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Amazon embraces Docker with new customer tool

Joab Jackson | Nov. 17, 2014
The Docker container virtualization technology has proved to be such a hit with its users that Amazon Web Services has created a new management tool for handling large scale Docker deployments, though observers worry it could lock customers more tightly into the Amazon ecosystem.

"We're giving the developers and operations professionals fine grained control over the environment but in an automated tool so they don't have to manually manage everything, instance by instance," Kelman said.

Users should be careful of growing too reliant on all of these advanced features, lest they tie their workloads too closely to AWS, warned Bob Quillin, CEO of StackEngine in an e-mail. StackEngine offers its own software for managing Docker containers.

With EC2 Container Service, AWS is one of growing number of cloud providers offering tools for managing containers, joining competitors such as Google, Digital Ocean and Rackspace. Offerings from such companies can be "lightly-veiled attempts to pull developers into their cloud services," Quillin wrote. These tools, once incorporated into an application's workflow, can make it difficult to move that workflow to another cloud provider, or to an on-premise operation, should the need arise.

The EC2 Container Service is "very Amazon specific," said Alex Polvi, CEO of CoreOS, which offers a Linux distribution optimized for running Docker containers. The company plans to support the EC2 Container Service so "CoreOS runs out of the box," with the EC2 Container Service, Polvi said.

CoreOS itself supports another technology for managing containers, the open source Kubernetes project, which was started by Google to manage Docker deployments on its own cloud.

"One of the nice benefits of an open source project like Kubernetes is that you can run it wherever you want. You can make it work on EC2. You can make it work on Google. Or you can make it work on bare metal servers back at home," Polvi said.

 

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