchestration, a powerful combination that provides Developers and IT Operations with a simplified and automated experience to deploy and manage Dockerized distributed applications – both traditional apps and microservices – at scale in production.

By adding this additional intelligence to Docker Engine, it becomes the orchestration building block, creating a model for engines to form a self-organizing, self-healing pool of machines on which to run multi-container distributed applications. When integrated into Docker Engine, these new capabilities optimize ease of use, resiliency, performance-at-scale and security – all key requirements that are missing in other orchestration systems. As a result, organizations can be assured that their dev and ops teams are aligned on unifying the software supply chain to release applications into production more rapidly and frequently.

“Orchestration is at the same stage today as containerization was before Docker. You either need an army of experts to build it, or you lock yourself to a monolithic platform which will drastically reduce your choice of suppliers,” said Solomon Hykes, founder and CTO at Docker. “Three years ago we brought containerization into the mainstream by making it usable for non-experts, without lock-in. We think it’s time to do the same for orchestration. This is a necessary step for the industry to move forward, and as the leaders of the containerization market it’s our responsibility to lead this change.”

As with all Docker tooling, this integration is always about choice and flexibility for users. “Swarm mode” is an optional feature that users can select to “turn on” built-in orchestration, or they can also elect to use either their own custom tooling or third-party orchestrators that run on Docker Engine. This approach aligns with the Docker platform’s batteries included but swappable architecture, which has spurred the growth of a vibrant and collaborative ecosystem.

As organizations begin to make increasing investments in containerization, and with more than 60 percent of them running Docker in production, they are seeking more sophisticated orchestration tooling to expand their deployments across both applications and teams. Docker 1.12 addresses these requirements with functionality that spans the entire application stack across compute, network and storage.

- Ease of Use: Docker 1.12 dramatically simplifies the process of creating groups of Docker Engines, also known as swarms. The self-organizing, self-healing capabilities of swarms are now backed by automated service discovery and a built-in distributed datastore. As a result, it takes just one command to add a Docker Engine and horizontally scale a swarm.

- Resilient: The new service deployment API describes all the resources and components with a single command that allows operations teams to run and scale a service. Through the API, the swarm is aware of the application defined and will continuously check and reconcile the environment against the requirements of the application when something adverse happens. Unlike other systems, the swarm itself has no single point of failure. The state of all services is replicated in real time across a group of managers so containers can be rescheduled after any node failure.

- Performance at Scale: Docker orchestration includes a unique in-memory caching layer that maintains state of the entire swarm, providing a non-blocking architecture which assures scheduling performance even during peak times. Additionally, the system has a built-in routing mesh technology that addresses the challenge of how to provide container-aware load balancing. The routing mesh ensures that requests are made to the right containers regardless of where they have been scheduled within the swarm.

- Secure By Default: Each Engine is automatically assigned a cryptographic identity which ensures that only validated Engines can be accepted into a swarm. Moreover, Docker Engine comes with mutually authenticated TLS, providing authentication, authorization and end-to-end encrypted communications among every node participating in the swarm, without the operator having to take any steps to enable it.

There are three ways that users can get Docker 1.12, which is currently a release candidate with general availability planned for July 2016. First, It is available now as part of the newly opened public beta of Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows. Second, it is available through cloud-optimized experiences that bundle custom plugins that provide deep integration between Docker and the target platform capabilities including networking, load balancing and SSH key management. Docker for AWS and Docker for Azure are the best ways to deploy Docker Engine on these platforms and are available in private beta. Last, Docker 1.12 is also available as a binary download or a package for all major Linux distributions.

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