Docker acquires Infinit: a new data layer for distributed applications

Dec 06 2016

infinit team

The short version: Docker acquired a fantastic company called Infinit. Using their technology, we will provide secure distributed storage out of the box, making it much easier to deploy stateful services and legacy enterprise applications on Docker. This will be delivered in a very open and modular design, so operators can easily integrate their existing storage systems, tune advanced settings, or simply disable the feature altogether. Oh, and we’re going to open-source the whole thing.

The slightly longer version:

At Docker we believe that tools should adapt to the people using them, not the other way around. So we spend a lot of time searching for the most exciting and powerful software technology out there, then integrating it into simple and powerful tools. That is how we discovered a small team of distributed systems engineers based out of Paris, who were working on a next-generation distributed filesystem called Infinit. From the very first demo two things were immediately clear. First, Infinit is an incredible piece of technology with the potential to change how applications consume and produce data; Second, the Infinit and Docker teams were almost comically similar: same obsession with decentralized systems; same empathy for the needs of both developers and operators; same taste for simple and modular designs.

Today we are pleased to announce that Infinit is joining the Docker family. We will use the Infinit technology to address one of the most frequent Docker feature requests: distributed storage that “just works” out of the box, and can integrate existing storage system.

Docker users have been driving us in this direction for two reasons. The first is that application portability across any infrastructure has been a central driver for Docker usage. As developers rapidly evolve from single container applications to multi-container applications deployed on a distributed system, they want to make sure their entire application is portable across any type of infrastructure, whether on cloud or on premise, including for the stateful services it may include. Infinit will address that by providing a portable distributed storage engine, in the same way that our SocketPlane acquisition provided a portable distributed overlay networking implementation for Docker.

The second driver has been the rapid adoption of Docker to containerize stateful enterprise applications, as opposed to next-generation stateless apps. Enterprises expect their container platform to have a point of view about persistent storage, but at the same time they want the flexibility of working with their existing vendors like HPE, EMC, Nutanix etc. Infinit addresses this need as well.

With all of our acquisitions, whether it was Conductant, which enabled us to scale powerful large-scale web operations stacks or SocketPlane, we’ve focused on extending our core capabilities and providing users with modular building blocks to work with and expand. Docker is committed to open sourcing Infinit’s solution in 2017 and add it to the ever-expanding list of infrastructure plumbing projects that Docker has made available to the community, such as  InfraKit, SwarmKit and Notary.  

For those who are interested in learning more about the technology, you can watch Infinit CTO Quentin Hocquet’s presentation at Docker Distributed Systems Summit last month, and we have scheduled an online meetup where the Infinit founders will walk through the architecture and do a demo of their solution. A key aspect of the Infinit architecture is that it is completely decentralized. At Docker we believe that decentralization is the only path to creating software systems capable of scaling at Internet scale. With the help of the Infinit team, you should expect more and more decentralized designs coming out of Docker engineering.

A few Words from CEO and founder Julien Quintard –

“We are thrilled to join forces with Docker. Docker has changed the way developers work in order to gain in agility. Stateful applications is the natural next step in this evolution. This is where Infinit comes into play, providing the Docker community with a default storage platform for applications to reliably store their state be it for a database, logs, a website’s media files and more.”

A few details about the Infinit’ architecture:

Modern Storage Platform for Container Environments

Infinit’s next generation storage platform has been designed to be scalable and resilient while being highly customizable for container environments. The Infinit storage platform has the following characteristics:

Software-based: can be deployed on any hardware from legacy appliances to commodity bare metal, virtual machines or even containers.

Programmatic: developers can easily automate the creation and deployment of multiple storage infrastructure, each tailored to the overlying application’s needs through policy-based capabilities.

Scalable: by relying on a decentralized architecture (i.e peer-to-peer), Infinit does away with the leader/follower model, hence does not suffer from bottlenecks and single points of failure.

Self Healing: Infinit’s rebalancing mechanism allows for the system to adapt to various types of failures, including Byzantine.

Multi-Purpose: the Infinit platform provides interfaces for block, object and file storage: NFS, SMB, AWS S3, OpenStack Swift, iSCSI, FUSE etc.


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10 thoughts on “Docker acquires Infinit: a new data layer for distributed applications

  1. Amazing news!!!

  2. Any plans to allow this this to interface with Ceph?

  3. WOW. A long awaited feature. Believe it will be soon available for Windows Containers as well !

  4. Awesome! How can we test the new features of docker in conjunction with inifinit?!!

  5. GREAT NEWS!!! =)
    I need that!

  6. So glad you'll be providing this SDS feature out of the box! Needed & Cool when fully integrated.

  7. Great news

  8. I'm not sure what's gonna happen with Infinit. It was my beloved tool. For everyone who is looking for an Infinit alternative, I recommend Droplr. Personally, I think it is a simple & powerful tool.

  9. Avatar for Solomon Hykes

    Constantin Galbenu

    Nothing new in the last year or so. Is the Infinit project still active?

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