Google is backing an open source cloud technology called Docker. Docker is a tool that lets online software makers neatly package their creations so they can rapidly move them from machine to machine to machine. Google thinks Docker as something that can change software construction and make it easier for anyone to use huge amounts of computing power.
Google’s Eric Brewer is today set to unveil new ways that Google will combine Docker with its cloud computing services, Google App Engine and Google Compute Engine. This is a way of fuelling interest in these services as it strives to challenge Amazon’s dominance in the burgeoning cloud market.
Brewer will say that Docker mirrors the sort of thing that Google has done for years inside its own data centres and provide a better way of treating hundreds of machines like a single computer, and he believes it represents the future of software development on the net.According to Docker, over 14,000 applications are now using its containers, and Brewer says a developer technology hasn’t taken off so quickly and so enormously since the rise of the Ruby on Rails programming framework eight or nine years ago.
Linux has long offered “containers” that isolate various tasks on a computer server, preventing them from interfering with one another. Google runs its vast empire atop containers like these, having spent years honing the way they work. But Docker has made it easier to move such containers from one machine to another. “
It means that developers can build a software application on a laptop, they can immediately move it onto a cloud service and run it without making changes. It has always been the promise of cloud computing–that we could treat the internet like one giant computer but we’re nowhere near that reality. Due to the vagaries of different operating system and different cloud services, it can be quite hard to move software from place to place.
Docker still is not all there yet. Each machine must be equipped with a small sliver of additional software. And though this software is designed to operate in the same way on any version of Linux. It is not there yet, but with Google backing it, it is only a matter of time.