New Docker tool removes a big barrier for enterprises

With the Universal Control Plane, companies get operational control without restricting developers

Making containers enterprise-ready has been a theme at this week's DockerCon EU conference in Barcelona, and on Tuesday Docker itself launched a new tool with that goal in mind.

Aiming to give companies operational control while maintaining developers' productivity, Docker Universal Control Plane runs on-premises and is designed to help deploy and manage Dockerized distributed applications in production on any infrastructure.

"Portability has always been one of the premier attractions of modern application containers such as Docker, so it's no surprise to see the company and community focused on enhancing and extending that portability," said Jay Lyman, a research manager with 451 Research.

Enterprise container users need to be able to centrally manage containerized applications on a variety of infrastructures, and also have more fluidity and consistency between development and production environments, Lyman added.

While IT operations departments often resort to building their own management tools, Docker Universal Control Plane offers centralized controls for provisioning the compute, network and storage resources to run Dockerized applications on any infrastructure. Developer teams, meanwhile, get self-service capabilities for agility as they deploy and manage applications.

Although the tool is designed for use on-premises, it can manage the simultaneous deployment of Dockerized applications on Docker hosts across multiple platforms such as bare metal, virtualized, or private or public cloud, including Microsoft Azure, Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services and SoftLayer.

It also integrates with Docker Trusted Registry to create what Docker calls the only on-premises, end-to-end commercial offering that delivers Containers as a Service (CaaS). Through that, operations teams can give developers secure and manageable content via a self-service portal on programmable infrastructure. It's fully compatible with Docker Toolbox and the Docker APIs so that developers don’t have to learn new tooling to comply with operational controls.

Docker Universal Control Plane supports any application on any bare-metal server, virtual machine or cloud instance. It also supports any Linux distribution along with Windows Server and Solaris. It's designed to be tightly integrated with an organization’s directory services, allowing IT operations to tie the Docker-based lifecycle into the company's access control policies.

"We knew that enterprise integrations are a must: LDAP/Active Directory for authentication, API for monitoring streams, auditing and event logging, and role-based access control (RBAC)," wrote Banjot Chanana, Docker's senior director of product management, in a blog post announcing the news. "These are the things every enterprise solution must have to exist inside the data center."

Docker Universal Control Plane is now available as a public beta. Ultimately, it will be offered by subscription bundled with Docker Trusted Registry and official commercial support for Docker environments.

On Monday, Hewlett Packard Enterprise unveiled several Docker-focused offerings of its own designed for large corporate users.

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