CoreOS Fires a Rocket Up Docker’s ****

By | December 6, 2014

Quickly setting the scene……. Containers are rocking the IT world. I think they’re the next generation of virtualisation technology. And I think in time they’ll supersede the virtual machine as the dominant runtime environment for applications. And Docker is emerging as the de facto standard in this new world of containers. And that’s all well and good. But amid all the hype surrounding containers and Docker, CoreOS decided it didn’t like what it was seeing, and launched a containers standard of its own called Rocket!

So…… let’s take a closer look……

Is Rocket a Threat to Docker?

rcket and docker

Q. Do I think Rocket is a threat to Docker?

A.  Hmmmmm….. Yes and No.

Q.  Do I think Rocket can be successful?

A.  Absolutely yes!

A bit more detail….

Competition is king! It drives innovation like nothing else I know. So the way I see it…… Rocket and Docker competing will only serve to drive innovation from all parties. So yes, Rocket is a threat to Docker. But that threat will only serve to improve Docker. And if that’s all Rocket accomplishes, it’ll be worth it. But I hope Rocket will do more than that, and go on to be a thriving container technology itself!

NOTE: Need to learn Docker? Check out my Docker Deep Dive course over at Pluralsight to get yourself up to speed!

Is There Room for Rocket and Docker?

Hell yes! The container ecosystem is young and has plenty of oxygen for everyone! In fact, Rocket validates the container market and Docker, and can potentially contribute significantly to the ecosystem.

And what the heck….. life in the container ecosystem would get pretty drab if Docker remained the only game in town. How boring would the hypervisor market be if all we had was KVM, or vSphere! Same would be true of Operating Systems — as good as Linux is, we need Windows, BSD, and all the rest, to keep things fresh and moving.

So Why Did CoreOS Do It?

Before I answer that…… once any company or technology gets to a certain size, there’s always gonna be people who think they should be doing things differently. That’s just life!

Sure….. for the guys at Docker it might sting a bit — especially when we consider the fact that Docker and CoreOS were such good playmates. But every company that matters, and every technology that matters, stirs up opinions and emotions. And this just proves that containers matter, and Docker matters!

Anyway, back to why CoreOS have done this….. Docker is doing amazing things. They’re breaking new ground and innovating like there’s no tomorrow. As are CoreOS! But the two companies have different views of the future, and slightly different goals. CoreOS wants/needs a lean and mean container runtime, whereas Docker appears to be evolving into something a whole lot more than just a container runtime. In essence, CoreOS is looking at Docker and seeing something a hole lot more than what it originally jumped into bed with.

docker swarm

And while CoreOS have a point,  I certainly wouldn’t class the Docker daemon as bloated. That said, it’ll be interesting to watch and see how things like clustering, networking, orchestration, potentially storage and more get implemented into Docker. Who knows, rival container technologies might serve to influence how this kinda stuff shapes out with Docker.


So much to say about this situation, and all of it good!

Containers are shaping the future of enterprise tech, and there was never gonna be just one container standard. In fact I expect we’ll see even more rival container technologies spring up in the coming months. And that’s great.

The way I see it, Rocket is a massive compliment to Docker and a massive validation of the container market.

And I’m pretty flipping excited to see what Rocket brings to the table — not to mention any other potential implementations of the App Container specification.

So kudos to the guys at CoreOS for having the cahoonas to stand up against a raging juggernaut! In fact….. half of me kinda hopes these two guys will battle it out, toe-to-toe, over the next few years — that would make for one heck of a cool future!

Anyway…. taking a step back and analysing things, I’m struggling to see a downside! Exciting times!

…… I just hope Docker doesn’t turn into a *big company* too soon!

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