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Kubernetes vs. Docker Datacenter

I found this article on serverwatch today: http://www.serverwatch.com/server-trends/why-kubernetes-is-all-conquering.html

It’s not technically deep, but it does highlight the groundswell of interest for and adoption of kubernetes. It’s also worth noting that GCE and Azure will now both have a native, fully managed kubernetes offering. I haven’t found a fully managed docker datacenter offering, but I’m sure there is one. It would be interesting to compare the two from a public cloud offering perspective.

I’ve worked a lot with OpenStack for on premises clouds. This naturally leads to the idea of using OpenStack as a platform for container orchestration platforms (yes, I just layered platforms). As of today, the process of standing up Docker Datacenter or kubernetes still needs to mature. Last month eBay mentioned that it created its own kubernetes deployment tool on top of openstack: http://www.zdnet.com/article/ebay-builds-its-own-tool-to-integrate-kubernetes-and-openstack/. While it does plan to open source the new tool, it’s not available today.

One OpenStack Vendor, Mirantis, provides support for kubernetes through Murano as their preferred container solution: https://www.mirantis.com/solutions/container-technologies/. I’m not sure how reliable Murano is for long term management of kubernetes. For organizations that have an OpenStack vendor, support like this could streamline the evaluation and adoption of containers in the enterprise.

I did find a number of demo, PoC, kick the tires examples of Docker datacenter on OpenStack, but not much automation or production support. I still love the idea of using the Docker trusted registry. I know that kubernetes provides a private registry component (https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes/tree/master/cluster/addons/registry), but it’s not as sophisticated as Docker Trusted Registry in terms of signing, scanning, etc. However, this functionality is quickly making its way into kubernetes, with some functionality already available in alpha: https://github.com/kubernetes/kubernetes/issues/22888

On the whole, I’m more drawn to kubernetes from a wholistic point of view, but Docker is effectively keying into some real enterprise concerns. Given the open source community and vendor investment in kubernetes, I expect the enterprise gap (like a trusted registry for kubernetes) will close this year.

2 Comments Kubernetes vs. Docker Datacenter

  1. Olaf Stichtenoth

    Hi Daniel,
    interesting thoughts on kubernetes and open stack. What kind of role do you think will be played by open shift in these scenarios – especially in relation to the enterprise usage of docker?

    1. Daniel Watrous


      openshift, and other PaaS tools like cloudfoundry and even Heroku, are more prescriptive than orchestration tools like docker datacenter and kubernetes. I spent two years working on PaaS at Hewlett Packard and have published about it on my site here. In the end, it’s too much effort to make it work when a project deviates from the predefined approach favored by the tool. While it is true that the prescriptive aspects can be customized, learning how to customize them is a big investment and creates platform lock in. Based on my own experience over the past three years, I expect to see orchestration tools like kubernetes continue to win market share and platform tools like openshift and cloudfoundry to lose market share.


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