Interview with David Messina, CMO at Docker

A look back and a leap forward: “Docker has been the driving force behind the containerization movement”

Gabriela Motroc

Docker turned five last week! To mark this milestone, we talked with David Messina, CMO at Docker about its evolution, how Docker became the poster child for containers and what’s in store for 2018.

JAXenter: How has Docker changed since it was founded 5 years ago?

David Messina: We have come a long way since introducing Docker in 2013. In the span of the past five years, Docker has evolved to align with our users and customers’ needs to drive innovation around security, orchestration, networking and more. This has resulted in the Docker team building advanced security features at every step of software supply chain and integrating unmodified Kubernetes alongside Swarm. We have expanded our community and commercial product offerings to include Docker for Mac/Windows and an enterprise-ready container platform, Docker Enterprise Edition (EE). And these developments are only a snapshot of the work done.

As Docker turns five, we have surpassed 450 commercial customers for the Docker Enterprise Edition container platform — doubling our customer acquisition number in the past year alone. There are millions of Docker users, 3.5 million Dockerized applications and one billion container downloads every two weeks. These numbers illustrate that the momentum across the community and within enterprises is reaching new heights. For enterprises, the consideration of implementing a container strategy is no longer an “if” — it is a “when.” Many of the largest enterprises in the world — like ADP, GlaxoSmithKline, MetLife — have invested in our container platform as a foundation for their digital and multi-cloud initiatives.

We have our incredible community and customers to thank for the journey thus far.

JAXenter: What are the biggest milestones in Docker’s evolution?

David Messina: The past five years have been an incredible ride. Many noteworthy developments and milestones come to mind over this time period to get us to where we are today. At the age of five, Docker has millions of users and 37B container downloads, with one billion downloads occurring every two weeks. In 2017, we have seen a tremendous uptick in enterprise adoption — doubling our customer acquisition number and surpassing the 450+ commercial customer mark for the Docker Enterprise Edition container platform — with hundreds of the global 2K coming on board.

During the past year, we continued to drive innovation in the container ecosystem across app modernization, orchestration, security and more. We rolled out the Modernize Traditional Applications (MTA) program to give enterprises a clear path to the cloud — and ultimately microservices — and to free up budget for further innovation.

At DockerCon EU in Copenhagen, we announced the integration of unmodified Kubernetes for the Docker container platform to give users a choice of Docker Swarm or Kubernetes orchestration based on their needs, while also providing an easy way to deploy Kubernetes. And over the course of the year, we continued to expand our advanced security features to address each stage of the application lifecycle, with capabilities including secrets management, image scanning and role-based access control (RBAC).

This has lead us to today, where hundreds of the world’s largest companies rely on the Docker Enterprise Edition container platform as a core component of their IT strategies. With Docker EE, organizations can start big or small, with legacy or new applications, using any operational model, on any OS, across any infrastructure, whether it be on prem or across multiple clouds and still have the same Docker experience throughout the application delivery process.

The decision to add unmodified Kubernetes into the Docker Enterprise Edition platform was born out of user and customer interest in an easier way to manage Kubernetes, while also being able to take advantage of the advanced capabilities in Docker EE around integrated security, automation and choice.

JAXenter: How did Docker become the poster child for containers?

David Messina: It goes back to Pycon 2013. Founder Solomon Hykes unveiled Docker during a lightning talk and immediately following the session, there was an electrifying buzz around the project. That’s because Docker focused the solution on a big problem for all developers out there; it eliminated “matrix from hell” for any application running on any infrastructure. Docker offered a way to create independence between the application and the infrastructure through a standardized container format that could be created with easy-to-use tooling.

The positive response toward the technology drove incredible developer adoption from the beginning and fueled open source collaboration around the project. Docker has been the driving force behind the containerization movement and has been at the center of this ecosystem ever since; it revolutionized how developers and sysadmins build, secure and manage applications.

JAXenter: Why has Docker decided to offer native Kubernetes support? Does this mean that Kubernetes has won the so-called orchestration war?

