There’s nothing like an emotive headline, huh?

But, really, it’s gotta be pretty dire at Docker HQ these days. Docker is, after all, the company behind the project that spawned the interest (trying not to sound like Churchill’s riddle within an enigma here) in containers. Given that Linux containers are a technology approach that has existed for years, hats should be taken off for what Docker achieved. But recognizing what they’ve done does not equate to building a sustainable business and Docker has been a bit of a victim of its own success.

But this post isn’t actually about Docker, despite anything container-related these days unavoidably being cast in light of Docker’s woes. No, this article is about Oracle. Now I’ll be the first to admit that a discussion about an innovative movement with huge uptake and momentum, that also has Oracle in its first line is somewhat jarring. oracle isn’t the first place one thinks of when the word “innovative” comes up. Word like “legacy””,” “lock-in,” and “predatory” more like it. But in this case, Oracle is indeed jumping into new and interesting territory.

Long story short: Oracle is joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) which is, of course, the foundation behind (or in front of, depending on your perspective) the hugely popular Kubernetes container orchestration and management platform. And when I say hugely popular, a list of the large cloud vendors either reportedly or openly working on Kubernetes support is massive: Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, IBM and Huawei are but a handful. Add to that the fact that Mesosphere, home of the Mesos data center operating system, has jumped on board also and you have something with some serious momentum.

And so today we add Oracle to that list. The company, in addition to becoming a platinum member of the CNCF, is also releasing Kubernetes on Oracle Linux and open sourcing a Terraform Kubernetes Installer for its own cloud offering. In a jarring combination that will have people chuckling given Oracle’s perceived bulk and complexity, the company is suggesting that, with this product release:

developers gain unparalleled simplicity for running their cloud native workloads on Oracle.

Oh my. But enough of the Oracle-hate because this news, while about Oracle specifically, more generally paints a fascinating picture for those watching the rise and rise of Kubernetes. In a somewhat unusual departure for a press release, in announcing this news the CNCF says something that, frankly, is pretty much irrefutable at this stage:

Kubernetes is the industry leading open source container orchestration and management platform rapidly emerging as the standard for containerized applications.

I suspect as someone who has been around the technology traps for years, the COO of the CNCF, Chris Aniszczyk, was somewhat bemused by his glowing description of Oracle’’:

Oracle has decades of experience meeting the needs of world-class enterprises. We are excited to have Oracle join CNCF as a platinum member, and believe that their key role will help define the future of enterprise cloud.


Kubernetes won, Docker (the business rather than the project) lost. It’s as simple as that. Kubernetes has the buy-in, the enterprise interest and less perceived commercial conflict than Docker and for that, and many other, reasons, it seems to be the winner in the container orchestration space. This Oracle announcement is more interesting through that lens, than it is a reflection on the utility or otherwise of Oracle’s cloud platform. That is a separate issue that we can debate at length.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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