Docker and container technology makes it easier for DevOps to deploy applications across on-premises and cloud servers. But how exactly will Docker and container technology impact the IT channel in 2016? Glad you asked. Here are 10 predictions...
10. Channel Partner Programs Will Rise: Docker's channel partner program will rank among the fastest-growing worldwide. But the vast majority of channel partners will be late to the party. The reason? Most VARs and MSPs have yet to embrace the DevOps management opportunity, which is closely related to Docker's growing popularity.
9. Docker and Virtualization Confusion Will Persist: Some folks think Docker will disrupt traditional virtualization software. Others say Docker and traditional virtual machines will cooperate with one another. Some of the political posturing surely involve your current view of the software landscape. If you're firmly in the VMware camp, you see an opportunity to coexist. If you're new to the space, you see the opportunity to disrupt. But how so? Red Hat offers this definition on how Docker and virtualization overlap... and how they don't:
"Virtual machines represent an entire server with all of the associated software and maintenance concerns. Docker containers provide application isolation and can be configured with minimum run-time environments. In a Docker container, the kernel and parts of the operating system infrastructure are shared. For the virtual machine, a full operating system must be included."
At first glance, the definition suggest that Docker is more efficient. But even Red Hat concedes, "Containers do not replace virtual machines for all use cases. Careful evaluation is still required to determine what is best for your application."
8. Docker Won't Go Public... Yet: Despite being a rapid-growth company, Docker won't pursue an IPO in 2016. Instead, ChannelE2E expects that move in 2017 or so. Among the company's latest steps to ramp up the business: As of April 2015 or so, Docker had raised about $150 million and was valued at more than $1 billion. The company also hired former Twitter CFO Mike Gupta as CFO in September 2015.
7. Container Standards Will Be Tricky to Navigate: When it comes to software containers, Docker earns most of the headlines. But don't forget about CoreOS, which promotes open source projects for Linux containers. An industry standards body -- called the Open Container Initiative (OCI) -- is striving to create an open ecosystem for customers and partners, listening to both CoreOS and Docker along the way. But the balancing act won't be easy. CoreOS has already raised some concerns about OCI's focus.
6. Docker Service Providers Will Emerge: The smartest MSPs and service providers will take a step back from their traditional monitoring and management strategies. They'll build holistic business strategies that leverage infrastructure management and application performance management (APM). Those services will allow customers to enhance their use of Docker within a DevOps practice.
5. RMM Will Be Late to the Container Revolution: Many traditional RMM (remote monitoring and management) software tools were designed to manage servers and desktops. They extended to support mobile devices, printers, the network layer and more. But generally speaking, I haven't heard of MSP-centric RMM tools supporting Docker just yet. (Am I wrong?) Still, a range of Docker monitoring and management tools has emerged.
4. Large MSPs Will Become Docker Savvy -- Or Look Foolish: Fully 70 percent of enterprises are either using Docker or evaluating it in their organizations. Another 23 percent are familiar with Docker but not using it yet. Only 7 percent have never heard of it, according to the CloudCow Docker Adoption Survey results. Like we said: Docker is synonymous with enterprise DevOps. MSPs need to talk the talk -- and walk the walk.
3. DockerCon Will Be Huge: DockerCon 16, set for Seattle in June 2016, will attract developers, DevOps, system administrators and C‑level executives. But take a closer look. You'll see plenty of service providers at the event as well, though those folks will represent the leading edge of the IT channel.
2. Public Clouds With Docker Will Be The Killer Combo: Sure, you can already leverage Amazon EC2 Container Service, Docker on Azure and Automated Container Management on Google Cloud Platform. Enterprises already know it. But a growing number of service providers will wake up to that killer combo as well.
1. Service Providers Like 2nd Watch Will Lead the Way: While the vast majority of the IT channel remains focused on traditional SMB work, disrupters like 2nd Watch will become strategic service providers to Docker customers.