8 Docker Features for IT Management

Sam Guiliano
by (86 posts) under Development
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Docker’s adoption has more than doubled since a year ago. Here is a look at its growth and top features that many companies will find useful.

  • Growth of Docker Astronomical
  • New Docker Release: Main Features for IT Management
  • One-Click Docker for Immediate Use

Growth of Docker Astronomical

Have you heard the news? Many people certainly consider Docker useful, and it is also one of the trendiest tools in IT. Hence, its adoption and use are growing incredibly. In February 2016, Docker reports that its 400,000 registered users have a total tally of 2 billion pulls – that’s four times as much action as the technology had seen in February 2015. The data comes from the Docker Hub.

“Development teams use Docker Hub to publish and consume containerized software, and automate their delivery and deployment pipelines,” explains the company. “Each pull means that a Docker engine is downloading an image to create running containers from it.”

One out of every five image pulls were from one of its official partners, such as Oracle.

What about the adoption numbers, though? Those results are also very impressive, according to the State of the Cloud Report from RightScale.  According to the annual study from the cloud management company (also just published), 27 percent of companies have now adopted Docker, vs. 13% just a year ago. For enterprises specifically, adoption rose from 14% to 29%.

New Docker Release: Main Features for IT Management

Since Docker is getting adopted so aggressively by enterprises, many of the updates are now centered on the typical enterprise concerns of impeccable security and reliability.

Docker 1.10 was just released in February 2016. Many IT managers who use containers within their data centers will find these features useful. Here are some of the most notable new capabilities:

  1. Automatic rescheduling

Swarm is a feature within Docker that allows you to manage clusters of machines so the technology can run effectively. This tool can now reschedule a container if node failure occurs without any manual intervention. Swarm has information on the node location of each container, so if a node fails, the container is automatically forwarded elsewhere.

Note that this feature is still in an “experimental” phase, so it’s at-your-own-risk. However, it should be appreciated, notes Yevgeniy Sverdlik of Data Center Knowledge. “Rescheduling workloads upon failure is fundamental to high-availability IT systems,” he says, “and Docker wants to bring that to infrastructure that hosts Docker containers.”

  1. Expanded clustering functionality

Previously, if a node didn’t join its cluster as planned, the cluster would go into action, leaving the node behind. With this version of Docker, the node will keep attempting to join a pre-determined number of fails is reached.

  1. Separation of powers between host & container

A security upgrade is when privileges given within the container no longer apply at the host level. If someone has root access within a container and wants to inject malware, they can’t then step up to the host level and wreak more extensive havoc.

  1. Easier lockdown

Previously Docker exposed syscalls of apps to outside parties so that they could secure their systems, but you had to have a very good understanding of the kernel to move forward. This version comes with seccomp (secure computing node) profiles, using standardized security to control the forms of syscall that are performed.

“The feature abstracts a highly technical level of kernel calls to the level of security policy,” explains Sverdlik.

  1. Content-addressing

This capability allows you to connect the content of a container with the name of the container via content-addressable image IDs, for improved security. That way if a container image is changed, you will know immediately because it will no longer have the correct content address.

  1. Privilege plugins

Plugins will allow you to correctly establish who can get into the Docker daemon.

  1. DNS incorporation

DNS (domain name system), which allows IP management, is now part of Docker Engine. You can use a DNS server to perform hostname lookups, which generally makes the system more scalable.

  1. The network as object

Compose, the piece of Docker that creates parameters for containerization and all the infrastructure support that’s needed is defining networks as objects in this new release (matching the way it defines storage and containers).

When you develop using containers, you typically don’t know the piece of the infrastructure where the app will run. The network is usually a broader concept to the developer. However, IT managers have different needs, comments Sverdlik. “When IT managers deploy the app, they want to reference a specific network stack,” he says. “This new feature allows easy mapping between the application’s abstraction of the network as defined by the developer and the implementation of that network interface in the data center.”

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