Top Docker execs: How the container powerhouse is positioning itself for a multi-cloud world

The CIOs have spoken: they’re determined to pursue a multi-cloud strategy, and Docker thinks it is well-positioned to help make that happen.

That’s one of the first things new Docker CEO Steve Singh learned in his first few weeks on the job after traveling and talking to chief information officers at some of the bigger companies around the world, he told attendees at our GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit earlier this month. The cloud business may be booming, but it’s still a fraction of the overall market for technology services, and Singh is betting that Docker’s container platform will be a key part of their plans to spread their eggs across several baskets.

“The memory of the IT buyer is very long,” Singh said, referring to the onerous licensing practices of enterprise software vendors over the years. Most of those IT buyers have promised themselves they won’t get locked in again, and are planning to hedge their bets with multiple cloud vendors and by keeping some workloads under their own control.

Docker CEO Steve Singh at the GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

In fact, “we see 75 percent of our enterprise deployments as hybrid deployments, meaning at least two clouds and on-premises” workloads, said Docker Chief Operating Officer Scott Johnston, who joined Singh on stage at the event.

Containers make a hybrid strategy easier. One of the linchpins of modern software development, containers allow application developers to break up their apps into lots of smaller pieces that can be configured and run independently, making software development faster and more reliable. Container technology has been around for a long time, but Docker’s breakthrough product made containers easier to use, and the result was one of the most quickly adopted new enterprise computing technologies in a long time.

The problem for Docker is that it’s not making a ton of money off this breakthrough. Estimates vary, but Docker revenue has been described as “tens of millions” of dollars a year by CNBC sources, which is not a lot for a company valued over $ 1 billion. That’s one of the reasons why Singh is now CEO of the company: to either generate meaningful revenue or sell Docker to a bigger enterprise computing company.

Singh said Docker plans to add new features over the next several years to its main product, Docker Enterprise Edition, which is basically a supported version of the open-source Docker container technology. In addition, as more and more large technology organizations containerize their apps, they’re going to want to pay for support from a trusted partner, Johnston said.

And Singh is on the same page as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella when it comes to the growing importance of edge computing, which could open up all kinds of new opportunities for containerized applications.

“Fifty percent of data will be created at the edge of the network over time,” Singh said. Containers could make it easier to deploy software to edge devices, which gives Docker a whole new platform to try and capture.

Watch the full video of Docker CEO Steve Singh and COO Scott Johnston at the GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit above.

GeekWire

Play
Slider