As one of the earliest backers of recently shuttered vendor ClusterHQ, I’ve seen a long and torturous journey for Docker add-on vendors. Part of this is a timing issue—ClusterHQ was pretty early, and arguably burned a bunch of its hard-earned cash too early.
But some of the issues are more ecosystem related. When Docker, the commercial entity behind the eponymously named open-source project, was first founded, it received massive interest from funders. Multiple funding rounds saw Docker Inc. achieve incredible valuation levels that many predicted would be problematic in the future.
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That prediction would seem to have eventuated, and the recent high-profile rise of Kubernetes certainly increased the pain Docker feels. While many will be quick to point out that Docker and Kubernetes aren’t mutually exclusive, Docker’s valuation was arguably predicated on the company’s ability to expand its footprint far further into the orchestration aspects of containers. The fact that an open-source initiative came to bear, and one that has the proven track record of being directly descended from the systems that Google uses to run its own massive business, certainly put the pressure on Docker.