Organisations wishing to explore the use of Docker containers can now tap into commercial support, as well as some new software, to help them manage the new technology.
Docker, the company behind the popular container technology of the same name, now offers enterprise-level subscription support for US$150 a month.
More than 300 million Docker containers have been downloaded since the software was created two years ago, and companies such as eBay, Baidu, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Groupon, the ING financial company, Yelp, and Spotify all routinely use the technology, according to Docker.
Companies can contract the support either through Docker directly, or through Amazon Web Services, IBM or Microsoft -- all of which offer Docker cloud services.
The company has also released new software, called the Docker Trusted Registry (DTR), that can serve as a central location for the enterprise to store and manage Docker containers.
DTR is the in-house version of Docker Hub Registry, the online repository for Docker images. The software can be paired with Microsoft Active Directory or with another LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) authentication system, so corporate user accounts can be used to interact with Docker containers, paving the way for system auditing.
More than 800 organisations have already tested DTR since its beta launch earlier this year. More than half of these early adopters were already using Docker for multiple projects.
Containers have been surging in popularity of late in part because they allow developers to easily package an application, along with any associated libraries, so it can be run on any server, without worrying about the underlying hardware.
This approach has led to the rise of microservices architectures, in which complex applications are assembled using smaller container-based components that can be easily upgraded without disrupting the entire system. At its Dockercon annual conference, held this week in San Francisco, Microsoft demonstrated how to a run an application composed of containerised components both on Linux and Microsoft Windows Server.
IBM will incorporate DTR into its UrbanCode set of cloud offerings for automating the deployment of complex cloud applications, as well integrate the software with its PureApplication set of services for running hybrid cloud applications, designed to run both in-house or on an external cloud service. IBM is also developing its own containers specifically for enterprise deployments.
Microsoft is incorporating Docker into its own enterprise software and cloud services as well. The company has posted a secure Docker container on its Azure marketplace for its customers to use. The company also updated its Visual Studio integrated development environment to allow programmers to upload their programs into Docker containers.