Is Docker Changing Its Name to Moby?

If you did not attend DockerCon 2017 recently, well you really didn’t miss much. From the perspective of a user, this DockerCon was probably the least interesting since the project started. There were no significant announcements and this left a lot of attendees dissatisfied. Here is one comment from a thread on Hacker News:

“I want my DockerCon money back. What exactly did you announce besides multi-stage builds at the general sessions that is actually benefiting Docker users? I don’t care about your plumbing and constant rebranding, other than finding it very discouraging, I want to know what you’re actually doing with your product this year. I guess nothing.”

Despite this disappointment, all was not bad. Docker is growing in maturity and hence its ability to release cool new features consistently begins to diminish. They have to slow down the pace of new features and stabilize instead.

Some interesting stats from the conference:

  • This was the largest DockerCon by far, ~5500 attendees
  • Docker now boasts about 12B pulls from Docker Hub, with over 900K repos
  • More and more enterprises are using Docker for mission critical operations, for example, Intuit for processing tax returns

In a nutshell, Docker usage continues to grow, and while not on par with hypervisor-based VMs in terms of its features and maturity, is starting to knock on the door as a cost effective and efficient replacement.

In terms of new features, the noteworthy ones were:

  • Multi-stage builds that will simplify your image building process while keeping the image size small. There is a good tutorial on Katacoda if you want to try this feature out.
  • Some security enhancements to SwarmKit and ability to deploy to swarm clusters in the cloud from your desktop or something like that. (Honestly, this is exciting if you use swarm orchestration, we don’t!)
  • LinuxKit ( a toolkit for building custom, minimal, immutable Linux distributions. This means you can now run Linux Docker containers on all platforms, for example, like on Windows and Azure. Yay, congratulations to all of you out there that are using windows desktops.

The key themes for DockerCon 2017 seemed to be, one, Docker is now a big boy, and is being used by large enterprises, to solve serious problems. This is important for Docker, as it wants to grow out of the ‘developer’s toy’ perception to a more serious production-worthy status. Two, Docker wants to run everywhere. So far Docker Inc has created specific distributions for mac, windows, AWS, GCP, Azure, and i guess will continue to do this until Docker runs literally on any platform – on-premises or in the cloud. This is a big deal and is a big win for everyone.

Lastly, the issue that has created the most confusion is the bit about Docker, the company, renaming itself to Moby or renaming its flagship product, Docker, to Moby. Neither of these are true.

From an official Docker blog:

“The Moby Project is a new open-source project to advance the software containerization movement and help the ecosystem take containers mainstream. It provides a library of components, a framework for assembling them into custom container-based systems and a place for all container enthusiasts to experiment and exchange ideas.”

So essentially this project aims to split the engine and Docker platform into smaller components, thus improving transparency and allowing the freedom to package them up in any combination desired. It will also remove the Docker UI, SDK, etc that are specific to the commercial edition. Thus keeping the community and corporate interests separate. You can read more about this at the moby project page.

Catch the day 1 highlights and the recorded keynotes here:

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Author Adeesh Fulay, Director Products

More posts by Adeesh Fulay, Director Products