Docker Delivers Native Multi-Host Networking to Advance Distributed Application Portability

New Software Defined Networking (SDN), Dynamic Plugin Architecture and Orchestration Capabilities Enhance Extensibility for Third-Party Ecosystem, While Expanding Freedom of Choice for Users 

SAN FRANCISCO (DockerCon 2015) – June 22, 2015 – Docker, the project behind the open platform for distributed applications, today announced powerful new capabilities that strengthen the portability of multi-container distributed applications including Docker multi-host SDN and enhancements for its three orchestration tools. Dockerized distributed applications are 100 percent portable, dynamic, composable and backed by the industry’s broadest ecosystem. Through collaborative efforts with its partner ecosystem, the Docker open platform also offers a new, dynamic plugin model that dramatically simplifies how third-party tools are integrated with the platform and presented as full-featured “batteries” for developers and sysadmins.

Multi-host (SDN) That Delivers Application Portability

Docker multi-host SDN is now available as native platform functionality to ensure that multi-container distributed applications can seamlessly communicate across IP networks, while being portable across any network infrastructure. “By bringing SDN directly to the application itself and into the hands of the developers, Docker is driving multi-container application portability throughout the application development lifecycle,” said Solomon Hykes, CTO and chief architect of Docker. “Individual developers, through a single command, can establish the topology of the network to connect discrete Dockerized services into a distributed application. And then through a set of commands be able to inspect, audit and change topology ‘on the fly.’”

Docker’s new “batteries included but swappable” SDN functionality was delivered through its recent SocketPlane acquisition along with feedback and collaboration amongst its networking partner ecosystem. Tying Docker’s SDN functionality directly with pre-existing standards – DNS (domain name system) and VXLAN (virtual extensible LAN) – ensures interoperability not only for multi-container applications, but also between Dockerized apps and legacy applications. Use of DNS ensures that Dockerized services will be able to communicate without modification. VXLAN enables the creation of portable, distributed networks that allow an application’s microservices to reside on any member of a Swarm, a native Docker cluster. By supporting pre-existing networking standards, Docker networking aligns with the networking skills and operational best practices that have been built up in any given organization.

This easy-to-use SDN functionality provides a new level of consistency in terms of how applications are networked through their full lifecycle. A development team can initially define the topology of its distributed application, while the networking team can, at a later stage, apply the sophisticated networking policy necessary to run an application with the highest level of availability and security in production. Even with these sophisticated policies in place, an operations team will have the freedom of choice – without reconfiguring the Dockerized application – to move the application from their private data center to any cloud.

Docker Plugin Architecture Exponentially Grows Options for Users and Opportunity for Technology Partners

The Docker team, in collaboration with its ecosystem partners – most notably ClusterHQ, Glider Labs and Weaveworks – has created a new dynamic plugin architecture, which provides an opportunity for direct platform extensibility for hundreds of technology partners and for thousands of developers who have created their own Docker tooling. This new architecture offers an SDK model for discrete areas of integration in which a Docker “batteries” capability; for example, Docker native SDN can be “swapped” with a third-party product. Initial plugin capabilities are in the areas of networking and storage volumes and are available for use from Cisco, Microsoft, Midokura, Nuage Networks, Project Calico, VMware and Weave for SDN and ClusterHQ for storage volumes.

This dynamic plugin architecture model is a powerful step forward for user experience with the Docker platform. Users will benefit from full-featured, Docker-optimized solutions from their favorite third parties, who can do the direct Docker integration themselves. This extensibility means that development teams can create and test the distributed applications using the product toolkits that they regularly rely on, which might differ from the tooling operations teams use to take the same Dockerized application from staging into production. Similarly, operations teams will have the freedom to select the right production-grade products for the right infrastructure with zero impact on the development team’s workflow. The plugin architecture accelerates opportunities for partners by making their solutions readily available to millions of developers using Docker. This is a significant improvement over previously having to be tied to Docker’s release cycle or custom drivers to be merged into Docker.

Orchestration Tool Enhancements

Docker’s three orchestration tools, Docker Machine, Docker Compose and Docker Swarm, all have new individual feature enhancements. Across the board, the biggest area of incremental functionality is tied to the new multi-host networking capability. Docker Compose defines the containers that comprise the distributed application and how they are connected together. Through integration with Docker Swarm, the multi-container application can be immediately networked across multiple hosts and can communicate seamlessly across a cluster of machines with a single command.

With this release, Docker Swarm, Docker’s native clustering solution, now has working integration with Mesos, which was previously announced as a joint collaboration with Mesosphere at DockerCon EU in December 2014. Swarm’s “batteries included but swappable” model ensures that multi-container applications are 100% portable, while at the same time providing the operations teams the freedom of choice to determine the right scheduling solution for the operational needs of each specific application. Developers can begin clustering their applications in Swarm and operations teams at a later stage can scale their application to hundreds of hosts by plugging in Mesos as a scheduling solution. Docker is also announcing a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Amazon EC2 Container Service (ECS) to optimize the scheduling of Dockerized applications for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), and provides a native cluster management experience for Docker users. Amazon ECS integration with Docker Compose and Docker Swarm will make it easier for customers to launch tasks on Amazon ECS using the same APIs across their local dev environments.


Docker Machine, Docker Compose and Docker Swarm (with the Mesos integration) are available as individual downloads with updates tied to the 1.7 platform release. Docker networking and plugins are part of Docker Engine and are available in an experimental build.

Additional Information

About Docker, Inc.

Docker, Inc. is the company behind the Docker open source platform, and is the chief sponsor of the Docker ecosystem. Docker is an open platform for developers and system administrators to build, ship and run distributed applications. With Docker, IT organizations shrink application delivery from months to minutes, frictionlessly move workloads between data centers and the cloud and can achieve up to 20X greater efficiency in their use of computing resources. Inspired by an active community and by transparent, open source innovation, Docker containers have been downloaded 300 million times and Docker is used by millions of developers across thousands of the world’s most innovative organizations, including eBay, Baidu, the BBC, Groupon, ING, Yelp, Spotify, Yandex and Cambridge HealthCare. Docker’s rapid adoption has catalyzed an active ecosystem, resulting in more than 100,000 “Dockerized” applications, over 40 Docker-related startups and integration partnerships with AWS, Cloud Foundry, Google, IBM, Microsoft, OpenStack, Rackspace, Red Hat and VMware.

Docker, Inc. is venture backed by AME Cloud Ventures, Benchmark, Coatue, Goldman Sachs, Greylock Partners,
Insight Venture Partners, Northern Trust, Sequoia Capital, SV Angel ,
Trinity Ventures and Y Combinator.


Press Contact

Heather Fitzsimmons

Mindshare PR


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