David Messina: Flexibility and choice have always been at the foundation of Docker. This remains a core capability of ours to this day and has been integrated into Docker Enterprise Edition. Just as our enterprise-ready container platform supports Multi-Linux, Multi-OS, Multi-cloud, we wanted to apply this freedom of choice to orchestration as well with options for Kubernetes and Swarm.

The decision to add unmodified Kubernetes into the Docker Enterprise Edition platform was born out of user and customer interest in an easier way to manage Kubernetes, while also being able to take advantage of the advanced capabilities in Docker EE around integrated security, automation and choice. With the integration, users can abstract away the complexity associated with deploying Kubernetes and choose between two excellent orchestrators based on their respective needs. Swarm and Kubernetes can run side by side in the same Docker EE cluster, and organizations can select the orchestrator at app deployment time as both are readily available.

Orchestration is an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s also important to keep in mind that many other capabilities are also essential to a container platform, including security, automation, networking and more. The Docker container platform is built to address all of these features and provide an end-to-end workflow that cuts across the entire software supply chain.

JAXenter: What’s your favorite Docker tip?

David Messina: A favorite tip of mine is around how Docker provides the easiest way to develop for and deploy Kubernetes. Docker EE lets you set up a Kubernetes cluster using either traditional Kubernetes YAML files or the more intuitive Docker Compose files. And resources can be shared between different orchestrator types. Docker for Mac and Windows is also very easy to set-up and now comes with a fully functional Kubernetes stack.

JAXenter: What challenges should Docker address in 2018?

David Messina: CIOs continue to face a universal challenge — how to drive innovation while also utilizing existing technologies and investments. But with maintenance of legacy applications taking up approximately 80% of their IT budget, they are left with only 20% to allocate toward innovation. This is a message we hear time and time again from our customers and is the reason we rolled out the Modernize Traditional Applications (MTA) program.

Legacy applications represent the majority of applications within an enterprise. What companies are learning is that there’s a lot of value that can be unlocked by containerizing these apps. In taking the MTA approach, enterprises can show immediate ROI as the applications become more secure, more cost-efficient and portable to hybrid cloud environments. This not only provides a clear path to the cloud but also sets organizations up to achieve microservices and fund further innovation.

SEE ALSO: Year in Review: Docker in 2017

As an example, MetLife is using Docker EE to modernize its legacy applications and in doing so projects savings of 66% across nearly 600 of its applications — enabling the 150-year old company to self-fund innovation projects. Unlocking the value of these legacy apps represents a tremendous market opportunity and one we will continue to focus our efforts on in 2018.

JAXenter: In the past year, the innovation underpinning the Docker platform has encompassed orchestration (Swarm + Kubernetes), security, app modernization and more. Where is Docker headed? What’s in store for 2018?

David Messina: We will continue to work closely with our customers to expand and enhance the capabilities of the Docker container platform and guide companies on the path to application modernization and hybrid/multi-cloud. Since Docker is designed to work with users’ existing technology, organizations can use the container platform as a foundation for new multi-cloud and digital initiatives with any technology stack or vendor. The choice offered by the Docker platform provides these companies the flexibility to support future innovation at their own pace. This will remain a priority of ours as new technologies emerge. For instance, we are already seeing use cases where serverless and edge computing are powered by containers — and are working with customers to set priorities.

At the same time, we remain committed to fostering innovation and collaboration within the community and you will continue to see us heavily involved with organizations including the Open Container Initiative and Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

We are also thrilled to bring DockerCon back to San Francisco this coming June. DockerCon is expected to draw more than 6,000 IT leaders, developers, architects and sysadmins from all over the world and will feature more than 120 sessions from Docker, its partners, users and customers — showcasing the latest innovation and digital initiatives anchored in containerization. Large enterprises including GE and McKesson will be sharing insights into their respective container journeys and experiences with Docker Enterprise Edition during the show. DockerCon will mark another milestone as we head into year six.

Thank you!

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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