Six Docker services making serious waves

Docker is primed to take IT by storm -- and here are six new services to make the most of the open source app-container technology.

6 Docker services making serious waves
Credit: Zoonar RF
6 Docker services making serious waves

Docker is fast becoming one of the hottest technologies under development. Released just a year ago, the open source project for creating virtualized application containers has already caused major cloud players, from Red Hat to Google, to rethink how applications can be delivered, run, and managed, especially in cloud environments.

For the uninitiated, Docker allows developers to take their applications and turn them into "containers" that can then be moved between systems and managed as if they were themselves VMs.

Docker is evolving rapidly, and so is its ecosystem, which includes a slew of new services that promise to help you get the most out of Docker. Here's a look at six promising entrants and the Docker services they provide.

StackDock.com
StackDock.com

For $5 a month, StackDock offers you Docker as a service -- the ability to upload a Dockerfile and deploy it on servers sporting 20GB of SSD-backed storage and 1GB RAM per instance. Dockerfiles can be created directly on the service itself, or they can be prepared offline and uploaded. StackDock's platform is being upgraded as of this writing (no new signups are being accepted), but planned features include auto-scaling, more data centers both inside and outside the U.S., and automatic backup of containers to Amazon S3. StackDock was created by Copper.io, a provider of tools and support in deploying, operating, and monitoring apps in the cloud.

Orchard
Orchard

If you like Docker but don’t like the heavy lifting of setting up servers or VMs, Orchard promises “a Docker host in the cloud that works just like a local one.” Orchard-hosted Docker containers are controlled by a command-line interface that behaves exactly like a local instance of Docker. In fact, Orchard simply takes the existing Docker client and redirects its behavior into Orchard’s own cloud, so little or no retraining is needed. Prices start at $10 per month for 512MB RAM, 20GB SSD-backed storage, and 1 core; the top end is $160 a month for 8GB RAM, 60GB SSD, and 4 cores.

Tutum
Tutum

Billed as a "CaaS" (container as a service), Tutum allows you to deploy containers from either the Docker Public Index or a private Docker registry (provided for free by Tutum), with controls provided either through a convenient GUI or an open source CLI. Many popular open source projects -- MySQL and WordPress, for example -- are already pre-containerized in Tutum as "jumpstarts," and containers can be linked, monitored, and automatically scaled across multiple hosts and data centers. Prices start at $4 per month for a container with 256MB RAM and 0.25 ECU (Amazon’s CPU metric).

Quay.io
Quay.io

Docker growth can be seen not just in the number of services that run and manage Docker containers, but also in the growing array of services that host and share them. Quay.io is one such Docker hosting outfit, offering both free public repositories and private hosting plans that start at $12 per month. Aside from offering access controls for teams and detailed change lists for repositories, Quay also provides some build features, too: Dockerfiles stored in Github can be automatically pulled in and built whenever you commit a change.

Drone.io
Drone.io

Integration servers, such as Jenkins, are what dev teams usally employ to automate testing as changes are applied, also known as CI (continuous integration). Drone.io offers CI as a service and uses Docker as a cornerstone for its operations. Pre-built Docker images are offered for "more than 12 languages and nearly every major database," and you can swap in a custom Docker image if you need to. Drone.io is free for open source projects; private projects get their first 50 builds free as well. Various plans are offered, starting at $25 per month for 5 private projects. The core software, written in Go, is also available as an open source project.

Shippable
Shippable

Shippable is another organization offering continuous integration and continuous deployment in the cloud, coming off as a mix of features from both Quay and Drone. Shippable's current use of Docker is limited to "build minions" -- Docker-based containers -- to run workloads, although the documentation does hint at how more future functionality will be built for Shippable around Docker. The core version of the service, which includes unlimited public and five private repositories, is free; other editions of the service start at $10 a month.

InfoWorld Test Center Review: Docker 1.0
InfoWorld Test Center Review: Docker 1.0

InfoWorld's Paul Venezia provides an in-depth review of Docker 1.0, the first production-ready version of the open source Linux container engine: "Docker is a very good example of a functional, foundational, back-end infrastructure component that possesses plenty of utility and functionality for Linux admins and architects, but will be lost on those used to point-and-click interfaces. That's not necessarily a bad thing. There are still many places for Docker to go from here, and many areas such as networking that could use streamlining. But this 1.0 release is quite enough to get you started." Review the InfoWorld Test Center Review of Docker 1.0 here.