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Q&A: Docker's David Messina on why the SocketPlane Acquisition is Important

Docker, Inc. recently announced the purchase of SocketPlane, a software-defined networking (SDN) start-up that has been an active participant in shaping the initial efforts around Docker's open API for networking.

To find out more about this news, I spoke with David Messina, VP of marketing at Docker.

VMblog:  Why is networking important to Docker?

David Messina:  We believe that with the rapid growth in multi-container, multi-host applications, networking now is a key part of the stack for distributed applications and has become a focal point within the Docker partner ecosystem. By bringing SocketPlane's talent on board and establishing a dedicated team, we will be able to maintain the amazing pace of community advancements in open, modular and secure Docker networking.

VMblog:  And why did you choose to purchase SocketPlane?

Messina:  We selected SocketPlane because we believe they have the unrivaled capacity to help us create an API and the surrounding tools to ensure the ecosystem is able to thrive. The SocketPlane team members have experience to varying degrees with virtually every open source SDN effort, and their expertise will play a major role in driving networking for containers forward.

They are the right team to build on our ‘batteries included, but swappable' approach and to foster a lively networking ecosystem. As networking veterans with a record of success at Cisco, Red Hat, HP and Dell, they've provided leadership in developing open standards for SDN including involvement with OpenStack, OpenDaylight, Open vSwitch as well as Open Virtual Network (OVN).

VMblog:  Can you explain what this acquisition means for the Docker community?

Messina:  Most importantly, bringing in the SocketPlane team is about enabling the ecosystem, and not about competing with it. The SocketPlane team - all six of whom are now a part of Docker - will focus on collaborating with the partner community to develop rich networking APIs to serve developers as well as and network and systems administrators. These strides are for the Docker community and we intend to broaden our vision to empower the partner ecosystem to create the best solutions possible for users.

VMblog:  Tell us how SDN will add value to the Docker ecosystem?

Messina:  Bringing networking to the application itself ensures Docker containers can interact in concert as a distributed application securely over an IP infrastructure. SDN provides Docker users with flexibility in terms of infrastructure where admins can select which networking "batteries" are right for an application specific use case. This, in turn, helps to ensure that a distributed application is not bound to a specific vendor or cloud provider.

VMblog:  Going forward, what can users expect to see as a result of the acquisition?

Messina:  As Docker brings networking directly to the application while remaining completely infrastructure independent, it will provide a powerful model where competing vendors can work from one standard, while optimizing their own technologies for differentiation. Developers are assured complete application portability throughout the application lifecycle, as their composable services will communicate uniformly anywhere.


A special thank you to David Messina, VP of marketing at Docker, for taking time out to speak with about the acquisition of SocketPlane and what it means to the community.

Published Monday, March 09, 2015 6:38 AM by David Marshall
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