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Q&A: Interview with ClusterHQ, Talking Docker Fig Integration
Back in August of this year, I spoke with a company called ClusterHQ which created a software product called Flocker, and as you might expect from the name, it has to do with the Docker container craze happening right now.  From that last discussion, you might remember, Flocker is the company's flagship product for running databases inside Docker containers.  So, where are they now and what have they been up to?  I was able to connect with ClusterHQ's founder and CTO, Luke Marsden, to find out the latest.

VMblog:  It's great to speak with you again.  For new readers of VMblog, can you start off by giving a quick background on ClusterHQ?

Luke Marsden:  Certainly. ClusterHQ evolved from a company called HybridCluster we started in 2008. HybridCluster addressed the issues facing web and cloud hosting service providers by offering resilience and scaling for the cloud without the need to rewrite apps. We originally ran HybridCluster on the FreeBSD operating system with a container technology called Jails. Since then, the Docker ecosystem and Linux has exploded and we refocused the company to solve the same issues for Linux-based applications and formed ClusterHQ.

VMblog:  You recently announced some new features. Can you provide more information on the Docker Fig integration?

Marsden:  On November 18 we launched version 0.3.1 of Flocker and added a major feature we've been working on for some time and are happy to finally introduce. This version brings integration of our Flocker data-volume and container manager with Docker's Fig file format for describing complex applications. This allows devops teams to move their applications and databases from development to staging to production much more easily than before. Developers can take their isolated development environment built with Fig and manage it across multiple servers including multiple data centers and cloud providers.

Another notable feature is Flocker software can now be installed on Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and Digital Ocean. This means that developers are able to move Dockerized applications and their databases between servers in one or more clouds.

VMblog:  Very interesting.  Can you provide more information on Flocker?

Marsden:  Of course. Flocker is our open source data manager designed to assist developers when they want to manage and move around datasets within Docker. Flocker is the only container management tool that allows developers to define their entire application, including its data-backed services, as a set of connected Docker containers and easily migrate them between hosts, even across different data centers, and now clouds like AWS, Rackspace and Digital Ocean. We unveiled Flocker in August of this year.

VMblog:  How will ClusterHQ benefit the Docker ecosystem?

Marsden:  ClusterHQ solves the operational problems that are preventing databases from being run in containers in production. We have already seen customer's interest and adoption with our product. When we announced Flocker we received feedback that we are very much solving a real problem and within days enterprises came to us to help them run their containers. We think Flocker will continue to benefit the Docker ecosystem by providing a service no other company has set out to do.

VMblog:  What can we expect to see next from ClusterHQ?

Marsden:  We are still early, but we are busy adding other critical features for running multi-host, multi-container and even multi-cloud Docker applications in production. You will see these features added in future versions leading up to 1.0. Today we are very proud of the progress we've made with the portability of data volumes attached to containers. We have an experienced team of technical experts in storage, networking and containers dedicated to solving the operational use cases with containers that weren't previously possible.

VMblog:  Anything else you'd like to mention?

Marsden:  We've got a lot on our plates as we enter 2015, and there are lots of good things to come, both from product and company perspectives. Docker and the Docker ecosystem are moving quickly and growth of both the market and the players in it is inevitable. We have some big news coming up, and look forward to keeping you and VMblog readers apprised. 

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Once again, thanks to Luke Marsden, founder and CTO at ClusterHQ, for taking time to speak with VMblog.
Published Tuesday, November 18, 2014 10:15 AM by David Marshall
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